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Learn how the Nigeria Network of NGOs is helping its members and nonprofits with Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Category: Newsletter

Information on Grants

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Dear Members,

 As we await that time when the COVID-19 pandemic turns a curve and we can return to our normal activities, we implore you to stay strong and continue to support one another by adhering to governments’ directives on social distancing, hand washing and other preventive measures against the spread of the disease. 

As nonprofits, we encourage that you remain on guard and strengthen your systems especially against entities that may pose threats to the integrity and accountability of your organisations during this pandemic. We have taken the time to produce an advisory document based on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards. Please download here . Stay Safe!

Committing to Realizing Positive Sustainable Change – November Newsletters 2019

Committing to Realizing Positive Sustainable Change – Istanbul Principle XIII

Over the years, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have embarked on programs/projects that assist communities to become empowered and ultimately attain sustainable development. In the bid to implement various sustainable development-related projects, CSOs are often encouraged to work in collaboration with beneficiaries by involving them at the various stages of the project implementation through proper consultation, information-sharing, and partnerships.

As agents of development, CSOs serve as service delivery partners and therefore act as the link between the public and private sectors as well as stand in a position to more holistically identify and address developmental gaps that have been otherwise left behind by the other two sectors. Very importantly, they serve as a political watchdog and ensure equitable governance through monitoring and reporting progress at local levels.

The eighth Istanbul principle of development effectiveness – “CSOs are effective as development actors when they collaborate to realize sustainable outcomes and impacts of their development actions, focusing on results and conditions for lasting change for people, with special emphasis on poor and marginalized populations, ensuring an enduring legacy for present and future generations” implies that; for effectiveness, self-reliance, and sustainability on project impacts, CSOs should embark on capacity building projects to develop the knowledge and skill of the community to mobilize resources.

CSOs programs should be aimed at improving the economic well-being of communities by job creation and income generation which in the long run, will contribute to sustainable community development. Proper consultation and embarking on community-driven projects motivates local level participation in developmental projects to improve their quality of life and commit to realizing sustainable change.

Project sustainability should always be factored before embarking on project activities. The beneficiaries need to feel the impact of the project even after the project/donor fund is exhausted. Project effectiveness and maintenance can be actualized through proper stakeholder mobilization, collaboration and building larger and more active local constituencies for grass root support and ensuring no one is left behind.

This newsletter is supported by Forus. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Forus , NNNGO or any other organisations mentioned.

 

NNNGO Launches Project to Strengthen Regulatory Frameworks for Civil Society

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About the Project

The Nigeria Network of NGOs announces the launch of a project, funded by the European Union, titled, “Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks for a More Accountable and Transparent Civil Society in Nigeria”, that focuses on current regulatory realities within the Nigerian nonprofit sector with an aim to lead conversations and actions on how these regulations can be better implemented in a way that creates an enabling operational environment for Nigerian civil society organisations (CSOs).

Project Launch

A project launch themed “Understanding Nonprofit Regulatory Frameworks; Trends and Realities” was organised in Abuja on Monday, November 4, 2019.  Participants who comprised seventy-two (72) CSOs gave insights into how best to carve out and popularize a self-regulatory mechanism that is responsive to the needs of the sector and can be effectively implemented in line with global best practices. 

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The Nigerian third sector is gradually awakening to the need to work together with regulators especially with regards to compliance issues and generally improve transparency and accountability within the sector. We are confident that this project and our approach to its implementation will allow for mutual communication among civic actors, regulators, and policymakers and we can all collaborate to create an enabling regulatory environment for the sector.

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Oyebisi Oluseyi, Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

“We are excited about this project especially as it focuses on one of our strategic pillars as organisation protection of the operational environment of Nigerian Nonprofits. We also expect that by the end of the project, one of the outcomes, among others is that it will serve as a repository of knowledge on nonprofit regulations, and provide key insights on how to incorporate global best practices into our work and the civil society sector as a whole” added Oyebisi Oluseyi. Conversations revolved around issues of registration of Nigerian Nonprofits, regulations, legitimacy, accountability, and transparency for the third sector. Participants also discussed the development of a nonprofit Code of Conduct by the sector, for the sector and approved by the Government as a guide for the operations of the Nigerian NGOs. Suggestions were made as to how nonprofits can better engage in collaborations, employ public information systems, peer review, and self-assessment mechanisms to allow growth and sustainability of organisations, especially those at the grassroots. 

