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GHANA HOSTS AFRICA REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON CIVIL SOCIETY

The Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Madam Theo Sowa, has commended Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Africa for the significant strides made in the promotion of women’s rights on the continent.

 

Madam Sowa noted, however, that despite the strides, major fractures existed within the CSO sector and challenged CSOs to be more visible in bringing about socio-economic and political change, and in preserving, and protecting the positive cultural heritage and traditions of Africa.

 

She stressed the need for CSOs to build on their strengths, protect ethical values and standards, promote equality and good governance, and eschew social vices such as corruption and financial mismanagement by making themselves accountable to their organizations.

 

Madam Sowa was delivering the key note address at the opening of the Africa Regional Conference on Civil Society in Accra on Tuesday.

 

The meeting, which took place on the theme: ‘Civil Society and a Renascent Africa: A Stock-Taking’, provided a platform and an opportunity to assess the impact, relevance and sustainability of CSOs, and to rededicate their commitment to engaging governments meaningfully for national growth and development. About forty participants attended the two-day conference which ended yesterday.

 

It was organized by the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) in collaboration with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana.

 

In his remarks, Prof. Francis Dodoo, IAS, University of Ghana, said it was part of the responsibilities of CSOs to promote equality in society and sustain political reform for social advancement. Prof. Dodoo, therefore, stressed the need for students to be imbued with the spirit of CSO activism.

 

For his part, Prof. Paul Dekker, former Board member, ISTR, underscored the importance of the role of CSOs in national development efforts. He said ISTR was the major international organization promoting global ideas of civil society and philanthropy. 

 

ISTR, Prof. Dekker said, existed in an effort to bring people together so they could work toward effecting a change in society through the third-sector. Currently, he said, the organization, comprising 649 separate organizations from around the world, acted as a permanent forum for non-profit practitioners.

 

Welcoming participants to the conference, Mrs Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director, WACSI, urged participants to critically interrogate the role, relevance and impact of CSOs in view of the evolution occurring within its front in relation to the advent of social media and the need for domestic resource mobilization vis-a-vis dwindling external donor funds.

 

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)