Local NGOs joining the “Giants”’ Table

By Lusanda Magwape, from Dream Factory Foundation, South Africa, and CIVICUS delegation’s member at the EC Partnership Forum 2018.

lusanda1When I received the email that I would be attending the EC Partnership Forum in Brussels, I was both shocked and super excited. I remember thinking when I applied: “yes, I could be part of the five, why not?” So, when I was selected, I took that “I can do the impossible” mindset with me to the Forum. As a first-time attendee of a European Commission event, this colossal organization became an approachable person who I could relate with. From all the speeches, I sensed a genuine intention to truly strengthen its partnerships with civil society and local authorities; as was the theme of the forum. The fact that two more Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) were signed at the end of the Forum, really sealed the deal of their intentions to grow these partnerships.

Being a CIVICUS representative, I also kept thinking, how does a locally based NGO such as ours position itself in a space of ‘giants’? I think my biggest take-away, in keeping with the principals of the SDGs, was that all of our voices matter if we are going to realize a sustainable and equitable future for all. Since the forum represented civil society leaders from different levels of influence and scope, recommendations such as “the EU needs to have different modalities of funding for an enabling environment” and “the EU needs to push for national SDG implementation plans that are people-centered at all economic levels”, came out very strongly.

With this in mind, I would therefore like to propose a collaborative event with the CIVICUS Youth Working Group to host an event for youth-led or organizations that work with youth people to discuss how young people can be at the forefront of leading activities not only to understand but to realize the SDGs within their local environments; as well as to provide information on opportunities available to support these initiatives.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to CIVICUS World Alliance secretariat for making this opportunity available to members. Thank you for tirelessly working towards creating real value for members and for civil society globally. We are eternally grateful. I pray that you will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Get to know more about the five CIVICUS members who shaped CIVICUS Delegation at the EC’s Partnership Forum.