The first cohort of the Learning Exchange Program (LEP) under the Ford Foundation-supported Civic Space Resource Hub (CSR-Hub) Project has commenced. The project kicked off in May 2023, pairing eight (8) Nigerian organizations together for a week-long experiential learning and mentoring experience on non-profit organizational management. The LEP initiative is a major component of the CSR-Hub’s Governance Pillar. It is divided into five segments: Organizational Management, Administration, Internal Governance, Organizational Policy Development, and Policy Enforcement.
Under the LEP, well-established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been operating for over a decade are paired together with non-profit start-ups or relatively new organizations under a mentoring partnership. This inaugural cohort of the LEP program consists of four mentor organizations and four mentee organizations meticulously selected from five out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, ensuring compatibility between the mentee organizations’ needs and the expertise of the mentor organizations. All mentor organizations possess extensive organizational management experience and resilience in defending the civic space, and are willing to devote an entire week to offering their wealth of knowledge to the mentee organizations assigned to them.
The eight participating organizations comprise NGOs, community-based groups, youth networks, and grassroots movements. They have all successfully completed the four learning phases of the CSR-Hub’s Governance Pillar, where they gained an in-depth understanding of their obligations to regulatory authorities; benefited from personalized handholding sessions on strengthening internal governance processess, and are now applying the knowledge gained to improve their day-to-day operations. Through this last lap of capacity building, the mentees, in particular, will have an opportunity to observe and acquire firsthand experience regarding how to manage an effective non-profit organization. It is expected that this learning approach will foster a culture of cooperation and collaboration within civil society, while simultaneously strengthening the institutional capacity and resilience of participating organizations.
As the Learning Exchange Program kicks off, Spaces for Change | S4C is excited about the potential it holds for empowering civil society organizations in their quest for excellence. Through this program, emerging organizations will gain valuable knowledge, refine their organizational strategies, and establish a strong foundation for future growth and impact. The mentorship and collaboration fostered by the LEP program will contribute to a more vibrant and cohesive civil society ecosystem. We look forward to witnessing the positive outcomes of this transformative initiative, as it builds a stronger, more resilient civil society that promotes and facilitates an open civic space.