The CLEEN Foundation has been granted special consultative status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations in New York, United States of America. The consultative status will enable CLEEN Foundation to actively engage with ECOSOC and subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat programs, funds, and agencies in several ways. The recognition provides ample opportunity for the CLEEN Foundation to regularly participate in the work of ECOSOC based on the nature and scope of work of the organization. Also, the relationship enables ECOSOC or one of its bodies to seek expert information or advice from the CLEEN Foundation concerning matters in which the organization possesses special competence. Additionally, CLEEN Foundation has been allowed to register and participate in events, conferences, and activities of the United Nations, and organizations in general and to sit as an observer at public meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, the Human Rights Council and, under certain conditions, the General Assembly and other United Nations intergovernmental bodies.
In furtherance of the responsibilities and obligations accompanying the consultative status with ECOSOC of the United Nations, CLEEN Foundation is launching a Community of Practice Action Plan (CP-APS) for Civil Society Sustainability in Africa to mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of CSOs in the continent.
Several CSOs in Africa are facing a critical threat from the Covid-19 pandemic due to funding constraints which have forced several organizations to downsize and lay-off staff at a time when the work of non-profits has become critical. The stark reality is that there has been an immediate and significant reduction in most civil society organizations’ cash liquidity which has affected operational mandates and work deliverables. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ability of non-profits to respond to immediate and longer-term needs is fast reducing. Some of the challenges affecting organizations in the civil space include liquidity crisis, downsizing of operational capacity, financial and operational risks and a shortfall in revenue as donor grants are dwindling drastically.
There is therefore the need for new ideas and innovative solutions through harnessing respective areas of expertise and capacities across the private sector, governments, and civil society to overcome the challenges of the global health crises on non-profit organizations in the continent. It is against this backdrop that the CLEEN Foundation is unveiling a platform for continent-wide collaboration, sharing of innovative ideas, and identification of creative solutions amongst CSOs in sub-Saharan Africa using its sustainability model that has supported the work of the organization in the last 22 years. The capacity building and sustainability project will commence with a pilot in Nigeria which will be extended to West Africa and the entire continent. The objectives of the CP-APS are to:
a) Promote a platform for cross-sector collaboration amongst CSOs in Africa on sustainability and resilience amidst the Covid-19 pandemic;
b) Provide a platform for capacity building of CSOs on emerging operational trends within the challenges faced by CSOs in their operations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic;
c) Develop a community of practice sustainability action plan for CSOs in Africa leveraging on areas of mutual interest and expertise using cutting edge technology to amplify the voices of non-profits.
As CSOs strive to be at the frontlines of responding to the rapidly escalating humanitarian and developmental needs around the African continent and the globe within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, the opportunity presented by the consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC is a welcome development. Therefore, the proposed synergy between Africa based CSOs to leverage on each other to catalyze more targeted responses to developmental needs and sustainability within the continent is a step in the right direction. CLEEN Foundation considers this opportunity as unique and advantageous towards amplifying its developmental efforts on a broader scale and in furtherance of the mission and vision of the organization.
The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement and Education in Nigeria) is a non-governmental organization established in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security, and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programs, and publications, in partnership with government, civil society, and the private sector. CLEEN Foundation has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights based in Banjul, The Gambia. Also, the CLEEN Foundation is currently a member of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) representing Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria. In 2019, CLEEN Foundation was awarded the first human rights award instituted by the National Human Rights Commission. The CLEEN Foundation is also the first Africa-based organization to win the MacArthur Foundation’s creative and effective institutions award in 2006. Other awards and recognitions for the organization include the human rights advocacy and partnership award 2019 from the University of Lagos, the Limit Breakers’ advocacy award for peace and social justice, 2016, the National Information Technology Development Agency and NIHILENT e-governance awards for best e-governance project and best NGO in ICT deployment in 2016.
May God bless Africa and heal our continent.
Benson Olugbuo, PhD
Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation