Archives

World Down Syndrome Day -An Interview with DEWDROPS CARE DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

World Down Syndrome Day -An Interview with DEWDROPS CARE DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

With the aim to LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND while ensuring that people with Down Syndrome have equal opportunities to a rewarding and a fulfilling life, NNNGO’s Olaife Ilori, on World Down Syndrome Day, spoke with Grace Bakare, Author of THE PLIGHT OF PARENT RAISING CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME and Founder, Dewdrops Care Development Foundation.

Grace highlighted the challenges that come with DS and how she has been able to give her daughter the best. “My daughter does not have special needs; my daughter has the same needs as anyone else. She has a need to live at home with her family. She has the need for a good education, good friends, mad fun and a supportive family”

THE INTERVIEW : THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF A MOTHER

WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME?

Down syndrome is a common birth defect that is caused by an extra chromosome 21 (trisomy 21). It causes mental retardation, a characteristically facial appearance, and multiple malformations. It is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome occurs in approximately 1,700 live births. Abnormalities are varied from individual to individual, common features include; flat face with short nose, prominent skin folds, and small low-set ears.

WHAT CAUSES DOWN SYNDROME?

While doctors are not sure why there is this birth defect with the extra chromosome 21, statistics show that women of 35 years and above have a higher chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. Normally, each cell in our body has 23 pairs of chromosomes. One chromosome in each pair comes from the mother while the other comes from the father. In Down syndrome, there are three copies, either complete or partial, of chromosome 21.

HAVE PARENTS DONE ANYTHING WRONG TO HAVE THEIR BABIES BORN WITH DOWN SYNDROME?

There is no link to anything in the environment or anything the parents did or did not do. If one has already had a child with Down syndrome, it is most likely to have another. It is not common, but it is possible to pass Down Syndrome from parent to child. Sometimes a parent has what experts call ‘’translocated’’ genes. That means some of their genes are not in their normal place.

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE DOWN SYNDROME IS CONNECTED WITH SOME VOODOO OR DARK POWERS, HOW TRUE IS THIS MYTH?

Down syndrome has nothing to do with black magic, dark powers, or voodoo. There is no evidence to-date that it connects DS to do any shadowy, indistinct and nebulous folk tales.

IS IT OKAY TO ABORT THE BABY IF PRE-NATAL TESTING REVEALS THE CHILD IS DOWN WITH THE SYNDROME?

I believe it is not okay. It is an abortion which is seen as grave sin in my family. Some people believe terminating the pregnancy after early pre-natal diagnosis is right while others in the religious and anti-abortion group believe it is a sin. In the United States each year, more than 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born, according to the National Down Syndrome Society, however, almost none are born in Iceland, that is because nearly 100% of women in Iceland who receive a positive test for Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy. In fact the law permit abortions after 16 weeks if the foetus has a deformity. Iceland is not alone in having high termination rates. In Denmark, 98% of pregnancies with a Down Syndrome diagnosis are terminated. In France, it is 77% while United States reads 67%. In Nigeria Down Syndrome families are divided over aborting at pre-natal testing, but major cases of Down Syndrome births are not reported because of the traditional belief that are still associated with witchcraft.

WHICH PARENT DOES DOWN SYNDROME COME FROM?

It could either be from the father or the mother or from both, but it is widely believed that the gene is from the mother. It is a common knowledge that when women age, so are their chances of having a baby with a genetic abnormality. The most common form of Down syndrome is known as trisomy 21, a condition where individuals have 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of 46, Trisomy 21 is caused by an error in cell division which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra copy of chromosomes 21 before or at conception.

HOW WILL A CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME AFFECT THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY?

