Strengthening Civic Space: CPRDS’s Partnership Capacity Enrichment Initiative in Northern Nigeria


The Center for Policy Research & Development Solutions (CPRDS) recently launched a crucial initiative in partnership with Yardadua Foundation aimed at bolstering the monitoring and reporting capabilities of partners dedicated to protecting open civic space in the North East and North West regions of Nigeria. This initiative reflects our commitment to fostering an environment where civil society can thrive, free from threats and restrictions.

The Challenge

In recent years, the civic space in Northern Nigeria has faced numerous challenges. These include threats to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, exacerbated by ongoing conflict, political instability, and restrictive policies. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and activists in these regions often operate under significant pressure, with limited resources and support to effectively monitor and report these threats.

The Initiative

Recognizing these challenges, CPRDS embarked on a Partnership Capacity Enrichment initiative to enhance the skills and capabilities of local CSOs, human rights defenders, and community leaders. The objective was to empower them with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively monitor, document, and report threats to civic space, thereby promoting accountability and protection of fundamental rights.

Key Activities

1. Capacity-Building Workshops

The initiative kicked off with a series of intensive capacity-building workshops in key cities across the North East and North West regions. These workshops focused on:

  • Understanding Civic Space: Sessions that provided a comprehensive overview of what constitutes civic space, its importance, and the various threats it faces.
  • Monitoring and Reporting Skills: Practical training on how to systematically monitor and document threats, including the use of digital tools and platforms for real-time reporting.
  • Safety and Security: Guidance on personal and organizational safety measures, ensuring that activists and CSOs can operate securely while conducting their work.

2. Development of Monitoring Frameworks

CPRDS collaborated with participants to develop tailored monitoring and reporting frameworks. These frameworks are designed to be adaptable to the unique contexts of different communities within the regions, allowing for consistent and accurate data collection and reporting. This collaborative process ensured that the frameworks were practical and directly applicable to the participants’ work.

3. Digital Tools Training

In today’s digital age, leveraging technology is essential for effective monitoring and reporting. CPRDS provided training on various digital tools and platforms that can enhance data collection, analysis, and dissemination. This included:

  • Mobile Reporting Apps: Training on apps that allow for real-time reporting of incidents and threats.
  • Data Security: Ensuring that the collected data is stored securely and that sensitive information is protected from unauthorized access.

4. Networking and Collaboration Forums

To foster a collaborative approach to protecting civic space, CPRDS facilitated networking and collaboration forums. These forums provided a platform for participants to share experiences, discuss challenges, and develop joint strategies for monitoring and reporting threats. By strengthening these networks, the initiative aimed to create a more united and resilient civil society sector.

Outcomes and Impact

The Partnership Capacity Enrichment initiative has already yielded significant positive outcomes:

  • Enhanced Skills and Knowledge: Participants have gained critical skills and knowledge that enable them to more effectively monitor and report threats to civic space.
  • Improved Reporting Mechanisms: The development and implementation of tailored monitoring frameworks and digital tools have streamlined the reporting process, making it more efficient and impactful.
  • Strengthened Networks: The networking forums have led to stronger collaboration and solidarity among CSOs, human rights defenders, and community leaders, enhancing their collective ability to protect civic space.
  • Increased Awareness and Advocacy: Enhanced monitoring and reporting have resulted in increased awareness of the threats to civic space, both locally and internationally, driving advocacy efforts for better protection and accountability.

Moving Forward

CPRDS remains committed to supporting and strengthening the capacity of civil society in Northern Nigeria. We will continue to provide technical assistance, training, and resources to ensure that the progress made through this initiative is sustained and built upon. By empowering local actors and fostering a collaborative approach, we can help create a more open, secure, and resilient civic space in the region.

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