The British Council’s Agents for Citizens-driven Transformation (ACT) has strengthened the capacity of 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) to enable them to become credible drivers of change and sustainable development in Nigeria.
The Component Manager, ACT programme, Hafsat Mustapha the CSOs received thematic support although they do not provide training to all the 200 at any one time.
Mustapha said this at the European Union-funded “Cross-State Regional Reflection for ACT” programme, at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island which started on May 16 and ended on May 17.
She said that the ACT programme was based on how CSOs in Nigeria can help to translate capacity building to institutional building, as essential to the sustainability of NGOs in the country.
“This will also ensure accountability, which increases the legitimacy of the CSOs with a focus on evaluation and documenting results that make NGOs successful.
“ACT is a CSO capacity building programme which started implementation in 2019 and will end in 2023,” she said.
The manager said that such training would help CSOs understand the complex regulatory requirements that enable them to operate within the ambit of the law and also conform to the regulatory requirements.
“Not all organisation that is registered within the sector, are registered with the intent to drive the main purpose of why NGOs are established.
“So, for this reason, there needs to be some kind of order within the system by helping civil organisations self regulate and make adjustments to their internal system and policy.
“This will also help them look at their financial processes, their strategy and training, helping them to build capacity and advocacy on topics to engage with communities and the media,” she said.
Mustapha said that partnering with the media was very crucial for better visibility and narrative because the media could help drive CSO’s narrative effectively such that people will understand why CSOs are necessary to the development of the country.
She also said that ACT selected CSOs from Rivers and Plateau for the training based on those working on all EU thematic areas which include: health, education, resilience, climate change, nutrition, water and sanitation.
Mina Ogbanga, Chief Operations Officer, River State Network of NGOs said that the impact of past training had enabled them to work with the government to design and pass laws that would impact Rivers State and even Nigeria.
“We have moved to pass the Sooth Bill, which we have been part of from the point of inception to the point of assent.
“The bill is one of the things that will affect our activities in Rivers State directly and that is one of the bills we have passed.
“We are also working seriously on passing the Climate Change Bill, which has passed the first and second reading and will go through due process before assent,” she said.
Mr Duke Ogbureke, The Director, Youth Adolescent Reflection and Action Centre (YARAC), Jos, Plateau said that ACT had strengthened its capacity to work more efficiently and effectively.
“The training has helped us to be more focused and objectively driven in service delivery and the implementation of our projects,” Ogbureke said.
Fatima Suleiman, a representative from the Islamic Council Initiative of Nigeria (ICIN) said that the training harped on the importance of documentation, evaluation, institutional strengthening, learning and sharing experience.
“We have been taught on the need to have social media engagement in whatever we do to disseminate effective information not only to the communities but also to the government and different stakeholders,” Suleiman said.