Having a child with Down syndrome will affect everyone in the immediate family, most especially young couples. When faced with life’s complexities, one is rendered speechless. At the birth of my daughter Oluwafemi Bakare, my husband was almost questioning my fidelity. ‘’Are you sure you have not been having extra marital affairs? I hope you are not cursed? These are some of the battalion questions my husband asked, while I kept pondering over my entire past misdeeds and judging myself. Whether you are an Agnostic, Atheist, Christian, Ethicist, Hindu, Jew, Moslem, Pagan, etc. you sometimes arrive at a point where you question your belief and wonder if the alternative is a better choice. It is at this point you would ask, “how do I speak with an angel?” an angel of any faith that will give you an answer. How does someone raise a child with Down syndrome and remain sane? How? How does one deal with the long therapy sessions and the bills that come with it? Is it their educational progress or skill acquisition as the case may be? This makes it even more challenging because of the birth defects. Indeed, having a child with Down Syndrome will create a lot of challenges, that is if it does not break the marriage sef.

 

IS DOWN SYNDROME CONTAGIOUS?

Down Syndrome is non-infectious or contagious. It only affects the one who has it. It is congenital which means, a person is born with it. No one gets Down Syndrome later in life. It is one of the most common genetic birth defects that happens to a child.

DO YOU THINK THE SOCIETY EMBRACES/ACCEPTS PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME?

In some parts of Nigeria, children with Down Syndrome are still hidden and locked behind closed doors for some parents are ashamed of taking them out. But recently, attitudes towards Down Syndrome have shifted considerably. Before now, children with Down syndrome were automatically institutionalized and many of them died due to some health-related challenges. But in the latter part of the 20th century, advocacy for people with Down syndrome has been significantly pronounced, children with Down syndrome have begun attending general public schools, have professional jobs and families which has made them a whole lot more independent. The life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has also increased significantly in recent times.

ARE THERE SPECIAL PROGRAMMES FOR CHILDREN WITH DS WHICH WOULD HELP THEM BECOME INDEPENDENT IN ALL SPHERES OF THEIR LIVES?

The most important influence on early development is daily interaction and activities with families. Families are encouraged to access early learning and intervention services that are available from infancy. This will support the development of some of the most important early childhood skills. Early intervention programs are helping children reach their potentials, with this in line, they can graduate to post school training or tertiary institutions.

AS A PARENT OF A DOWN-SYNDROME CHILD, HOW DID YOU RECEIVE THE NEWS AND HOW DO YOU COPE WITH TOUGH DAYS?

When I learnt that my baby had Down syndrome, I was shocked. Twelve years later, I look back and wish I could have encouraged myself much more than I did. Upon receiving my daughter’s prenatal diagnosis, I remember feeling a sense of soul-crushing hopelessness. Hopelessness of what my daughter’s life would be like. Hopelessness of what the diagnosis meant for me as a parent. Hopelessness of how different our family would be from the one I had imagined. I was changed forever with the news of having a daughter with Down syndrome. Today, looking back, I have come to replace that anxiety, sorrow and anger with strength, courage, dignity and determination. There was that stereotyped thought linked with DS; I imagined a life of zero potential, a life spent trapped in a corner unable to have a fulfilling life. An imagination which turned out exactly the opposite. Even during very trying days and I feel like giving up, Grace, my daughter with her beautiful almond-shaped eyes and captivating smile makes all the challenges surmountable.

WHAT WORRIES YOU ABOUT HER FUTURE?

What worries me about her future is in the area of marriage. The day she will leave me to stay on her own, who will be there for her like I do. But I know she will do just fine with or without me.

IS THERE TREATMENT FOR DOWN SYNDROME?

Yes, there are treatments for Down syndrome. Early intervention programmes with a team of therapists and special educators who can treat each child’s specific situation are helpful in managing Down syndrome children.

IS THERE A CURE FOR DOWN SYNDROME?

Down syndrome cannot be cured. However, early treatment can help many people with Down syndrome have productive lives. Children with Down syndrome can often benefit from speech therapy, occupational therapy and exercises to help improve their motor skills.

WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME?

With appropriate medical care, most children and adults with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives. The average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 60 years with many living into their 60’s and 70’s.

WHAT ADVISE DO YOU GIVE TO THAT FAMILY WITH A DOWN SYNDROME CHILD AND TO THAT DOWN SYNDROME CHILD WHO WISHES TO EXCEL IN LIFE?

