By Victoria Ojeme and Fortune Eromosele

Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute, WACSI, Nana Afadzinu, has disclosed that the Institute was set to begin its liaison office in Abuja, saying that it would positively impact and set-up more opportunities for over 46,000 civil society organisations in Nigeria.

Afadzinu, during a press conference on the launch of WACSI Node in Nigeria held in Abuja, said that it will be officially launched on 16 November, 2022 at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Abuja.

Explaining how the liaison office would impact positively on civil society organisations, she said, “Given the large number of civil society organisations in the country, comprising of approximately 46,000 non-governmental organisations (and counting) across the six geo-political zones of the country, it became evident to the board and management of WACSI that to be more responsive to the demands of civil society in Nigeria, we needed to make the Institute’s services easily accessible and more affordable to civic actors in Nigeria.

“One way to do this, in addition to others that we are already undertaking such as providing services online, is to address the proximity challenge and especially make WACSI’s services available to organisations and civic actors that may not have the means to engage effectively online.

“There are several hard-working civic actors and organisations that are not in the big cities and many may not have easy access to the capacity building opportunities.

“The WACSI node will act as a liaison office and connect civil society organisations and their partners to the various service offerings provided by WACSI. These include training, mentoring and coaching to strengthen capacity in institutional governance, management and operations of non-profit organisations; and this is not limited to NGOs.

“WACSI being physically present in Nigeria now means, Nigerian CSOs can easily access our services and trainings to build their capacity to be able to mobilise domestic resources and become sustainable.”

She further disclosed that the Institute was implementing the ‘Civic Space Resource Hub,’ to help mitigate the shrinking of the civic space in Nigeria.

According to her, “Civic Space in Nigeria like many other West African countries is shrinking and creating a disenabling environment for civil society’s effectiveness.

“With support from the Ford Foundation, WACSI is implementing the Civic Space Resource Hub in collaboration with Spaces for Change to provide the needed resources to civil society actors in these countries to build their resilience and also confront the civic space challenges.

“This programme targets three West African countries, including Nigeria. Civil society actors in Nigeria are therefore a key player in WACSI’s sphere of influence.”

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