Two civil society organizations (CSOs) have called on African countries to mobilize revenue from within to finance development in the face of global economic challenges.


The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and STAR Ghana Foundation (SGF) unanimously observed that due to dwindling donor funding and the ravages of COVID-19 , it had become imperative for countries on the continent to engage their citizens in what they termed “community philanthropy”.

This, the two organizations explained, was that local people help each other by sharing resources for their common good and supporting the development of local communities on the continent.

WASCI’s Head of Knowledge Management and Communications Unit, Jimm Chick, and STAR Ghana Foundation Executive Director, Alhaji Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, made the call during separate media interviews in Accra yesterday. .

First learning meeting

This was on the sidelines of an initial week-long Learning and Reflection Partners meeting under the Giving for Change (GfC) project.

The meeting was co-hosted by WASCI and STAR Ghana and aimed to bring together representatives of GfC’s global partners to learn, share ideas, build relationships and reflect on progress in GfC implementation over the past 18 months. .

The GfC is a five-year project that aims to strengthen civic space and civil societies through domestic resource mobilization, philanthropy and community giving for social change and development.

It is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented in eight countries. These are Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Burkina Faso.

The others are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Palestine.

Resources

Mr. Chick explained that there are many resources on the continent that could be tapped for the rapid development of communities. They included financial, technical and material aspects.

“We have many rich and well off people including poor people on the continent, not leaving you and me behind who can donate GH¢1 for a specific development program can make a significant difference in our communities respective,” he said.

He said the combination of financial, technical and material resources would ultimately help address the many challenges faced by communities on the continent, including food scarcity, poverty, disease and nutritional challenges.

Mr. Chick expressed his optimism that when people are encouraged to see the need to mobilize local resources effectively, it will lead to “the building of an industry of local philanthropists that will really help Africa advance its development faster than we currently know”.

“That’s why we’re building this powerful force or movement in Africa; dependence on donor funding and aid comes with some restrictive and mandatory measures that may not really favor our countries and organizations,” he warned.

Enabling environment

Alhaji Amidu said African governments could also support the process by creating an enabling environment for people and communities to support development.

He noted that governments could do this by releasing a certain percentage of public funds to encourage communities who were able to finance and own around 60% of the projects they undertook, especially those that supported poverty reduction. .

It is equally important, according to Alhaji Amidu, that the government provides start-up funds to support local initiatives.

“Philanthropy is part of our culture, just that over time it gradually fades. In Ghana people feel that if you show that you are rich you will be targeted or people in your community will come after you,” he said.

The partners

The Executive Director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations, Jenny Hodgson, said the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spending €25 million on the implementation of the GfC project in the eight beneficiary countries.

“People in Africa and elsewhere have always contributed to funerals, burials or weddings and so the systems already exist, but so far they have been ignored and neglected by the international development system which relies on the ‘money from outside the continent’, she sated.

The program director of the Wilde Ganzen Foundation, a Dutch non-governmental organization, Esther Meester, for her part, said that over the past two decades, the foundation had been looking for the best way to support organizations that were driving change in their “own context”.