A most useful advice I can give to a family with Down syndrome child is to learn as much as possible about the chromosomal disorder so they can deal with it squarely. Parents can also join an online parent forum or attend different seminars about living with a child with Down syndrome. And as the child grows, you can work with different therapists who would help improve their skills.

To that Down syndrome child who wishes to excel in life, I will preach FAITH, HOPE and DETERMINATION. Irrespective of any jest or bully made out of the child, he must keep the vision of where he is going vivid and alive, having it at the back of his mind that abilities abound in disabilities.

Human rights and social justice in Nigeria (March, 2019)

https://campaign-image.com/zohocampaigns/492296000000450009_zc_v9_press_release_480x204_image.png

Fundamental human rights are the “inalienable rights of people”. These are legal entitlements enjoyed by every citizen of a country without fear of government or other fellow citizens. In every country, these rights are protected and enshrined in the National constitution- chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria explains what are considered as the rights of every Nigerian citizen and how they can be protected.

However, shreds of evidence show that despite the entrenchment of human rights in the Nigerian constitution,continuous restrictions on some aspects of citizens’ rights continue to undermine the status of human rights in the country. Over time, the civic space has been threatened. There have been cases of human right violations, ranging from the intimidation and harassment of human right defenders, restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and association, among others.

The Sustainable Development Goals address the importance of protecting citizens’ rights and goal 16 delineates the need to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
In line with the Istanbul principle of development effectiveness, which emphasizes the need for the “respect and promotion of human rights and social justice; CSOs are agents charged with the responsibility of bringing accountability by exposing and following up on human right violations, therefore, to assist the government in achieving goal 16 of the SDGs, CSOs must work to develop effective, accountable and transparent systems so that they can serve as a watch towards implementation.
Accordingly, “CSOs are effective as development actors when they develop and implement strategies, activities and practices that promote individual and collective human rights, including the right to development, with dignity, decent work, social justice and equity for all people”.
CSOs should be at the forefront towards ensuring the protection of these rights and the strengthening of civic space in Nigeria. Although some measures have been put in place by the government to improve the human rights situations in Nigeria, there is still room for improvement.
PRESS RELEASE – NNNGO Launches Nonprofit Self-Assessment Tool (NOPSAT)

PRESS RELEASE – NNNGO Launches Nonprofit Self-Assessment Tool (NOPSAT)

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) has begun the process of improving capacity within the Nigerian  Nonprofit sector with the launch of its Nonprofit Self-Assessment Tool (NOPSAT), an e-instrument designed to help evaluate the efficiency of NGOs.

NNNGO sought to provide Nonprofits with a platform that allows its users to conduct a “health check” on their organisation based on information provided so that Nonprofits that log onto NOPSAT will be able to carry out an assessment on their organisations and thus, measure structure, systems, capacities, strengths and weakness in terms of financing, interaction with donors and beneficiaries as well as compliance to nonprofit laws and regulatory trends.

Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi, NNNGO Executive Director said; “We believe that a more efficient nonprofit with the right governance, financial, programme management monitoring and reporting framework will reinforce the attainment of agenda 2030 and make the nonprofit sector more accountable. This self-assessment tool will help nonprofits better understand how to shape their governance and operations in line with global best practices and in adherence to laws that regulate nonprofit activities in the country. We have, in this tool, set measurable indicators for efficiency and growth including goals to hold ourselves accountable as individual organisations. We know that a sector-wide attainment of these indicators will lead to stronger, innovative and sustainable third sector”.

Organisations can be evaluated based on honest responses to prompts intended to measure their  governance strategy and structure, human resources and administration, programme management, monitoring and reporting along with its financial management and sustainability.

Ultimately, the outcome of the check will provide an opportunity for Nonprofits to strengthen their organisation, put sustainable systems in place and seek capacity development where lacking.