A newly designed page tagged “Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks” (SRF) which offers a comprehensive understanding of the project has been created on the Network’s website www.nnngo.org where easy access is guaranteed to essential information on corporate governance within the Nigerian civil society sector, nonprofit realities as well as general information about Nigerian nonprofits. The page will be updated on a regular basis with news, pictures, and videos of project events, activities, milestones, and updates.  

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The project is intended to include peer reviews, consultations with CSOs across the country to garner opinions on regulations that they consider ideal and enabling; engagements with regulatory authorities and the National Assembly with the aim of producing a solid self-regulatory frame for Nonprofit organisations operating in Nigeria.  

This publication is produced with funding from the European Union.

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Knowledge-sharing and Commitment to Mutual Learning within the Nonprofit Space – October 2019

Knowledge-sharing and Commitment to Mutual Learning within the Nonprofit Space – Istanbul Principle VII

Nonprofits play an increasingly important role in both local and international development. With a dynamic environment fraught with uncertainties, no single nonprofit is a repository of all knowledge, hence the need for continuous learning.

To address developmental challenges, the activities of nonprofits are increasingly reliant on high-quality information and knowledge shared- necessary for organisational effectiveness and sustainability through collaborative practices.

Knowledge is the intellectual capital of any organisation and it must be said that while many nonprofits lack the critical processes and knowledge needed to help them develop, evaluate, document, and share successful programs, there is quite a number who have these capacities. Being in the space to create and share knowledge with one another while mutually committing to continuous and sustained learning is key to long term organisational effectiveness for individual organisations and the nonprofit sector at large. Part of the benefits for Civil society organisations (CSOs) involved in this kind of arrangement is the renewed capacity to execute key activities within a given time-frame.

Knowledge-sharing engenders growth within the sector especially when smaller nonprofits are privy to experiences of bigger organisations who faced down challenges in the past, learned from them and eventually delivered on their goals. Thus, various actors while working together would produce knowledge and share essential information that promotes grassroots development.

The 7th Istanbul principle of development effectiveness states – “CSOs are effective as development actors when they enhance the ways they learn from their experience, from other CSOs and development actors, integrating evidence from development practice and results, including the knowledge and wisdom of local and indigenous communities, strengthening innovation and their vision for the future they would like to see”.

CSOs need to commit to mutual learning and knowledge sharing because developmental issues can only be addressed by acting together, which is necessary for achieving collaboration and mutual learning for nonprofits. Many pressing concerns are universal, and can only be tackled by multi-sectoral collaboration and sharing mechanisms. Working together guarantees long-term prosperity for all, reduces duplicity of actions and plays a key role in informing coherent policy-making for better global impacts.

Despite the dynamics of power among nonprofits in Nigeria that hinder proper information sharing and constitute barriers to collective knowledge development, nonprofits should see themselves as partners, collaborate, share information and commit to mutual learning from all stakeholders for the good of their organisation and the society at large.

This newsletter is supported by Forus. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Forus, NNNGO or any other organisations mentioned.

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – September, 2019

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – September, 2019

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Constitutions help set the rules guiding the operation of nonprofits. They are important because they establish procedures that everyone can rely on and give a level of certainty about how the organisation should be run; the rules and processes provided in the constitution binds the board, the organisation and its members. Legally, a nonprofit’s constitution is what the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) uses to determine its object and decide if it is indeed, a nonprofit.

The first thing nonprofits need to understand when setting up their organisation or applying formally to the Corporate Affairs Commission is to ensure that their board meets either physically or online to discuss the constitution and agree to its adoption; the minutes of this meeting must be documented for future purposes.

When drafting a constitution, nonprofits should ensure that their constitution states the name or title of the organisation, clearly articulates the aims/objects(charitable purpose) of the organisation, clearly sets out the role/powers of the board indicating their job descriptions, appointment/tenure of office and replacement of trustees, how meetings of the board are called and held and what would happen if the organisation must wind up.

At this point, it is important for the prospective board(trustees) to read the constitution and accept responsibility through a signed document for leading the governance of the organisation and ensuring its effectiveness.

