On June 1st, 2023, a significant event took place at Fresh Land Hotels in Karu, where the CSO Review meeting was held. This gathering aimed to assess and discuss the activities and updates of various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The meeting provided a platform for solution-oriented discussions and recommendations on pertinent topics. In this article, we will delve into the key points and outcomes of the meeting, including the emphasis on collaboration, digitalization, and the role of CSOs in societal development.
Opening Remarks and Program Introduction:
The program started with an opening remark, followed by an introduction that outlined the goals and objectives of the meeting. The primary focus areas included:
– Developing a framework to strengthen CSO participation
– Establishing an NGO forum
– Creating a feedback platform
Introduction of Organizations:
During the introductory session, representatives from various organizations had an opportunity to showcase their missions, visions, and programs. SLNI’s representative, highlighted our organization’s commitment to providing humanitarian services to rural communities, as well as their efforts in economic empowerment programs.
Lectures on Achieving Sustainability and Growth:
Mrs. Margaret Udoh delivered an enlightening lecture on achieving sustainability and growth for CSOs. The lecture covered several crucial topics, including strategic planning and work plans, stakeholder engagement, digital literacy, and good governance. One key takeaway was the importance of CSOs identifying specific solutions to pending issues and being citizen-driven. The lecture also stressed the need for government support in providing ICT training and capacity building opportunities, such as proposal writing and service development.
The general discussion opened avenues for sharing ideas and experiences among CSOs. One notable suggestion was that CSOs could seek funding through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of companies and organizations. This involves CSOs carrying out CSR activities on behalf of corporate sponsors, who then include the reports in their annual CSR reports. Another topic discussed was the Nigeria Jubilee Program by UNDP, which enables CSOs to request workers from the program for specific projects, with payment responsibility falling on the CSOs.
The meeting also shed light on the importance of digitalization for NGOs. CSOs were encouraged to register for Google for Nonprofits, a platform that facilitates search engine optimization and increases accessibility to programs and services offered by NGOs. Additionally, the FMOH (Federal Ministry of Health) has created the HPPDM site, which serves as a digital registration platform for NGOs. It enables NGOs to submit their yearly reports, display their programs and services, and reach a wider audience.
The CSO Review meeting concluded with several recommendations to further strengthen the CSO sector and promote societal development. These recommendations included:
– Foster collaboration among CSOs to maximize impact
– Enhance networking opportunities for CSOs to share resources and expertise
– Increase awareness of international opportunities by leveraging the FMOH’s access to such opportunities
– Prioritize capacity building initiatives for CSOs
– Provide stronger support for often-overlooked diseases like Cerebral Palsy
– Conduct quarterly reviews to monitor progress and address challenges