The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) has expressed worry over the shrinking civic space in Nigeria, stressing this has created a disenabling environment for civil society’s effectiveness.
WASCI lamented that this has hampered civil society organisations to monitor government policies and actions, hold government accountable, engage in advocacy, and serve as a source of information for both citizens and the government.
Executive Director Nana Afadzinu, made the disclosure recently during the launch of WASCI Node Nigeria in Abuja stating, “it has become expedient to broaden the support base available and accessible to CSOs in the country to involve every Nigerian.
WACSI Node is a liaison office that will connect civil society organisations and their partners to the various service offerings provided by WACSI, such as training, mentoring and coaching to strengthen capacity in institutional governance, management and operations of non-profit organisations.
Afadzinu noted that, the programme targets three West African countries, including Nigeria, disclosing that civil society actors in Nigeria are a key players in WACSI’s sphere of influence.
She assured of working with partners in Nigeria to strengthen the civic space in Nigeria to enable the effective participation of citizens in their own governance, as well as working on resourcing challenges for civil society organisations with a focus on exploring alternative sources of funding and strengthening local philanthropy.
“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,” 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” she explained.
She disclosed further that a major aspect of WACSI’s operations in Nigeria will be to support the technology needs of non-profit organisations and civic actors- hardware, software, tech. capacity, dealing with cybersecurity issues as well as advocating for better policies.
“WACSI’s pool of Associates based in Nigeria will be developed further and expanded, and this presents an opportunity to showcase the knowledge, capabilities, and capacity of Nigerian professionals and civic actors, not only nationally but internationally,” she stated.