Grassroots organisations are champions of community-led solutions and need better access to fundraising says Joseph Kobla Wemakor
Grassroots organisations all across the world suffer from the lack of international visibility and find it increasingly difficult to access donors and fundraising opportunities. Joseph Kobla Wemakor, Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), discusses the barriers to fundraising and what can be done to increase their reach and effectiveness.
The challenges of self-funding grassroots organisations.
Self-funding a small-scale, youth-led organisation like HRRG is a daunting task. As young professionals coming from diverse backgrounds, who are juggling their professional life while remaining equally committed to achieving a good cause, we’re unable to sustain ourselves financially. A large number of us are still pursuing higher education while remaining dedicated to our activism, which in itself is a huge challenge considering the goals we have chosen for ourselves.
We’re simply unable to raise enough funds to boost operations of our organisation. Unlike International non-profits who have access to a variety of funding opportunities, grassroots organisations like ours struggle to maintain a constant income flow.
We need to be able to access funding support from donors, grants, crowdfunding and be recognised as organisations doing important work to boost our impact and outreach.
Why is grassroots fundraising important?
Grassroots organisations focus on community-based initiatives that address localized and specific problems. International projects backed by local grassroots organizations can quickly gain momentum on the local level because they are executed by local actors. Moreover, larger organizations could benefit from the expertise of grassroots initiatives that are in touch with the issues and people. These groups are oftentimes the first responders to crises. They are critical witnesses to which solutions are better fit to each community’s context.
The power of collaboration.
Partnerships and collaborations prove to be fruitful when grassroots organizations and international non-profits come together to address a need and context. Grassroots groups like ours understand the multifaceted contexts and issues that could deter progress or stall innovative solutions, while also creating a sense of trust in a community by authenticating the potential benefits of an innovation, as well as identifying flaws, and iterations required.
Bottom-up and top-down partnerships can help create temporary housing, improve responses to human rights and climate change, or simply support local initiatives working on sustainable development. Working with partners on the ground can provide opportunities to test the transferability of an innovation, in short: duplicating or adapting an innovation to fit the needs of another country with a similar localized problem.
What action is needed to make fundraising accessible?
In order to meet the challenges placed in our way, organisations HRRG like need even greater support. Self-funding can only get us so far. It’s time for the Civil Society Organizations, the Non-Governmental Organizations, International Organizations and the United Nations to step up, collaborate and support local organisations like ours to help us extend our project across the sixteen regions of Ghana, and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Joseph Kobla Wemakor is a dynamic and prolific writer of no mean repute, a blogger and an ardent freelance online reporter/editor,a staunch human rights activist and a youth leader/advocate.
He doubles as the Founder cum Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), the Convenor of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Youth Sub-Platform in Ghana as well as the Task Force Member (National Focal Person) of the African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development (ANYL4SD) in Ghana.
Joseph is also the Head of Media and Communications at PLO Lumumba Foundation Ghana Chapter and the Head of Public Relations for the Greater Accra Regional Youth Network (GARYN).