The Civil Society Network in Eastern Equatoria State is developing new strategies to secure additional funding and improve collaboration with state authorities. Their goal? To increase the number of civic engagement centres for smoother coordination of local activities.
A two-day forum to discuss such strategies, recently organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and facilitated by the Organization for Responsive Governance, a non-governmental organization, was attended by representatives of fifty civil society organizations.
“We need to find a better way to build partnerships with different authorities to share our concerns. Our mandate as civil society representatives is to pursue reforms by peaceful means,” said Rajaf Muhandis, Executive Director of the Organization for Responsive Governance, urging participants to be innovative in carrying out their duties.
Those in attendance believe that this first ever consultative forum will help prevent the duplication of activities.
“Your efforts support the government and the community, and state authorities are ready to work with you to overcome any difficulties you encounter,” said John Odongi Cleto, Coordinator for the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Eastern Equatoria State, while recognizing that many non-governmental actors find it hard to fund their activities.
“You need to be creative when you draft your proposals. If your suggested projects are open to the participation of other partners your chances of receiving funding will increase,” Mr. Odongi advised.
Over the next three months, forum participants will review recommendations made and monitor the implementation of planned activities.
Francis Jeremiah, a representative of the peacekeeping mission, emphasized the crucial role played by civil society activists.
“We consider the civil society sector as one of the cornerstones in improving the country. You are the voice of the voiceless, and by increasing the coordination of your activities we are hopeful that your objectives will be both supported and achieved,” he said.