Why we launched CSR-Hub, by CSOs
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and Spaces for Change (S4C) have clarified that the Civil Society Resource Hub (CSR-Hub) was established to support civil society actors for better response to governance, regulatory, digital and operational challenges.
With backing from Ford Foundation, the two organisations launched the initiative, yesterday, in Lagos.
According to the Executive Director of WACSI, Nana Afadzinu, when the civic space is restricted, social justice disappears, social accountability is absent, social protection fails, and people suffer.
The Executive Director of S4C, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, reiterated the importance of the initiative, thus: “At a time governments in West Africa are increasingly drifting towards authoritarianism and tightening the operating environment for civil society, the establishment of the West Africa CSR-Hub could not have come at a better time.
“With CSR-Hub, civil society actors and organisations will not only become more resilient, but also get the support they need to better respond to the governance, regulatory, digital and operational challenges.”
Civic space in West Africa is under threat, they noted, adding: “It is not only a cause of but also the result of democratic retrogression in the region. The 2020 CIVICUS Monitor report shows that the civic space environment continues to worsen across the region. With the exception of Cape Verde, the civic space in most West African nations is either obstructed or repressed. The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) further enabled constraints on civic action and engagement with government abuse of power and exposed the vulnerabilities of civil society actors.”
CSR-Hub is a five-year programme that will seek to promote open civic space and regulatory compliance, strengthen the organisational governance and financial resilience of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and support them to reinforce their digital security and data protection, enhance their knowledge capacity and build solidarity to address civic space challenges.
The Guardian gathered that CSR-Hub will provide long term resource and support to enhance the capacity of CSOs working to expand civic space and reposition civil society actors in these countries to effectively respond to the emerging and longstanding challenges to civic freedom, enabling environment, democratic consolidation and transformational social change.
Highlighting the collaborative ethos of this programme, Afadzinu stated: “WACSI is delighted to partner S4C, the Ford Foundation, and other partners to strengthen and enhance civic space and civil society within West Africa, beginning with Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, through CSR-Hub.
“In solidarity, we will work for, fight for, and protect civic space for the peaceful, just, inclusive and prosperous West Africa we want.”