-CGG Programme Manager
February 16, 2018 By Memunatu Bangura
Head of Programme at Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Marcella Samba-Sesay, has re-affirmed that the overall sustainability of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Sierra Leone has remained stable, as registration has been considerably easier under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
She was speaking to pressers on Thursday 15th February, 2018, during the launch of Civil Society Sustainability Index (CSI) Release titled: ‘Sierra Leone Civil Society (CSO) space still Evolving: Findings from the 2016 CSO Sustainability Index Report.”
Marcella said the report covered thirty countries including Sierra Leone and that the report also looked at whether those countries were enhanced, evolving or impeded.
She explained that in some areas, Sierra Leone was making progress while still struggling to be sustained in other areas.
According to her, the report showed that CSOs in Sierra Leone scored 4.8% in sustainability, 5.2% in legal environment, 4.8% in organizational capacity, 5.7% in financial viability, 4.1% in advocacy, 4.0% in service provision, 5.1% in infrastructure and 4.5% in public image, which, she said, was an encouraging result.
She explained that CSOs in Sierra Leone were operating in an environment of serious economic recession, adding that prior to 2014, Sierra Leone had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but the Ebola crisis and a fall in the international price of iron ore and other commodities threw the economy into a precarious state.
According to the report, there was no comprehensive law governing CSOs in Sierra Leone and that the main regulatory framework is the Revised Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Policy Regulations of 2009, which the government began to review in 2015 with the stated intention of more closely scrutinizing CSOs.
The report stated that in 2016, CSOs’ organizational capacity did not change significantly, although a shift in constituency building was evident and many organizations systematically worked on deepening their networks and consolidating their areas of intervention by meeting with government officials, engaging partner organizations, and involving wider CSO networks across the country.
The program Manager stated that CSOs’ financial viability was unchanged in 2016, adding that the donor community in Sierra Leone was relatively small and in 2016, a donor coordination mechanism was introduced to ensure that funded projects were not duplicated and outputs maximized.
“Funds are often managed by international CSOs, which in turn pass them on to domestic organizations. Larger CSOs are generally able to take advantage of this arrangement, but smaller CSOs lack the necessary capacity and as a result experience constrained growth,” she said.
She stated that as part of CSOs’ sustainability, its public image did not change in 2016 as the media has remained an effective, long-standing partner that has given extensive coverage to their work, adding that in 2016, CSOs enjoyed increased media coverage which greatly enhanced their public visibility.