As part of a CIDA-funded consortium of Canadian and Nigerian organizations, ACIC partnered with the Non-Governmental Organization Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), a coalition based out of Calabar, Nigeria.
One Sky, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based out of Smithers, BC, brought together 5 Canadian organizations and 5 Nigerian organizations to work on building the capacity of NGOs in Cross River State, Nigeria.
ACIC's part in this consortium was to assist with the capacity development of NGOCE. This coalition has been working together to raise environmental awareness in Cross River State, Nigeria, since the mid-90s, but was without the administrative structures appropriate to a membership-based organization. ACIC partnered with NGOCE over three years and shared in the development of guidelines, including membership policies, bylaws, and governance structures; and jointly delivered capacity building workshops.
In January 2003 ACIC visited Calabar to meet consortium partners and to begin work with NGOCE. Together, the partners travelled around Cross River State, gaining first-hand knowledge of the projects of the Nigerian partners. ACIC began working with NGOCE to build stakeholder confidence and to determine stakeholder needs. To initiate the project, NGOCE held a workshop for stakeholders to discuss what services NGOCE could provide to members, what members' roles and responsibilities would be, and to put together a team to start working on NGOCE's governance structures. The workshop was attended by over 30 different organizations and received very positive responses. There is strong stakeholder buy-in and NGOCE's future development into a strong coalition is assured with all parties continuing to work together.
In May, 2003, Chief Bassey Archibong, NGOCE's Executive Director at the time, travelled to Conception Bay, NFLD to participate in ACIC's Annual General Meeting & Symposium. ACIC had the privilege of having Bassey present a workshop on "Serving the World's Poor, Peacefully"; while in Canada, ACIC's members also had the opportunity to meet with Chief Bassey and hear about the work that NGOCE is doing in Cross River State.
In 2004, ACIC worked with NGOCE on capacity building initiatives. Chief Bassey Archibong, Executive Director of NGOCE and Jennifer Sloot, ED of ACIC put together a workshop on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation. The five-day workshop was attended by more than 40 people and was met with positive response..
While in Nigeria, Ms. Sloot also delivered a workshop on "Building Capacity to Influence Change: Ecotourism and Policy Development". The workshop brought together a variety of stakeholders from both private and public sectors to discuss ecotourism in Cross River State and how Civil Society Organizations can influence policy development. More than 30 people from the public and private sectors attended this workshop and had the opportunity to learn more about ecotourism and how CSOs from other parts of the world are influencing policy development.
In March, Chief Bassey Archibong and Jennifer Sloot designed a workshop on Building Effective Coalitions, which they presented at the CIVICUS World Assembly in Gaborone, Botswana. The Assembly hosted 700 delegates from more than 100 different countries. The workshop was received favourable comments from participants and both Bassey and Jennifer had the opportunity to network with and learn from the many delegates at the Assembly.
In a country listed by Transparency International as the most corrupt in the world (in 2000), it is encouraging to see civil society working together and building a network based on mutual support and assistance.
Benefits of this work to ACIC and its members include:
- Giving ACIC and members an opportunity to learn about CIDA’s Bilateral Programs and how they work;
- Practical experience working within a consortium. One of the areas of growth listed in ACIC’s Three-Year Strategic Plan is the development of consortiums. This project presents an excellent opportunity to see a consortium form and develop over a couple of years;
- Increasing international cooperation expertise of ACIC staff members;
- Increasing funding for ACIC through consultation work;
- Developing partnerships overseas, with which ACIC members can network and partner with; and,
- Learning new techniques for strengthening ACIC, from organizations in other countries.