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WACSI and experts reflect on civil society capacity development in West Africa

WACSI and experts reflect on civil society capacity development in West Africa

Accra, Ghana – 20 capacity development experts from West, Central and East Africa convened at the Secretariat of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in Accra, Ghana to brainstorm on the best means of promoting capacity development for civil society organisations in West Africa. This meeting lasted for two days and ended on October 18, 2012. It was organized by WACSI with the support of the East East: Partnership Beyond Borders of the Open Society Foundations.

This consultative meeting was organized to enable WACSI, a leading capacity building Institute in West Africa that works to fill capacity gaps within civil society, to gather valuable perspectives on the way forward for its capacity development programmes. The Institute used this platform to gain insights on how to tailor its programmes to effectively address identified capacity gaps of CSOs in West Africa. The meeting created a platform for WACSI and African capacity development experts with unique specialties to reflect on the effectiveness of capacity development initiatives, quality of programmes and quality of delivery for training programmes aimed at enhancing the capacities of CSOs and practitioners.

Nana Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI noted that this experts meeting will enable WACSI to identify best practices and novel and indigenous ways of designing and delivering capacity development initiatives to meet the institutional needs of CSOs in West Africa. She stressed that this meeting comes at a time when WACSI is developing a new strategic plan that will guide the Institute’s operations from 2013 to 2017. The meeting served as a valuable platform to draw vital lessons that would inform the process of identifying, designing and delivering capacity development initiatives for CSOs in West Africa.

During the meeting, experts examined the notions of professionalism and passion within civil society. Other sessions during the two days enabled panelists to treat topics related to toolkit development for CSOs, curriculum development, pedagogy and methodology, the opportunities and challenges related to capacity development in the region, and, trainer development.

Taaka Awori, a development practitioner and member of the Board of WACSI explained that professionalism encompasses performance, efficiency and effectiveness. It is vital for reinforcing civil society’s verve to meet the needs of their constituents. She pointed out that passion is equally important to drive the actions of civil society but, “passion without professionalism may ultimately undermine the values civil society is built on” she noted.

The experts urged WACSI to engage in research to develop a baseline for the state of civil society that would support the assessment of the achievements and challenges facing civil society in future years. WACSI was also urged to set up a working group from the pool of experts who would substantively contribute to research, and the design and delivery of capacity development initiatives to be implemented by the Institute.

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