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How can CSOs leverage on the opportunities and technologies of today to enhance individual capacities and to influence the expansion and effectiveness of their initiatives? How can Africa’s human rights, social justice institutions and activists begin the process of prioritizing, planning, developing and, where appropriate, act together to confront restrictions, strengthen human rights culture and organisational capacity across the sub-region? Ford Foundation’s new grant award to SPACES FOR CHANGE will support the establishment of a regional resource hub to support and strengthen civil society organizations in response to the closing civic space in West Africa.

Among other things, the Hub will deliver training, technical support, customized services and didactic convenings to enhance the individual and organizational capacities of civic actors, coalitions, networks, and alliances to better manage internal and external challenges affecting their governance, compliance and digital security. It will also seek to build the capacity of local civil society orgnizations (CSOs) and partners to push back against digital repression, especially the infringements on digital rights, data privacy, and related civil liberties by state and non-state actors.

Through these interventions, it is hoped that an uptake in regulatory compliance, risk aversion, governance and controls resulting from the strengthened capacity, understanding, knowledge and operations of local and national organizations will attract greater respect for the sector from private and public stakeholders and noticeable improvements in the quality and impact of human rights and social justice interventions in the sub-region. In addition, the facilitation and coordination of structured internships, exchanges, fellowships and residencies between groups bridge the disconnect between old and experienced voices while fostering a new culture of collaboration, reciprocal relations and beneficial relationships among peers and different constituents of the civil society.

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