In the second quarter of the year 2018, the Nigeria Network of NGOs, in line with its mission and vision, intensified efforts towards national development through its ongoing projects and activities. Projects built upon were within the purview of protection of civic space, building capacity within the Nigerian civil society community and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while other activities in line with national development were also organised and supported by the Network.
UPDATE ON PROJECTS
Projects updates are presented below, in categories that fit their themes:
- PROTECTION OF CIVIC SPACE
- Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations In Nigeria: Amending Part C of CAMA
In line with its mission to protect civic space, the Network continued work on projects that focused on strengthening the laws that guide activities and the environment in which civil society organisations and nonprofits work. Therefore, with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation and as part of activities for the “Strengthening Statutory regulations For Civil Society Organisations In Nigeria: Amending Part C of CAMA” project, and in the wake of the repeal and enactment of Part C of the CAMA by the House of Assembly on May 15, 2018, NNNGO carried out activities that informed the progress of the project.
After careful review of the amended sections of Part C of the CAMA which was spearheaded by the Corporate Affairs Commission, the NNNGO-CAMA research team identified that the amended laws had featured and incorporated some of the recommendations made by the Network and its members at sector-wide consultations held in 2017. Suggestions and recommendations that were made at these consultations were thereafter incorporated into policy briefs which were then presented to policymakers by the NNNGO-advocacy team led by the Executive Director, Oyebisi B. Oluseyi.
Taken into consideration were recommendations in the area of review of penalties, refusal to incorporate organisations with similar names, the requirement for a statement of purpose, name and relevant information needed for registration, amongst others. Below is a break-down of the amended sections that feature NNNGO recommendations:
Section 580 features the need for the commission to state the purposes, name and relevant information needed for registration by NPOs who need registration. This amendment drew from the suggestion made by NNNGO to 590(5) of the previous law.
Review of Fines:
In line with suggestions made by member-NPOs who participated in the consultations, Sections 581, 582 and Section 604, subsection 3, feature review of fines from previous incommensurate amounts in terms of comparison of crime to penalties. NPOs who attended consultations hosted by NNNGO had suggested that in order for organisations working in the civic space to better understand the enormity of noncompliance, adequate punitive measures need to be attached.
Section 587 of the amended law is same as the suggestion made in subsection (6) of section 590 of the old law which stated that a corporation having a similar name with another corporation would not be incorporated. The amendment to the law makes this dictate clearer to intending registrees.
Amended Section 602 is same as the suggestion made to section 607(10)2,3 by the NNNGO in the policy briefs presented which stated that there should be an annual financial review and that there should be an approved annual financial statement by the director. In addition, Section 604, subsection 2 of the amended law features the recommendation made to section 607(11)1 by NNNGO where it was stated that there must be a report on the audited financial statement by the corporation which will be in line with the approved auditing standards and principles set by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
Another milestone recorded in this quarter was the development of a toolkit by the NNNGO-CAMA research team. The toolkit was developed after a thorough review of the annual returns-filing processes, conduct of in-depth research and online as well as offline consultations with over 2,000 Nigerian NPOs on how best to engage the process of incorporating a trusteeship alongside appropriate fees, setting up a governing board within an organisation and appointing an executive director and directors.
The purpose of developing the kit is to create a document which can serve in the capacity of a compliance manual through which NPOs could better understand the dictates of Part C of CAMA and therefore, effectively carry out their obligations and duties as stipulated in the laws. The kit is also intended to act in the capacity of a check for NPOs in order to effectively run their organisations in line with global best practices.
The toolkit will be launched and presented to NPOs who are member-organisations of the Network at training that will be hosted in Port Harcourt and Kaduna.
- The Lifeline Project supported by World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS
In continuance of the campaign to protect civic space and strengthen regulatory frameworks guiding the operational environment of Nigerian nonprofits, NNNGO with the support of World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS continued its campaign against the NGO regulation bill (HB 585).
The Network intensified efforts to popularise the campaign by leveraging on the strength of numbers. This was done by including other CSOs, NGOs and NPOs, especially those at the grassroots; to achieve this, over 2400 grassroots, national and international nonprofit organisations were reached via emails and text messages with over 900 reached via telephone calls with the message to join the campaign against the enactment of the NGO regulatory bill.
These organisations were encouraged to reach out to their representatives at the National Assembly by sending them letters which would carry their individual messages regarding the bill. To this effect, interested NPOs were sent a sample letter which served as the campaign tool. This a sample campaign letter was drafted based on the outcome of a sector-wide consultation conducted by the Network with nonprofit organisations operational in Nigeria in 2017. The sample letter was a template through which NPOs interested in the campaign could make a case by giving their representatives an overview of their organisations and how the enactment of HB585 would impact the work they do.
As part of activities for the lifeline project, the Network, on June 28, 2018, organised a workshop which 78 participants from 11 states of the country, and one participant from the United States of America. The aim of the workshop was to examine the trending policies in the Nigerian nonprofit sector while focusing on ways to ensure the development and sustainability of the sector. Participants at the workshop were taken through a course on NGO management and record keeping. A report titled “Nonprofits Regulatory Trends” was then produced.
- Universal Periodic Review Supported by World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS
In the first quarter of 2018, NNNGO, supported by CIVICUS, submitted a Universal Period Review (UPR) relating to Civic Space in Nigeria. Following this submission and in the run-up to Nigeria’s review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC in November 2018, NNNGO embarked on advocacy in relation to the UPR process. The aim of this was to assess the level of implementation of previous recommendations made to Nigeria by UNHRC during the second review cycle and to take appropriate steps toward the implementation of recommendations accepted by Nigeria especially in relation to civic space.
