The CSO Forum is aiming at promoting closer cooperation and engagement among CSOs, the Bank, and regional member countries in order to optimize development results and sustain development impact.
About 50 participants representing a diverse group of CSOs attended the event. Different sessions have provided a platform for learning and exchange on how best to cooperate with CSOs.
Aloysius Ordu, the director of partnership for Transparency, gave a presentation on People powered accountability.
Ordu used an interesting metaphor of voice and teeth to emphasize the tide connection; voice being the citizen capacity for collective action and Teeth being the accessible accountability institutions. I was glad also to see the bloggers voice at the panel with the Ghanian blogger, Kinna Likimani.
So we eventually buy our respect as citizens, and the leadership takes advantage of that. As the moderator started getting questions from the audience, Ms. Graca Machel entered the room.
She has been then given the floor for a final word by the end of the panel, where she stressed on regional collaboration. CSOs have to be strong enough to face all these institutions to be taken seriously".
She raised the question on how to strengthen the institutional capacity of CSOs as strong to play their role on equal basis. She continues "African institutions, including the bank, are not realizing that the citizen voice is fundamental to strengthen democracy".
She ended by calling on the CSOs present to work regionally and unite to make "our voice heard".
She gave an example of her organization N ew Faces New Voices which operates in 15 countries. The panel was interesting indeed but not much time has been given to the CSOs representatives actually to talk and challenge the panelists and themselves.
There has been a long silence about the constriction of the civic space, before a shout out came from the audience that the space of civil society is shrinking. There is a need to have Intalnirea cu o singura femeie in Abidjan shout outs like this from the CSOs on the Bank and other institutions to call on countries to give us back the civic space because without that space, CSOs cannot thrive.
CSOs act as intermediary at all stages and play key role. They should be the ones that raise community awareness of their rights and empower citizen groups for collective action.
În aceste proviincii sunt premise doar călătoriile esenţiale cu prezentarea certificatului medical eliberat de autoritatea locală Barangay şi prezentarea testului RT-PCR negativ.
So, CSOs need to get organized to challenge and to deliver. The session ended with a clear message that the bank has to do its homework on how much it is taking CSOs seriously and supporting them as much as it supports business and governments.
On the other hand, CSOs need do their own homework on how to work together in this unequal space and collaborate on strategic issues so that their voices are much stronger. Get link.