ACT rolls out successes, as five-year program comes to an end

Discussion session by panelists.
Discussion session by panelists.
ACT rolls out successes, as five-year program comes to an end

There was outpour of accolades and approbation on Tuesday in Yola as officials of Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) program, a five year EU program implemented by the British Council showcased their report card to mark the end of the program.

While enumerating the successes and challenges the program encountered, Damilare Babalola, national program manager for the EU funded program noted that in view of what has been recorded across the twenty thematic areas of the interventions, it is safe to say the program has recorded tremendous success.

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He noted that over 230 CSOs in 10 states across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones were covered effectively changing their mode of operations for the better.

“The focus of ACT is to support CSOs and to strengthen their capacity to become more credible and more effective agents of sustainable development in Nigeria.

“We work basically around two areas, capacity strengthening and looking at the regulatory environment for the CSOs in terms of how they improve their compliance as well as how the regulatory agencies understand what these organizations do.

“Talking about specific achievements we have been able to train over 230 CSOs and supporting them to develop capacity holistically in terms of organizational development looking at their internal system, looking at their programmatic system and looking at their engagement and operational capabilities with other stakeholders.

“In this regard we are able to offer 150 training sessions to these CSOs cutting across about 20 capacity development areas,” he said.

He noted that each organization was supported in its specific area of interest and strength so as to perform its duties and operations optimally.

“We have reached over 230 CSOs and apart from the training we also invest more than 7,400 hours of intensive mentoring and coaching for some strategic community based organizations. We also gave grant opportunities to 144 out of these 230 CSOs and individual grants to some selected CSOs benefitting about 65 and also what we called consortium grants where we bring group of CSOs to implement an advocacy project of their own accord and benefitting about 14 different groups across the 10 states where we have worked,” he noted .

He said in the second result area, ACT has made landmark progress for revamping the capacity of CAC and also regularize the process of annual returns of CSOs just as he noted that his organization worked with SCULM to improve compliance and regulatory frame work for CSOs to improve how they interact together.

He said, the training has given CSOs capacity to ameliorate conflicts between farmers and herders in Adamawa, between education and processes in Kano State and enable it to mainstream gender issues in Enugu State.

Also speaking, Peter Egwudah chairman Network for Non Governmental Organization (NANGO) in Adamawa described the impact of the ACT program in the state as huge.

“The impact is so huge in terms of enhancing the capacity of rural farmers and community members in hard to reach locations where they have to be trained in livestock farming, petty trading and the rest.

“In has also impacted on communities in terms of peace building efforts in our various communities as you know Adamawa State is where we have livestock breeders and farmers sometimes there are clashes and sometimes it means peace building efforts need to come into place.

“The important one for me is the capacity development for the CSOs especially the CBOs who are based in rural communities and they are able to advocate and add voice to governance issues in the state as well as collaboration with state government and MDAs. So the ACT program has really supported communities especially people who participated in it and we pray this kind of effort should be sustained.

“160 NGOs capacities have been developed, a lot of NGOs have been taught how to write proposals in order to continue to do their work whether the EU ACT is there or not. Their capacities in the area of organizational development was also built. Some of these NGOs don’t have structures in terms of who is the board who is the program manager who is the finance manager. It’s just like one man doing all the job.

“The ACT program supported NGOs to put all these structures in place so they are better equipped to raise funds on their own and implement projects. That is a sustainable mechanism built into the program and we want to see members using that to generate more funding,” he said.

He called on the CSOs to open themselves for collaboration with the state government noting that the two sides should always complement each other not to see themselves as adverseries.

Also speaking, Rabi Adamu, Adamawa State focal person of ACT said a lot has been achieved in the state as a result of the various activities of ACT.

“As a result of Advocacy and PCM training support by ACT, there has been a marked improvement in strategic engagement between CSOs and different stakeholders, including government agencies and community leaders

“As a result of the EU-ACT training and mentoring support to PARE from EU-ACT through its grant activity interventions in Song local government, the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), having been very impressed with the outcome of the empowerment project implemented by Pastoral Resolve (PARE) through an ACT grant, committed to take over the funding and sustainability of 6 learning centers that were initiated by the ACT CSO partner in Song LGA.

“While the LGEA will provide funding and oversight, the centers will remain under the management of the CBOs who initiated them with support to continue from the learning facilitators and mentors.

“Recent development indicated that the local government has mainstreamed 31 IDP and Almajiri children (13 boys, 18 girls) into formal school after the 9-month non-formal education program supported by ACT in Song.

“CSCED received training on Project management, financial management, fundraising & resource mobilization, etc). The outcome of the various capacity-building interventions led to the call for proposals where CSCED successfully secured a grant to implement a seven-month project on the Training of Trainers on alternative livestock fodder/feedstock and its value chain opportunities in 5 LGAs of Adamawa State,” she said.

Benefitting CSOs who took turns to laud ACT for the immense benefit it brought to the state noted that the knowledge and reforms it brought will continue to sustain CSOs in the state interminably.

Highlights of the event was the presentation of certificates to the various CSOs who achieved landmark successes during the program.

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