CSO Resilience and Sustainability

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are the heartbeat of societal progress, serving as advocates, watchdogs, and service providers in communities across Nigeria. In a country marked by turbulent political transitions, economic instability, and societal fractures, the role of CSOs has never been more crucial. From challenging military dictatorship to amplifying citizens’ voices in democratic governance, CSOs have been instrumental in shaping Nigeria’s trajectory.

However, as Nigeria grapples with multifaceted challenges, the resilience and sustainability of CSOs have come under scrutiny. The landscape is fraught with obstacles, from shrinking civic spaces to dwindling international donor support exacerbated by global economic downturns and the COVID-19 pandemic fallout. In this complex environment, CSOs face a dual challenge: remaining effective amidst adversity and creatively sustaining their operations.

The narrative of CSOs as the conscience of the country contrasts sharply with the harsh realities they confront. Negative public perceptions, stringent government regulations, and demonization by vested interests pose formidable barriers. Moreover, the proliferation of pseudo-NGOs (often propped up by vested interests) further complicates the sector’s landscape, creating a tangled web of credibility challenges.

Amidst these challenges, the imperative for CSOs is clear: 

This pressing need for resilience and sustainability is the driving force behind this project led by Thoughts and Mace Advisory with support from the MacArthur Foundation. Recognizing the urgency of fortifying Nigeria’s civil society sector, this initiative aims to empower CSOs with the tools, resources, and strategic guidance needed to thrive in the face of adversity and develop robust strategies that address the quality of operations, resource mobilization, and management. The time-bound nature of external funding, such as grants from institutions like the Macarthur Foundation, underscores the urgency of building self-sufficiency beyond donor support.  

The project aims to provide a menu of training to improve internal governance of Macarthur grantees, strengthen capacity for innovation and offer strategies for organizational sustainability through creative resource mobilization and management.

Through this training we aim to achieve:

  • Enhanced Organizational Effectiveness: By addressing inhibiting factors, the aim is to bolster CSOs’ capacity to deliver impactful programs, but also better their governance, employment methods and finance. 

  • Improved Sustainability: Through strategic guidance and resource mobilization initiatives, we seek to work with CSOs to equip them with the tools they need to thrive beyond external funding cycles, ensuring long-term sustainability to current and future project 

  • Cultivation of Resilient Leadership: By fostering a culture of resilience and adaptive leadership, we empower CSOs to navigate challenges with confidence and creativity.