It is highly recommended that nonprofits do not copy and paste their organisational constitution to ensure that the constitution and governance documents accurately reflects their organisations’ peculiarities, situations that are unique to how their organisation operates or will operate; this constitution should contain rules that the particular nonprofit understand and will be able to follow.

Ultimately, nonprofits are required to have in place a constitution that governs its operations and safeguards it for efficient and effective running of day to day activities.  

This newsletter is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Commonwealth Foundation, NNNGO or any other organisations mentioned. 

Pursue Equitable Partnerships and Solidarity – Istanbul Principe VI (September, 2019)

Pursue Equitable Partnerships and Solidarity – Istanbul Principe VI (September, 2019)

Partnerships among CSOs and various stakeholders are vital to cooperation, collaboration and problem-solving as all these are built on trust, mutuality, accountability and solidarity.

In a bid to pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity, there is a need for CSOs to see themselves as partners rather than competitors. This translates to a commitment to goals, efforts, and problems of other development actors in order to facilitate effective collaborations and information sharing which allows for local, national and global development.

It is important to note, however, that openness among all stakeholders; government, private sector, civil society, and the citizens will minimize the rate of conflicts while ensuring equitable partnerships and solidarity.

The sixth Istanbul principle of development effectiveness states thus – “CSOs are effective as development actors when they commit to transparent relationships with CSOs and other development actors,freely and as equals, based on shared development goals and values, mutual respect, trust, organizational autonomy, long-term accompaniment, solidarity and global citizenship”.

CSOs are encouraged to collaborate with other organisations who share their goals in order to maximize resources to achieve bigger impact. Even though the challenges of partnerships cannot be overlooked, CSOs must develop strong systems of conflict resolution to address disputes and issues that may arise during collaborations.

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – August, 2019

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – August, 2019

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Nonprofit mergers are becoming a common trend in many countries and are now a topic of discussion among nonprofit leaders, board and funders. Mergers provide an avenue to preserve and strengthen needed service provided by nonprofits to diverse communities.

The Part F of the Companies and Allied Matters Act recognizes mergers; paving the way for nonprofits with similar objects and aims to merge under terms and conditions prescribed by the Corporate Affairs Commission. Lessons from studies and research have shown that mergers; improve image, reputation and public support for nonprofits, increases financial stability and efficiency of operations.

Merging might also help address issues of duplication of efforts and avoiding solvency especially with the difficult economic climate and the fact that the funding terrain for nonprofits is adversely affected.

With the passing of the amended Part F of CAMA, we anticipate an increase in the consideration for mergers by nonprofits to develop greater organizational efficiencies relating to programming, administrative capacity and financial sustainability.

Nonprofit considering mergers should ensure that they fuse with organisations that have similar mission and vision as them, make use of experts in the merger process and seek specialized knowledge on what the structure or emerging organisation, function and legal aspect of the merger would look like.

Nonprofits should also ensure that funders involved in the merger are given the opportunity to give input into the planning; the merging process should be seen as a collaborative one by identifying potential mutual gains that could be realized in the merger. 

This newsletter is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Commonwealth Foundation, NNNGO or any other organisations mentioned. 

The Practice of Transparency and Accountability- Istanbul V (August, 2019)

The Practice of Transparency and Accountability- Istanbul V (August, 2019)

Transparency and accountability are pivotal to achieving an effective civil society. Transparency refers to being honest and open; by implication, civil society organisations are expected to be clear enough for private and public scrutiny. Accountability is the ability for CSOs to willingly answer and take responsibility for their actions (decisions, activities or policies) and results. This is central to discussions relating to problems in non-profits as they are the two main pillars of good corporate governance and generally guide the way NGOs are operated, regulated or controlled.

Inline with fostering transparency and accountability, there is the need for CSOs to put in place internal self-regulatory mechanisms that serve as a check to their various activities, this is reflected in their governance strategy and structure, human resource and management, project management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, and their financial management and sustainability.

The measures include – complying with registration and reporting requirements, adopting a core vision, values and mission, electing a board to guide its mission and review its performance, publishing annual reports, documenting administrative procedure, documenting project work plans and budgets, having a monitoring and evaluation system in place, providing sound account of fund management(recording all financial transactions with relevant receipts and supporting documents); putting systems in place to prevent fraud -such as regular audits,two signatures to account; constituent/ stakeholder feedbacks; among others.

