Civic Leadership in Post- Pandemic Era

Social distancing, travel restrictions, lockdown, stay safe, these are now everyday phrases as the invisible enemy, COVID 19 has changed how people live their lives. The future of work is being redefined, particularly civic work which relies on support from donor communities to thrive. How is this period shaping you and what opportunities and challenges do you see?

On April 17, 2020, the U.S. Embassy Abuja partnered with YIAGA African to host a free webinar focused on Civic Leadership in the Post Pandemic Era. The U.S. Department of State webinar was moderated by Samson Itodo, Executive Director of YIAGA Africa and the Convener of the Not Too Young To Run movement. The conversation focused on the impact of COVID-19 on civic organizations and what leaders can do to sustain their organizations. It also explored the opportunities that the pandemic brings for civic society organizations.

The first speaker was Professor William Brown, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and philanthropy, The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Professor Brown spoke for 20 minutes on Organizational Leadership Post Pandemic. His talk provided insight into organizational management and strategy during times of crisis and uncertainty. He emphasized the importance of civic organizations understanding themselves, their capabilities and the environments in which they operate in.

The professor outlined steps to sustainability which include assessing your current situation; taking advantage of emergency relief; continuing fundraising; and cultivation and communicating with your constituents.

On tips to fundraising, Professor Brown shared six points, one of which was; “Be sensitive to current conditions, but do not stop fundraising and do not assume that donors will not want to support your good work.” Watch the recorded video for the other five tips and many other important points presented.

[Download Brown’s slides]

Dr. Amina Salihu, Senior Program officer at MacArthur Foundation was the second speaker in the nearly 2-hour webinar. Her presentation, titled “Civic Leadership as Strategic Thinking,” centered on the importance of strategic planning and what strategic leadership is or should be. She emphasized taking advantage of available technology — tagged the new oxygen — to connect and educate people.

While outlining post-pandemic strategic thinking leadership, Dr. Salihu’s first advice to CSO leaders is, “Be a solution bringer and not proposal bringers — money always follows good ideas.”

[Download Salihu’s slides]

The two speakers answered questions from the hundreds of viewers. When asked about holding leaders to account in the post-pandemic era, Salihu’s advice was to “follow the money” and ask the hard questions. She said CSOs must ensure that the resources get to the people.

Watch the video for the full conversation and the Q&A.

A pertinent question that echoed repeatedly during the conversation was, what will be the future of work post the COVID-19 pandemic era? The pandemic has no doubt led to a disruption of activities for both the private and public sectors. CSOs and well-meaning citizens are taking responsibility by using their platforms to amplify the directives of health institutions and also to mobilize humanitarian support for less privileged. No doubt, the pandemic will have grave outcomes for youth-led CSOs that rely on support from donor communities to thrive. This webinar on Civic Leadership in Post Pandemic Era addressed the concerns of CSOs and helped everyone prepare for the challenges ahead.

United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria. For official information visit http://ng.usembassy.gov

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