CSOs Lack Financial Independence

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A New report from the non-governmental sector shows that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) solely depend on foreign donors for funding in order to support their respective projects.

Subah-Belleh Associates in collaborated with Management Systems International (MSI) at the weekend launched the CSO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa, a model instituted by USAID to study the strength and overall viability of CSO sectors in each West African country.

This exercise is a USAID-sponsored project, which is contracted to MSI and the International Centre for Non-for-Profit Law (ICNL), who manages the process.

During the launch of the index, Mr. Guzeh P. Subah, a consultant at Subah-Belleh Associate indicated that most CSOs in Liberia survive on grant from international donors, and as such, have no financial independence in performing their duties as CSOs.

The report described said condition as the “worst scenario recorded in the areas of financial viability with a rating of 5.8 which indicate that sustainability is impeded.”

The report covers 2012/2013 period and captures many issues facing CSOs and NGOs across the Western region.

This rating indicates that most CSOs survive from grant or depend financially on one or more foreign sponsors, Mr. Subah told a gathering of CSOs.

It highlights that many CSOs are created in the hopes of receiving funding and become largely inactive after attempts to win foreign donor funding fail,” Mr. Subah added.

“Sourcing local funding is virtually nil due to our depressed economy and these NGOS lack good financial management system. Transparency and accountability is a challenge for most of our NGOS. 

In nutshell, most of our NGOS are not financially potent in terms of sustaining their programs after donor funding phase out.

 The report contains the overall rating of CSO Sustainability in terms of seven dimensions including legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure and public Image.

Each of the dimensions is rated in terms of sustainability enhanced, sustainability evolving and sustainability impeded.

The significant of the report shows that CSO leaders and activists have found the Index process and final product to be a useful opportunity to look at the larger picture and reflect on sectors advancements and remaining challenges.

According to Mr. Subah, the report is evidence based. Its findings are not the result of an empirical research. Findings are obtained largely from local panel of experts and CSO practitioners who are 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.

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