CSOs are accountable to the government, donors, beneficiaries (people), partners, mission, board, staff and their fellow CSOs. This fosters responsiveness to the needs of their communities, the people they work with and other stakeholders engaged in development. Hence, proper accountability measures facilitate increase donor and citizen support.

Through advocacy, CSOs have played a critical role in promoting transparency and accountability within the government and the general society which has yielded positive results. However, they have been encouraged to improve their transparency and accountability mechanisms especially due to the increased rate of money laundering and terrorist financing activities that CSOs can be vulnerable to. To maintain public trust, CSOs need to work on improving their level of transparency and accountability.

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – July, 2019

NNNGO Newsletter on Understanding the Companies and Allied Matters Act – July, 2019

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An important step towards financial growth and the promotion of transparency and accountability within a nonprofit organization is strong financial management. Nonprofit organisations are expected to keep a tight record of their financial and accounting operations as this improves their documentation processes and helps to take stock of their spending. 

Under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAMA, nonprofits have an obligation to the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to correctly keep records that explain how the organization spends and receives its money or other assets (day to day transactions). When nonprofits show records of how it runs; it helps the organisation demonstrate to regulators that it is actively operating and working towards its objectives and remains eligible as a registered nonprofit. This practice also helps to show whether or not the organisation is in good financial health and is being run efficiently.   

Nonprofits are to ensure that they keep operational records which will ideally be stated in the statement of accounts prepared by the bank; doing this shows that the organisation is operating as a nonprofit and meeting its obligations under the part F of CAMA and with relevant authorities, stakeholders and donors. Though this process might be delegated, it is the responsibility of the Board to ensure that the organisation’s accounting records are kept and prepared according to relevant accounting principles adopted by the organisation.

The law requires that nonprofits have preserved accounting financial records for a period of six years from the date of the organisation’s inception for effective transparency and accountability processes.

To adhere to this requirement, nonprofits are required to ensure that financial reports, receipts of transactions and all evidences of payments are correctly recorded, allow for true and fair statements prepared  and audited by an audit firm for large organisations while smaller nonprofits can prepare a statement of affairs (a profit and loss account). This document is vital to the process of filing annual returns with the CAC. 

This newsletter is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Commonwealth Foundation, NNNGO or any other organisations mentioned. 

Promotion of Environmental Sustainability (ISTANBUL PRINCIPLE IV) July, 2019

Promotion of Environmental Sustainability (ISTANBUL PRINCIPLE IV) July, 2019

The environment is considered the most important of the three pillars of sustainability, perhaps because the social and economic pillars are largely dependent on the existence of a functional environment. The inability to keep environmental issues in check weakens the other pillars of sustainability, therefore, it is safe to say that working towards a stronger and sustainable environment is key to ensuring a better quality of life, globally.

“Environmental sustainability is concerned with whether environmental resources will be protected and maintained for future generations”, implying that while humans engage in various activities to meet their needs and make life enjoyable, they consider environmental protection and desist from acts that cause damage to the environment or deplete resources that cannot be renewed.

In promoting environmental sustainability, civil society actors should ensure that in the course of balancing local and global efforts to meet basic human needs, the natural environment should not be destroyed or degraded as keeping the environment safe in order to sustain future generations is a commitment that everyone needs to be part of. Civic actors must, in actions and speech, encourage sustainable living- actively involving in the maintenance of factors and practices that contribute to the quality of the environment on a long-term basis.

When all the three pillars of sustainability are strengthened, people live in a system where high-quality life is the norm. They have a clean healthy environment, a satisfactory level of economic well-being and a robust level of social fulfillment.

CSOs are effective as development actors when they develop and support policies that promote environmental sustainability and encourage more sustainable environmental practices. Such as- moving toward renewable energy (like solar)instead of relying on non-renewable energy sources (like coal and power plants)which create pollution and alter the earth’s atmosphere.

A common approach needs to be agreed and; the people and the government should be aware of the damages their actions can inflict on the environment and the precautionary measures that need to be taken. This will go a long way in protecting both the social and economic aspects of society.