On 27 April 2023, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the ACT programme and the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) convened to examine the programme’s progress and define its future trajectory. The stakeholders’ meeting which took place in Abuja provided an opportunity to examine the programme’s impact across sectors, highlighting its triumphs and challenges, as well as potential risks and mitigation.
The Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme has delivered remarkable results over the last four years, with a focus on enhancing CSOs’ abilities to become more effective agents of sustainable development. The initiative, which has a budget of approximately EUR 13.1 million, focuses on two primary outcomes: capacity building for 200 selected CSOs in ten states, and encouraging collaboration between CSOs and other stakeholders to establish an inclusive regulatory environment for the industry.
Although the programme has faced issues such as beneficiary opposition to change, which has slowed attitudinal change, a lack of understanding of the ACT programme by civil society and beneficiaries, and difficulties working with networks and coalitions, among others.
Despite this, the ACT programme has produced significant outcomes, including an increase in the ability of over 200 CSOs to manage their operations, empowerment of over 2,800 personnel in organisational growth, and leadership training for 690 civil society network leaders. In addition, the project awarded 88 grants to CSO partners, which had a good impact on their communities.
The regulatory environment for CSOs has also improved, with self-regulation methods and platforms formed, as well as greater operational efficiency in regulatory agencies like the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering.
The programme will work closely with the CSAC in the following phase to enhance CSOs, networks, and coalitions while also establishing a more efficient and gender-responsive regulatory framework.
Reflecting on the programme achievements, the stakeholders shared the following comments.
ACT has opened the interaction platform between CSOs and regulatory agencies and is reducing mistrust that existed between the two groups. CSOs now understand the need to self-regulate and are talking clearly and openly with regulators who are coming to understand what CSOs are doing.
Gabriel Umoh CEO, African Human development centre
‘’We were battling with monitoring and evaluation but when we encountered ACT programme, they built our capacity’’.
Talatu Shanova. Executive,Director, Jumurota
“As a result of ACT-programme support, the Corporate Affair Commission (CAC) was able to launch the online financial filling system which allow people to update their audited financial reports annually”.
Salisu Abubakar CAC Officer