Therefore, a one-day workshop on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Advocacy Strategy was hosted by the Network on June 6, 2018, in order to sample the opinion of CSOs. The workshop gathered seventy-one (71) participants comprising member non-profit organisations of the Network, CSOs, and Centres for developments, actively involved in human rights activism.
To this effect, an agenda was mapped out and delineated into four key areas. The purpose of this was to incorporate the key essentials of the UPR and garner participants’ responses and feedbacks, according. An overview which included insights on the previous (2nd) UPR of Nigeria was provided by the NNNGO-UPR researcher; it included information on the reinstatement of the 219 recommendations by 88 states made to Nigeria; 184 were accepted and 35 were noted. Accordingly, Nigeria received 10 recommendations relating to civic space, all of which were accepted to be implemented.
Furthermore, an analysis of the recent UPR report was carried out and participants noted that the methodology is adopted for the research. It was also noted that the initial 10 recommendations received by the Nigerian government in the previous UPR relating to civic space had not been fully implemented. Insights on why it was important for the civil society to be actively involved in the UPR process were therefore made.
A break-out session was then held for Advocacy Strategy Planning. Here, participants were split into four groups to develop a strategic plan for the UPR using the SMART Advocacy Strategy Worksheet. In this brainstorming session, participants provided answers on who to involve in implementing the strategy, their SMART objectives, identified the policymakers related to their set objectives, reviewed their context on what is already happening outside their organisation that may impact their strategy (presenting obstacles and opportunities), gave a better knowledge of their decision makers (i.e. what they value and how best to gain their support), they considered various ways to argue their case (providing evidence to support their objectives, completing a five-point message box for their decision makers and determined the messenger for each decision maker). A work plan and budget on how to access internal resources, specify advocacy activities and assign responsibilities; how to set benchmarks for success and concluded by reviewing assignments and next steps on how to implement the UPR were also drawn up at the workshop.
The breakout session ushered in the plenary session, where participants presented varied views on how best the advocacy strategy should be carried out. The workshop concluded by affirming the need for all stakeholders especially CSOs and NGOs to be actively involved in the UPR process to ensure the rights of people are not clamped down and the government implements the accepted recommendations through advocacy and awareness creation.
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- Citizens’ Report Initiative
As part of its work on Sustainable Development, the Nigeria Network of NGOs with the support of African Monitor continued implementation of the citizens’ report project. In the second quarter of 2018, the NNNGO team which comprised a focal point, four youth champions and a research consultant embarked on citizens’ hearings and survey in three communities from three states across the country.
Between June 1-3, 2018, the NNNGO team conducted a community entry and project launch in Malete community, Moro LGA of Kwara state. This was a reconnaissance visit to the community by the team aimed at introducing the project to leaders of the community and providing a general framework for implementation of the project.
On June 11, 2018, a citizens’ hearing in form of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted on 72 community members of Malete community while the survey was conducted on 200 households within that community between June 12 and 15, 2018.
Reconnaissance for the second community, Ogor community in Ughelli-North LGA of Delta state was conducted between June 18-19, 2018 while the citizens’ hearing was conducted on June 26, 2018. Survey instruments in form of the questionnaire were administered to 200 households within the community by the NNNGO team between June 26- 30, 2018.
- Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health@ Scale (PACFaH@Scale)
In the first quarter of 2018, NNNGO with the support of development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) began implementing the PACFaH@Scale (PAS) project under the NNNGO-PACFaH@Scale (NNNGO-PAS) brand name. The program which focuses on two areas; RI Financing Strategy & FP Funding in Lagos state was launched with the hosting of a CSO mapping meeting in the first quarter of the year. After the success of a CSO mapping conducted in view of incorporating the civil society into RI issues in Lagos state, a report was developed.
The second quarter of 2018, thus featured the production of the CSO mapping report as well as Policy Briefs on RI and FP funding. These documents were developed as part of advocacy tools to be used in monitoring the implementation of the RI 2018 budget.
Subsequently, the NNNGO-PAS Policy briefs on RI and FP funding in Lagos State were presented to the Director Medical Services, Lagos state and other key officials in the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board (PHCB).
As part of activities included in the NNNGO-PAS workplan, the team also provided support to the LSMOH and LASAM Advocacy sub-committee in tracking the implementation of the 2018 RI Budget and obtained the commitment of top officials in the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board to attend the meeting with NPHCDA on the New GAVI Strategy Plan in Abuja and encourage closer working relationship between LSPHCB and the NPHCDA.
In a bid to create more visibility for the project, NNNGO-PAS program team led by the Program Officer, Ayo Adebusoye appeared on Talk time on Morning Delight on the Lagos state television on April 4, 2018, to speak on the theme, Nigeria’s Health Infrastructure -Need for State of Emergency with the aim of creating awareness about challenges bedeviling the Nigerian health sector and beaming the torch on the activities of NNNGO-PAS.
On April 27, 2018, the Program Officer, again presented a paper at a Media Roundtable program hosted by Lagos State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health, LASAM with the theme, “FP Budget Allocation & Timely Release – The Great Imperative “.
The paper focused on the need to increase awareness on issues relating to routine immunization and family planning as well as advocate the timely release of FP and RI budget allocations.
All activities embarked upon during this quarter were in furtherance of projects which began implementation between Y2016, Y2017, and Y2018. While there are success stories recorded in the course of implementation, the past four months have only proven that more work is needed in various areas to ensure eventual success for the projects.
Part of what was learned during this quarter was the need to further intensify efforts, leverage on existing partnerships and cultivate new ones in order to ensure continuity and sustainability.