At least, 780 Chief Executive Officers,  Executive Directors, team leaders of youth Civil Society Organisations, social enterprises and community-based organizations have been exposed to strategic thinking, organizational management, and program development in a post-pandemic era during a webinar hosted by Yiaga Africa and United States Embassy. 

The webinar facilitated by Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo had young and old leaders interact with experts on how to respond to a pandemic like COVID-19 by building solidarity with their communities and planning effectively for the post-pandemic era. 

According to Itodo, the webinar hosted with the support of the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy, was aimed at promoting strategic planning on organizational management and program development with Executive Directors, Team leaders of youth civic organizations, social enterprises, and community-based organizations.  The goal according to him was to get the leaders to think of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their work and how to mitigate the harsh impact of the pandemic on CSO groups. 

The discussion was led by Prof. William A. Brown is a professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and Dr. Amina Salihu who is Senior Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation Africa Office. 

During the presentation by Prof. William A. Brown, urged these leaders to evaluate their financial situation and organizational risks while evaluating demand for their services in the short and long term. Similarly, he encouraged organisations to reach out to their constituents saying “inform your constituents about how your organization is doing and how you are adjusting to serve them. Assure them your organization is assessing and adapting to the situation”. 

According to him, “if your mission had purpose before COVID 19, it will still have today” thus it is necessary to consider funding that will meet the needs of your community during this crucial period. He encouraged community engagement, creation of awareness, and showing commitment and support during this period.

In relation to organizational sustainability, Professor Brown who serves as the Director of the Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy, tasked organisations to consistently reach out to donors with valuable proposals during this challenging time. “Over communicate with your donors. Pick up the phone and call to check on them. Ask if you can help serve them. Thank them for their support”, he said. 

Also, Dr. Amina Salihu, a Senior Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation Africa Office during her own presentation called on young Chief Executive Officers to wear their strategic thinking caps and come up with transformative agenda this period.  According to Dr. Salihu, strategic thinking is a process that defines the way people think about, assess, view, and create the future for themselves and others. This process must bring forth solutions rather than just proposals as money always follows good ideas.

She stressed the importance of developing crises management tools while also encouraging the use of technology to connect and educate the community. She also highlighted the importance of holding the government to account during this period and countering fake news and disinformation. 

Dr Amina who was a gender technical team member, for the Nigerian government Vision 20 2020 process, and for the review of the National Gender Policy for Nigeria, 2006 and a gender strategy for Nigeria’s National Assembly said, there is also need to pay attention to gender based violence referring to the United Nations #Heforsheathome campaign. “Radio stations are offering psychosocial support to women who are locked in with abusers”, she said.  

The webinar is available to be watched here: