Our capacity building work at the dRPC
Capacity building for civil society organizations and leadership development for the leaders of CSOs have been core cross cutting components of the dRPC’s work since its formation 1994. The dRPC commenced work in the third sector in Nigeria’s military era where dRPC founding members were Lecturers in the Nigerian University system working develop the next generation of scholars and critical thinkers. One important challenge we noted at that time was the vibrant role played by CSOs in the return to democracy but at the same time we noted the underdevelopment of theoretical insights capturing the transformative role of CSOs in the preservation and strengthening of democracy.
Against this background the dRPC designed its intervention, mission and purpose as an intermediary organization, supporting and strengthen CSOs to complement the role of the state through alternative social provisioning and social accountability while at the same time researching and documenting the transformative impact of CSOs in Nigeria’s development.
The dRPC then set out to enable and support CSOs by first addressing their need for sustainable funding to implement social projects benefitting women and girls in particular. Proposal writing trainings and regranting to CSOs became an important area of our work. By early 2000s, however, we learnt that securing grants did not guarantee a dynamic complement third sector of sustainable CSOs. We then began to design methodologies, manuals and models to strengthen the organizational and technical capacity of CSOs for organizational effectiveness and sustainability. Over the years, the dRPC has evolved to be the only indigenous CSO in Nigeria working exclusively to strengthen the organizational and technical capacity of local CSOs. Every project designed and implemented by the dRPC includes a CSO sub-granting and capacity building component to ensure effective performance.
For CSOs to be effective, the dRPC has also observed the need for uptake of their services and contributions by government agencies. The way of working of public bureaucracy which prioritizes confidentiality, secrecy and administrative processes often excludes CSO participation. Through our partnership with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies spanning from 2003 when we signed our first MOU with NIPSS to current times, the dRPC expanded its capacity building portfolio to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to build capacity for working with CSOs towards national development goals. Since this time, the dRPC in collaboration with NIPSS has supported senior level civil servants to learn about best practices through overseas study tours and has convened spin-off senior executive training programs to develop champions for change within the public service.