Twenty-four (24) Civil Society leaders have successfully graduated from the 2018 – 2019 STAR Ghana Foundation (SGF) Leadership Development Programme (LDP) for Civil Society Organization (CSOs) in Ho. The year-long training programme which ran from December 2018 to September 2019 was delivered by Nkum Associates, a renowned management consulting firm that is a leader in organization and leadership development worldwide.
The LDP was used to develop important competencies of beneficiary CSOs with the aim of increasing their legitimacy, mandate and sustainability in line with the Foundation’s strategy to empower CSOs to thrive and lead transformational and sustainable national development in the context of the changing aid and development landscape in Ghana.
According to the Programmes Director of STAR Ghana Foundation, Mr. Ibrahim Tanko, “the Foundation recognizes that it cannot realize its vision without a strong civil society and new cadres of leaders in Ghana”. The LDP was therefore expected to ensure a vibrant civil society that is engaging constructively with government and contributing to transformational and lasting solutions to Ghana’s development challenges.
Madam Eunice Racheal Agbenyadzi, GESI and Capacity Building Manager at STAR Ghana Foundation noted that the LDP was in support of raising a critical mass of leaders with the capacity to navigate complexities in leading teams and organizations for sustainability. The topic of civil society sustainability remains the centre of discussion, and by investing in leadership that manages systems and complexities, civil society is enabled to respond to sustainability issues and demands better. She noted that Nkum Associates is the best for leadership and organizational development because they have demonstrated capacity to lead the LDP She noted that the LDP ran in 3 modules – leading self, leading others and leading change in large systems which “enabled participants to become more aware of themselves and deploy their presence through functional relationships in leading effectively”. She was convinced that participants were adequately supported by their peers through case consultations to resolve leadership challenges.
Beneficiary organizations of the 2018/19 LDP which were carefully selected from the Foundation’s grantees nationwide include: AWLA, ICDP, SILDEP, Songtaba, CEWEFIA, Odekro PMO, SAVE-Ghana, RISE GHANA, CEDEP, PTSIF, iWatch Africa, CALID, CDA Ghana, ASUDEV, SNG, SMAid International, and VEReF.
At end of the training, participants were confident that the new skills and the awareness acquired would enable them to steer their organizations to sustainability and make lasting impacts on their communities and Ghana as a whole. Perhaps the best assurance to STAR Ghana Foundation is captured in the views of representatives of three beneficiary organizations. According to Tina, the representative of Volta Educational Renaissance Foundation (VEReF), her new awareness of “agility and ‘complex adaptive systems’ would enable VEReF to achieve sustainability”. To CEWEFIA, the new knowledge would ensure that CSOs are sustainable, so “leaders would not be afraid to leave or exit when the applause is still on since their organizations can thrive without them due to their good leadership.” In the views of Cosmos Kwame Akorli, the Programmes Manager at the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), he was “adequately enabled to help AWLA to thrive and impact the voiceless the organization exists to assist”.
About the 2018/19 Leadership Development Programme (LDP)
According to Reverend John Nkum, the Leadership Development Programme seeks to raise leaders for today who embrace multiple realities, difference, minority perceptions, who give value to what is not routine and bring into their leadership the concept of wholism, where every part and segment of society is enabled to grow and become their best. This is a little different from the traditional leadership programs that seek to reinforce hierarchy, authority, power and direction, the paradigms that traditional leadership models tend to use, pushing forward the leader as the agent of change rather than a facilitator who enables others to participate in the leadership act. So, the LDP concept is that leadership is a collective process that happens in the spaces between individuals and societal structures, where everybody plays a leadership and followership roles depending on the event being enacted. That is the dominant paradigm of the LDP.
He noted that,the group of participants that STAR Ghana Foundation assembled from the grant partners – executives and high-level officers and directors – provided the opportunity to work with practitioners. So, “a lot of the work we did in the LDP was experiential learning and not theoretical discourse. It was to enable people to practice and embrace difference, and multiple realities, how to be whole and function from that paradigm of wholism where the whole is different from the sum of its parts”. He noted that the program was helpful in enabling leaders to shift from the old perceptions and paradigms to the current situation where participants reported being able to use themselves as instruments of leadership rather than the positions they occupy.
He was very optimistic that participants would use themselves to bring change not only to the organizations they work in but also as civil society as a whole where people in civil society will begin to function from that perspective of being inclusive in other to allow others to flourish. Rev Nkum indicated that as the STAR Ghana program ends and results in the creation of the STAR Ghana Foundation, Nkum Associates hopes to be part of the transition process and the establishment of proper functioning civil society structures capable of pushing governance, transparency, and accountability forward.