CSOs move to curb misconduct, misappropriation of funds
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have set up a self-regulatory framework to prevent misconduct and misappropriation of funds.
At a workshop on ‘Civil Society Self-regulation Framework Development in Nigeria,’ held in Lagos, they noted that the guidelines were necessary for accountability and self-respect.
The workshop was organised by the European Union, Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme, British Council and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
They noted that bad eggs have caused widespread misconceptions about CSOs, stressing that improved transparency will earn people’s trust.
Speaking with The Guardian, Idem Udoekong, who is the Component 2 Manager, EU-ACT, British Council, Nigeria, said there was need for CSOs to clean themselves before holding others accountable.
Udoekong said there have been reports of some CSOs mismanaging donor funds, even as some observers believe the sector is a conduit for money laundering.
He said: “In human nature, if you don’t have a way of regulating yourself, there are tendencies for you to want to do all the wrong things. In the sector, we have had issues of people being accused of mismanaging funds or people perpetually thinking all that CSOs do is get donors’ money and spend it on themselves. These are some of the issues that motivated this kind of discourse.”
Udoekong added: “The whole issue about self-regulation is establishing CSOs’ legitimacy and being accountable and transparent in the things they do, so that the people they serve and the people that use them as channels to reach the people they serve can trust them.”
On her part, Co-chair, National Technical Committee on Civil Society Self-regulation, Dr. Funmi Akinyele, stressed the need for CSOs to get involved in income generation. “Donors will not meet all the needs in Nigeria. We need to develop other income generating activities, either creating training, farming or selling a product. I know of a CSO that helps pregnant women. It developed a mothers’ kit that it sells; that’s a way to generate revenue,” she said.
Urging government to create an enabling environment for CSOs to discharge their duties without hitches, Akinyele noted: “CSOs are called the third sector. We are supposed to work together to make things better in our country. We need people. We need human and material resources, particularly political will. There are lots of regulations and sometimes they are strangling. I know the idea is to ensure there is reduction in corruption but the government also needs to make it easier for CSOs to comply.”