This document provides an insight into activities carried out by the Nigeria Network of NGOs during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing details on how the Network acted in the capacity of an umbrella body for its over 2,700 members while also serving as an information hub to the larger civil society community. These activities were conducted in response to the need to support government in its campaign against the spread of the virus, highlighting the role of civil society organisations in driving public discourse on important issues while also providing aid for organisations to function despite restrictions and the difficulties of the era.
To sensitize its various publics comprising civil society organisations, their staff, beneficiaries and regular citizens, NNNGO produced infographics on the covid-19 disease which were broadcast via its social media handles to create awareness on the disease and measures that can be undertaken to contain its spread. This was done in support of governments’ initiative to create awareness on the disease as content were culled from the World Health Organisation and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control websites.
To improve sensitization, the Network began tracking measures undertaken by the Federal and State governments across the 36 states of Nigeria to contain the spread of the covid19 virus. This was in response to the need to combat misinformation and spread of fake news, therefore the Network sought information from credible sources and news agencies, curated the information and developed a tracker where these details are currently being updated daily for accuracy. The tracker helps to provide live feeds and data on measures that governments are taking which affect the activities of people and would help citizens effectively hold government accountable while also doing their part to support governments’ action in these times. https://covid19.nnngo.org/ The tracker helps users to see measures by States and assist in planning their activities and life around the restrictions on assembly and movements to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It is an important tool for nonprofits and other critical stakeholders to plan their activities and events.
Increase in covid-19 cases necessitated measures like statewide lockdowns, closure of offices and businesses as well as interstate travel bans across the country which meant that nonprofit organisations needed to also suspend all activities and close their organisations in compliance. NNNGO foresaw this eventuality and therefore created a practical guidance to help nonprofits cope and think through their operations during the pandemic, responding to some of the common challenges seen to be faced by Nonprofits. https://nnngo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Covid-19-Advisory-3.pdf
The second advisory produced by the Network was an Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) guide for Nonprofits during the pandemic. The advisory was created based on the AML/CFT standards to guide nonprofits in receiving funds from donors, especially newly emerging/unknown entities during in the heat of the covid-19 pandemic. The need to produce this document stemmed from the understanding that nonprofits have become even more particularly vulnerable to risks of money laundering due to funding challenges caused by the crisis. NNNGO therefore, in a bid to ensure that NGOs are safe and taking proper precautions against unscrupulous entities who could hide under the guise of providing funds to NGOs to launder money or carry out criminal activities, created and published the Advisory on May 7, 2020. https://nnngo.org/aml-cft-advisory-for-nonprofits-on-the-covid-19-pandemic/
Between May 11 and June 11, 2020, NNNGO led the conduct of a survey to gather the impact of the covid-19 crisis on Nonprofit organisations across the country. The survey looked to identify the economic and operational effect of the pandemic on NGOs, paying attention to funding realities, cancellation of activities, disruption of operations, challenges and/or opportunities presented NGOs because of the pandemic. The survey also measured the preparedness of nonprofit organisations for unforeseen circumstances in terms of whether nonprofits had reserves to run their organisations in periods when funding was unavailable including also making enquiries to understand areas where nonprofits would mostly require support from the Network.
As part of this research, NNNGO hopes to create a system where nonprofit organisations can be matched with other willing organisations for collaboration and/or support when it is required. It is also intended that this survey will aid the Network’s programming and response to members and the entire nonprofit sector’s post-pandemic recovery. https://nnngo.org/nonprofit-covid19-survey/
NNNGO led the conduct of Members Check-In series events which was aimed at providing a platform for nonprofit organisations within its membership to share insights, experiences and ideas on how their organisations were being affected by the pandemic and what nonprofit leaders could begin to watch out for to ensure survival of their organisations during and after the crisis.
NNNGO also participated in various webinars and trainings conducted by both national and international civil society organisations, networks and coalitions in order to provide insights on how best Nonprofit organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic recovery. Part of which included; “COVID-19 and Civil Society in West Africa: Assessing impact, responses, and opportunities for post-pandemic recovery” organized by WACSI, Ghana, “Credibility of Social Sector Players; Lessons from COVID-19 for post COVID-19” organized by Enterprise Development Centre, “Confronting the Challenges of Covid-19 and Embracing Change as a Catalyst For Achieving the SDGs” organized by Centre for Corrections and Human Development, Covid-19 Regional Webinars organized by Forus, among others.
The Network’s Executive Director, Oyebisi Oluseyi appeared on a television programme sponsored by YIAGA and broadcast live on Channels TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jOWDzW3Rzo to analyze the Control of Infectious Disease Bill 2020 being proposed by the Nigerian legislature, providing background on the effect of the bill on the civil society, the general public and the country as a whole, while also directing discourse on areas of immediate concerns in these times.
As part of its work in ensuring that proposed regulations are focused on protection of citizens’ rights and their lives simultaneously, the Network’s Executive Director produced an editorial featuring thoughts regarding the Control of Infectious Disease Bill 2020 which was published on a National Newspaper (The Punch) released on June 10, 2020. https://punchng.com/the-control-of-infectious-diseases-bill/