CSO Reliance on Int’l Donors Curbs Viability, Performance

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A new report from the non-governmental sector shows that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) depend on international donors for funding to support their respective projects.

Subah-Belleh Associates, along with Management Systems International (MSI), launched the CSOs’ Sustainability Index for sub-Saharan Africa, a model instituted by USAID to study the strength and overall viability of the CSO sector in each West African country.

The exercise is a USAID-sponsored project contracted to MSI and the International Center for Non-for-profit Law (ICNL), which manages the process
At the launch of the 2016 Index Sustainability Report of CSOs, Guzeh P. Subah, a consultant at Subah-Belleh Associates, said most CSOs in the country survive on grants from foreign partners. As such, he said, many of them do not have the financial independence to perform their respective duties.

The report recorded that Liberia’s CSOs scored 5.9 out of 7.0 on sustainability– a mark which also indicates that their sustainability was impeded.
However, Mr. Zubah said their current gradual improvement is better than at any other time on record.

“It highlighted that many CSOs are solely created to receive funding and end up largely inactive after attempts to win foreign donor funding failed,” he noted.
“Sourcing local funding is virtually nil due to our depressed economy and these NGOs lack good financial management systems, such that transparency and accountability remain a challenge for most of our NGOS.”

The findings highlighted advocacy as the best area of operation by CSOs, with a rating of 3.8, indicating that sustainability in this area is evolving.
This means that advocacy by CSOs is progressing and there exists some level of relationship between CSOs and government.

The rating, Mr. Subah said, “can be backed by CSOs and collaborate with government to pass legislations and policies on anti-corruption, freedom of information and decentralization,” adding that: “In a nutshell, most of our NGOS are not financially potent in terms of sustaining their programs after donor funding phase out.”

Meanwhile, the report indicated that the overall rating of the sustainability of CSOs was calculated based on their legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure and public image, with every dimension rated in terms of sustainability enhanced, sustainability evolving and sustainability impeded.

A new report from the non-governmental sector shows that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) depend on international donors for funding to support their respective projects.
Subah-Belleh Associates, along with Management Systems International (MSI), launched the CSOs’ Sustainability Index for sub-Saharan Africa, a model instituted by USAID to study the strength and overall viability of the CSO sector in each West African country.
The exercise is a USAID-sponsored project contracted to MSI and the International Center for Non-for-profit Law (ICNL), which manages the process.
At the launch of the 2016 Index Sustainability Report of CSOs, Guzeh P. Subah, a consultant at Subah-Belleh Associates, said most CSOs in the country survive on grants from foreign partners. As such, he said, many of them do not have the financial independence to perform their respective duties.
The report recorded that Liberia’s CSOs scored 5.9 out of 7.0 on sustainability– a mark which also indicates that their sustainability was impeded.
However, Mr. Zubah said their current gradual improvement is better than at any other time on record.
“It highlighted that many CSOs are solely created to receive funding and end up largely inactive after attempts to win foreign donor funding failed,” he noted.
“Sourcing local funding is virtually nil due to our depressed economy and these NGOs lack good financial management systems, such that transparency and accountability remain a challenge for most of our NGOS.”
The findings highlighted advocacy as the best area of operation by CSOs, with a rating of 3.8, indicating that sustainability in this area is evolving.
This means that advocacy by CSOs is progressing and there exists some level of relationship between CSOs and government.
The rating, Mr. Subah said, “can be backed by CSOs and collaborate with government to pass legislations and policies on anti-corruption, freedom of information and decentralization,” adding that: “In a nutshell, most of our NGOS are not financially potent in terms of sustaining their programs after donor funding phase out.”
Meanwhile, the report indicated that the overall rating of the sustainability of CSOs was calculated based on their legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure and public image, with every dimension rated in terms of sustainability enhanced, sustainability evolving and sustainability impeded.
As a result of the report, the leaders of CSOs and activists said they find the index process and final product to be useful opportunities to look at the larger picture and to also reflect on the advancement of their sectors of operation and other challenges.
According to Mr. Subah, the report is evidenced based, and its findings are not the result of an empirical research, but are largely obtained from local panel of experts and CSO practitioners versed on the activities of CSOs.
“Their views are not considered final, but are taken in comparison with the findings of others. In effect, cross references are made before findings are published,” he said.
It can be recalled that in 2015, the Constitutional Review Committee, charged with reviewing Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, launched a public-awareness campaign throughout the country.
The committee conducted consultations with a broad range of stakeholders to gather their views and hear their concerns, which were then presented at the National Constitutional Conference held in April 2016 in Gbarnga, Bong County.

As a result of the report, the leaders of CSOs and activists said they find the index process and final product to be useful opportunities to look at the larger picture and to also reflect on the advancement of their sectors of operation and other challenges.
According to Mr. Subah, the report is evidenced based, and its findings are not the result of an empirical research, but are largely obtained from local panel of experts and CSO practitioners versed on the activities of CSOs.
“Their views are not considered final, but are taken in comparison with the findings of others. In effect, cross references are made before findings are published,” he said.
It can be recalled that in 2015, the Constitutional Review Committee, charged with reviewing Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, launched a public-awareness campaign throughout the country.
The committee conducted consultations with a broad range of stakeholders to gather their views and hear their concerns, which were then presented at the National Constitutional Conference held in April 2016 in Gbarnga, Bong County.

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