Thursday, 3 September 2015

Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening for Non-state Actors for Sustainable Development in Africa: A Call to International Agencies

By Johnson Sesan Michael,

The muse to pen this short piece was triggered by two reasons. The first is the transduction from MDGs to SDGs of the global system under the auspices of the UN and the second is an on-going building project in a primary school in my area. This is a construction of classrooms being funded by a Japanese Agency.  With the currency of various political reforms and waves of democratic processes pervading most parts of Africa, there has been increased participation of international agencies in Africa.   No doubt, such projects across Africa are contributing to the development of the continent. Also of note, aside the involvement of international agencies is the synergy and funding on the part of governments of some developed states such as UK, USA, Japan, European states, etc.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that international agencies and non-African states must go beyond providing fund and grants for projects and programmes. It is very imperative for them to increase their synergy and collaboration with non-state actors such as NGOs, CSOs, non-profit organisations, faith-based organisations, etc; in order to accentuate and strengthen democratisation in Africa to achieve sustainable development in terms of social progress, economic growth and environmental protection.

Fundamentally, this collaboration between international agencies and non-state actors in Africa will be premised on capacity building and institutional strengthening. This will involve building people, institutions and systems. Also, building abilities, relationships and values for sustainable developments; thereby strengthening processes, systems and rules. Evidently, this became a necessity in this era of the transduction from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

International agencies such as USAID, UKAID, IFAD, UN, EU etc through the instrumentality of seminars, workshops, shorts courses and attachments should strive to integrate non-governmental actors such as individuals, private organisations, NGOs, etc into the development processes. This will orchestrate the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation. In the same vein, it will lead to enhancement of technical ability, willingness to play new developmental roles and adaption to new demands and situations. Likewise, it will yield robust technical capacities, efficient management systems and focused leadership structure.

It is my candid opinion that for this intervention – capacity building and institutional strengthening - to be purposeful and effective, there is a great need to personalise, localise and customise these international interventions. Thus, the intervention must be premised on the frameworks of contextualising and conceptualising such within the paradigms of Africa’s political realities and cultural values, in order to strengthen Africa’s democratic processes and institutions. These interventions must be flexible; must be adaptable; there must be locally controlled trust funds and small scale funding mechanism – transparency & accountability; build up local organisations to take over institution building support; improve evaluation frameworks; and build individuals, organisations, institutional skills, ability and professionalism.

Holistically, capacity building and institutional strengthening interventions by international agencies will among other things lead to formulation of policies assistance; institutional streamlining assistance; implementation assistance and technical assistance.

No comments:

Post a Comment