Senior management staff and adjunct researchers from higher institutions have traditionally been in charge of finding financing opportunities and submitting bids at CPED. Other employees (program officers and junior researchers) who have not been strengthened or taught in this area frequently have little or no participation into the proposal process. Writing a proposal takes a lot of time and effort, and putting the task solely on the shoulders of senior management has limited CPED to fewer grants and donors in recent years.
In 2020, the British Council in Nigeria contacted CPED about participating in the EU-funded Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) program, which aims to strengthen the system of civil society organizations, networks, and coalitions in order to improve their internal, external, and programmatic capabilities. The EU-ACT program team designed CPED’s training areas after the capacity and system assessments were completed. CPED had since participated in the following training:
- Communication Strategy, Media, IT and Social Networking
- Advocacy Strategy development
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
- Proposal Writing and Fundraising
- Equality, Diversity and Social Inclusion
- Project Cycle Management
- Financial Management
The junior research officers, program officers, and finance officers profited the most from these trainings. The trainings had an influence on around 7 employees in total.
Each training or capacity-building session was comprehensive, and the facilitators were seasoned professionals. The training locations were pleasant, and participants were given adequate opportunity to express themselves and benefit from others’ experience. The program officer or focal person for Edo state was also on the job, making sure that all of the participants were happy.
CPED has improved its internal structure as a result of the many EU-ACT capacity-building initiatives, and the junior officers’ (mentees’) capabilities have been significantly enhanced with new skills and knowledge. We now have all it takes (skills and knowledge) to attract bigger grants (both solicited and unsolicited) and donors (both local and international). These skills and knowledge were put to test when the top management directed the junior officers who attended the EU-ACT trainings to take full responsibility of the call for proposal by the British Council for all the CSOs trained in Adamawa, Edo and Rivers states. CPED through the junior officers wrote her proposal for the ‘development fund category’ and was amazed to be among the other CSOs that sailed through the final stages of the grant process and we hope to be able to access the grant soon. This is truly exceptional and a watershed moment for the organization.
Since the aforementioned success, CPED younger staff are now keen to seek out further funds and prepare strong proposals that will result in new projects and long-term viability for the organization.
Written by Osagie Aitokhuehi