IDEG wants state funding support for CSOs

As donor support for civil society dwindles, Mr Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow, Ghana Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), is advocating state funding of civil society organisations (CSOs).

He noted that as international development partners and donor agencies were gradually cutting off funding supports to CSOs, African Governments must create funding support for their local CSOs.

He intimated that in most advanced democracies such as the United States and Denmark, Governments provide funding support for CSOs, stating that African governments could do same; and that they could ensure that a body was set-up to regulate the disbursement and utilization of such funds.

Mr Jonah made the appeal at a dissemination workshop on the Ghana CSO Sustainability 2019 Index Report in Accra on Tuesday.

The CSO Sustainability Index is a tool created by the USAID to study the strength and overall viability of CSO sectors in countries of operation.

Speaking on the topic: “CSOs Funding and Sustainability in Ghana: Which way forward”, Mr Jonah said the major challenge facing most CSOs in Ghana was funding; saying, “whether it is Institute of Economic Affairs or IDEG, they are in need of funds.

“If the money from donors is cut off, that will be the end of most CSOs in Ghana and that’s a problem.”

He said most CSOs in Ghana were donor dependant in the implementation of their projects.

He said the global economic meltdown in 2007-2008, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic affected many international development partners and donor agencies, and as a result, local CSOs were also affected in Ghana.

Mr Jonah said with Ghana being accredited as one of the best peaceful democracies in Africa and as a lower middle income country, donor funding to the nation was gradually reducing.

“If you become a middle income earning country they don’t see the reason why they should continue to pamper you with their tax payers’ money? The money that they give to CSOs is part of the money that they give to governments. So, if they reduce the money they give to the government, then, CSOs also suffer.”

Mr Jonah noted that once a nation becomes a stable peaceful democracy, donors would begin to withdraw their funding support for it; so that such funds would be devoted to support those countries struggling to attain democratic governance.

He suggested that as donors withdraw their funding support to Ghana, there should be alternative means of funding CSOs such as state funding and philanthropic support.

He said the government could set-up a basket funding for CSOs, in which it would put some money down and also urge other people/organisations to do the same.

He explained that in advanced countries, the rich after making their money would give back to society through supporting CSOs, however, this, could not be said of most of the rich in Africa.