To assess the status of your organisation, do a self-assessment today by clicking  http://www.nonprofitactioncentre.org/assessment/

For further information, please contact,

Chidinma Okpara : chidinma.okpara@nnngo.org

Adeola Odunsi:      adeola.odunsi@nnngo.org

+234906 946 0107

Celebrating NNNGO’s Gender-Focused Membership

Celebrating NNNGO’s Gender-Focused Membership

ONYEMAECHI HOPE FOR THE HELPLESS FOUNDATION

Emerged in 2007 to care for the less privileged, give hope to the poor and the helpless, OHHF focuses on good health and well-being; education and poverty; gender equality and women empowerment.

OHHF believes that for women to reach their full potentials there is need for advocacy and sensitization on gender equality, women liberation and access to quality education for the girl child.

The foundation’s achievements could be seen in the areas of Health: Free Medical Check Up/Treatment and Distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets to the less privileged in Enugu and Anambra states; Motherless Babies Home Visitation(Visit to Red Cross Motherless Babies Home Onitsha in Anambra state, 2017); Scholarship Awards with a major focus on widow empowerment cum free medical treatment also in 2017 at Central School Umunevo  Amagunze, Nkanu East LGA Enugu State Nigeria with a record of over one hundred beneficiaries.

On International Women’s Day, Onyemaechi Hope For The Helpless Foundation’s message to women world over, especially to (THAT CAREER WOMAN) is Learn to see criticism, comments and notes from your bosses as an avenue for development. Even if the criticisms sting, move on and become a better YOU. Having a thicker skin is for the best for “no one has time to hold your hands and give you a cookie over every assignment that comes your way”.

PHELYN SKILL ACQUISITION CENTER

Phelyn Skill Acquisition Center aims to create employment, reduce poverty and enhance economic independence among Nigerian women and youths.

Established to tackle the challenge of gender inequality, hunger and poverty, the center is proud to contributing to create free business development courses to enable women improve their skills. In her five years of establishment PSAC has trained, empowered and have a record of well over 3000 beneficiaries across the 36 states of the federation.

With a strong core value in gender justice and fairness, Phelyn Skill Acquisition Center together with her partners (NDE, SMEDAN, NYSC, UNIDO HP LIFE and Youth Alive Foundation) have been able to implement laudable projects on women empowerment which include vocational trainings on production of beaded necklace, hat/fascinators, batik, tie and dye and event decorations. Also through their efforts, PSCA facilitates empowerment programmes on cake/pastries and digital literacy; participated on Women and Web Alliance Project by World Pulse where 60 youth corps members were taught on how to maximize the use of their time with mobile phones without internet access.

CONCLUSION

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The 21st century is the century for change and the planet earth is ready. The 21st century woman has to fight to change the status quo that created inequality, the we have always done it this way syndrome, which opines that women must be seen and not heard must be stopped, a change which will radically gain an unprecedented momentum. The time is NOW, the time is ripe for women of all races to come together and be the harbinger of the new change and so it is with a consensus that education is the key for women’s liberation while equal access to health care, decent work, representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel the much-needed sustainable economies which would pave way to A BALANCED WORLD for a balanced world would in every way birth a BETTER WORLD.

WOMAN: The Untapped Reservoir

WOMAN: The Untapped Reservoir

Since the existence of human, women have always been the inferior gender. Society over time has placed labels amongst the two genders (man and woman). For men, they are: superior, the provider, the shield and head of the family. While women have been labelled as the: inferior, weak, house/home keeper and child bearer.

Women from past centuries have amazingly changed the world which have in some ways paved way for a better society. During the historical period, several women achieved awesome goals but still remained unequal and inferior to men. The historical woman could not vote, hold an everyday job nor a place in politics. They primarily managed the home front, they were seen and not heard, they had voice but were voiceless.

And so came the gender parity, the fundamental human right.

The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals for women so they could stand as equal partners with men in achieving respect, sustainable development, peace and security.

The United Nations thus declared 1975 through 1985 DECADE FOR WOMEN. Four world conferences on women were held; Mexico City 1975, Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985 and 1995 Beijing Conference. These conferences directed searchlight on a variety of issues affecting the status of women in the society, the issues which include; Violence against women; Women’s Rights; Women’s Reproductive Health et all.

Since those early years, International Women’s Day has thus begun to assume a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by these four global United Nations women’s conferences, have helped to build support for women’s rights and participation. Celebrated in many countries around the world, IWD is a day for women’s recognition for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements, a day which calls to action for accelerating gender parity for global transformation.

No doubt, the 21st century will be the century of the female gender, that is if the world is indeed ready to embrace this paradigm shift. Women today are much different than historical women. The modern woman is consumed with many obligations, duties and responsibilities. Women are beginning to step out of their historical role of house manager dependents to a more independent, sophisticated gender. The roles of women in the society have significantly changed, goals and opportunities are more abundant for women and the modern woman is taking advantage of them in a positive and healthy way.

Today, women can vote and be voted for; the political space is present (although still narrow); today’s women have career choices and are more diligent so much so that they are beginning to have rising wages. Today, more than 70% of women work full time or part-time paid jobs which contributes an emphatic part of households’ income. Sadly, this social phenomenon is breeding profound changes that carries financial, emotional and psychological implications for both men and women, particularly in a conservative society as ours.

World over, there is increasingly an understanding of the need to unleash the untapped potential of women. There are evidences to show that when women participate even in leadership, the impacts extend far beyond the ordinary.

Common with women all over the world, African women face a variety of social, economic, legal and political constraints. Indeed, some laws somewhere still treat women as MINORS. We hear that in Congo, a woman must have her husband’s consent to open a bank account.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with approximate 180 million citizens (CIA World Fact Book 2015) recent studies reveal that modern Nigerian women are on the lowest ladder of you name it area. Nigeria with her male dominated environs have women as subordinates and underrepresented, report shows that in the nation’s 8th National Assembly, women occupy just 7 out of 109 Senate seats and only 22 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives.

Political inclusion for women should be a fundamental aspect of modern democracy in Nigeria and world over and so the female gender must be encouraged. Improved representation of women have massive impacts so much so that testimonies of improved policy changes, more friendly laws (especially for married women), economic growth, sustainable peace and development abound.

Women who successfully combine careers with families have been termed lucky but the irony of life is that all may not come out with such luck, for there is a rise in marital instability as evidently seen in the last two decades; domestic violence; promiscuity; child marriage; human trafficking (International Labor Organization estimates that there are about 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, 55% of whom are women and girls).

Be that as it may, women have exceeded much expectations with their numerous hands working magic; a modern day woman can simultaneously work on her laptop, cook in the kitchen, tend to a teary-eyed baby, do laundry and still attend to the sexual needs of her husband. Regardless of all these responsibilities, she strives still to thrive even in her chosen career.

International Women’s Day – An interview with WHYTE SPRINGBOARD INITIATIVE

International Women’s Day – An interview with WHYTE SPRINGBOARD INITIATIVE

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Sylvia Obiajulu Mordi, founder Whyte Springboard Initiative wants to challenge stereotypes that limit women and girls. NNNGO’s correspondent, Olaife Ilori caught up with the game changer for women development, ever confident to voice her views and ideas, read how Sylvia chooses to reject gender-biased attitudes with a strong belief in creating an incredible present and future for the female gender world over.

Follow the conversation:

—————————

Do you think women are well empowered in this 21st century?

 

I would say that women are not well empowered, well I must say there are improvements but a lot still needs to be done, I say this because most times opportunities are taken away from women because the society seem to factor a woman’s personal life with her professional decisions. Also women are only empowered in a particular trend of skills, especially business, trading, cooking, fashion etc. leaving technical and professional skills out and so our foundation is going all out in ensuring that the female gender acquires that empowerment.

What is FEMINISM and why does the world especially the developing nations find it difficult to embrace this movement/advocacy?

 

Feminism is the advocacy for the political, economic and social rights of women, in the sense that the same opportunities given to men should also be made available for women to participate in different spheres of life if they want to rather than being deprived of such opportunities.

Developing countries find it difficult to embrace this advocacy because like the saying goes that CHANGE is difficult to accept and FEAR a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself. The fear of changing the cultures and the deeply ingrained bias towards women. The fear of changing the long taught norm that men ought to speak out loud while women listen.

 

What does the International Women’s Day Theme 2019, #BalanceforBetter mean to you?

BALANCE FOR BETTER is practically an equal opportunity for men and women. You know the future is just ahead, there is need to build a gender-balanced world that drives a better working world

 

There’ s a stereotype attached to career women. Many women, get caught up on internal i\ssues of what sacrifices they need to make even as they grow in their career. Do you think women get enough support system? In what ways should the society create best support system for career women especially at home without jeopardizing their career?

 

Indeed, there is a misconception that most career women focus more on their career rather than getting married and paying attention to the home front. Women should begin to have enough support system, many abandon their career just because they find it difficult to strike a balance between the home front and career life. The society can help by creating flexible working system for women, while men should become more supportive especially in house hold decisions and chores. Society must also stop prioritizing a man’s career over that of a woman.

 

So many women across the world are still unable to reach their full potentials, how is your foundation working on empowering women?

 

Our foundation is providing a support system by changing the perspective of women through coaching and mentoring to break away from the norm; we want to give them the opportunity to prove themselves in all spheres even in male dominated professions

 

Some 150 years ago, women and all she owned belonged to her father or her husband. How does your organization ensure this practice remains forever buried?

 

Women are striving hard to no longer inherit the silence of their mothers by seeking avenues to be enlightened and empowered. In this light, our foundation is ensuring this practice remains forever buried by supporting women through educating them on knowing their fundamental human right.

 

Women make up 51% of world population. There are no reasons women shouldn’t be able to represent more than 40% of top level jobs and corporate board seats. What is your take on this?

Yes, women should be able to represent more than 40% of top level jobs and corporate board seats. We must accept that change does not happen overnight, it is a gradual process, what matters is that our path are henceforth pointed into a new direction. So many organizations have sprung up and have become catalyst for change for women in this era. So there is hope that in the near future, we will have a good number of female representative in top jobs and corporate board seats.

 

What do you say to that woman who wishes and desires to excel in her career and would want to simultaneously keep an excellent home front?

 

She should stay strong and fearless, everything can be achieved for a determined heart for desires backed by faith knows no such word as IMPOSSIBLE

 

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

 

I would want to see more of female participation and equal representation in politics, health, science, ICT and technical skills.

 

On International Women’s Day, what advice would you give to women?

 

They should constantly keep evolving by seeking personal and professional development, seek personal approval rather than societal approval. Dream big and go for it. We all deserve better. Women do not apologize for being fierce and confident, silent the external noise and listen to the voice within you, keep reinventing yourself for relevance.

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic Plan

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 2,400 organisations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level.

INTRODUCTION

The Nigeria Network of NGOs has more than 2,400-member organisations and works with diverse institutions within and outside the civil society ranging from academics, trade unions, funders through to private sector
and government. We work to secure a fairer operational environment for Nigerian nonprofits. Our 2018-22 strategic plan emanates from our continued commitment to supporting nonprofits in the country in bringing prosperity to people and planet. Our analysis of rapidly changing environment and challenges facing civil society, and an elaborate process of consultation within the NNNGO membership and critical stakeholders to determine the most useful role NNNGO can play in adding value to the work our members do and to secure the operational environment we want.

Strategic Plan Compressed 1

Incorporation of Trustees (February, 2019)      

Incorporation of Trustees (February, 2019)      

Boards of trustees are pivotal to the growth and success of nonprofits. Their role is to serve as governing bodies, safeguard the core values of an organization and ensure the fulfillment of its vision and supervise the overall operation.

A Board of Trustees is made up of a number of different representatives, often an odd number; between five and thirteen persons or as stipulated in the organisation’s founding document and is often elected or appointed at an Annual General Meeting, for a specific period of time.

Board members can be drawn from all sectors of the community and a founder could form a recruitment panel amongst existing staff or some members of their current board in order to get different views on prospective candidates for a new board so that a more informed decision is taken.

As the governing body of a nonprofit, the board oversees policy approval and is legally accountable to public as well as beneficiaries of the organisation it serves. By law, it is required that the Board meets on a regular schedule to make decisions regarding the organisation, however, the frequency of meetings can be guided by the decisions that the Board needs to make or events, within a timeline, that facilitate management’s ability to effectively implement those decisions.

The Director of a nonprofit sets the agenda to shape the work of the board, therefore he or she is expected to attend Board meeting, however, since every decision the board makes relating to budget and compensation will impact the him or her (in cases where the Director is a paid employee), there may be conflicts of interest.

To handle this, the Director could be excluded from discussions involving budget and compensation, but be allowed to have a vote and remain a part of the board for other business. Alternatively, he or she could be invited to board meetings as a guest rather than a voting member.

This publication has been produced with the Commonwealth Foundation and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO). However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Commonwealth Foundation or the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

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

https://campaign-image.com/zohocampaigns/492296000000450009_zc_v9_press_release_480x204_image.png

Boards of trustees are pivotal to the growth and success of nonprofits. Their role is to serve as governing bodies, safeguard the core values of an organization and ensure the fulfillment of its vision and supervise its the overall operation.

A Board of Trustees is made up of a number of different representatives, often an odd number; between five and thirteen persons or as stipulated in the organisation’s founding document and is often elected or appointed at an Annual General Meeting, for a specific period of time.

Board members can be drawn from all sectors of the community and a founder could form a recruitment panel amongst existing staff or some members of their current board in order to get different views on prospective candidates for a new board so that a more informed decision is taken.

As the governing body of a nonprofit, the board oversees policy approval and is legally accountable to public as well as beneficiaries of the organisation it serves. By law, it is required that the Board meets on a regular schedule to make decisions regarding the organisation, however, the frequency of meetings can be guided by the decisions that the Board needs to make or events, within a timeline, that facilitate management’s ability to effectively implement those decisions. 

The Director of a nonprofit sets the agenda to shape the work of the board, therefore he or she is expected to attend Board meeting, however, since every decision the board makes relating to budget and compensation will impact the him or her (in cases where the Director is a paid employee), there may be conflicts of interest. 

To handle this, the Director could be excluded from discussions involving budget and compensation, but be allowed to have a vote and remain a part of the board for other business. Alternatively, he or she could be invited to board meetings as a guest rather than a voting member. 

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. 

Understanding the Istanbul Principles (February, 2019)

https://campaign-image.com/zohocampaigns/492296000000450009_zc_v9_press_release_480x204_image.png

The Istanbul principles were approved in 2010 by a consensus of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to facilitate and strengthen the activities of various CSOs and ensure they work in line with global best practices.

As a statement of common values that guide the work of CSOs, with adaptability to diverse country contexts and approaches, these eight principles form the foundation for the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness and the Busan Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

Very importantly, the principles set standards that govern CSO development work around the globe and apply universally to the roles of CSOs and practices in all settings,including conflict situations and in their different spheres of work.
The 8 Istanbul Principles on development effectiveness include:

  •  Respect and promote human rights and social justice
  • Embody gender equality and equity while promoting women’s and girls’ rights
  • Focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership and participation.
  • Promote environmental sustainability
  • Practice transparency and accountability
  • Pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity
  • Create and share knowledge and commit to mutual understanding
  • Commit to realizing positive sustainable change.

In any part of the world,the civil society forms an integral part of government. They help bring development to the people and can be likened to a piece of machinery that steers the wheel of the government.

These principles therefore, serve as a guide to the activities of CSOs and enable members to check their own effectiveness and accountability with the aim of strengthening civic space and ensuring the government does not enact stringent laws that will clamp down the activities of CSOs in Nigeria and world over.