Date: 5 September 2016
Pohnpei – Preparations made towards the hosting of the Pacific islands Forum Secretariat Leaders meeting in FSM and the PIANGO CSO Roundtable was an opportunity to revitalise NGOs in Pohnpei says Association of Pohnpei NGOs member, Heinrick Stevenson.
Mr Stevenson said that while the FSM Association of NGOs is recognised as the umbrella or platform for NGOs in the country, there was still a need for a coordinating body at state level in Pohnpei.
“So while community groups and NGOs were functioning at the local level in Pohnpei, there was no mechanism at state to coordinate these groups and NGOs’ efforts,” he said.
“However, when we realised that the Pacific leaders would be coming to FSM and Pohnpei especially we called all NGOs operating in Pohnpei to a meeting.”
He said at the meeting- the First Pohnpei Civil Society Forum, NGOs were informed of the planned Regional CSO Forum that would precede the Leaders meeting.
“We also did awareness raising on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the process that the Leaders meeting would take.”
“The conference was a collaboration between FSM Alliance of NGOs (FANGO) and the Pohnpei State Office of Social Affairs.”
“It was then that we established APONGO, an umbrella body for all NGOs in the state and one that serve as the point of contact between members, FANGO and the state government.”
Mr Stevenson said participants at the Pohnpei Civil Society forum in July talked about the issues faced in their different sectors.
“Some of these included women, youth, income generating projects, disability and senior citizens.”
“They were also very excited about the fact that they would be hosting the rest of the Pacific civil society here in Pohnpei for three days,” he said.
“Our government has specifically mandated the Department of Health to work with APONGO. This is for us a recognition that government realises and values the CSO contribute to development,” Mr Stevenson said.
The PIANGO- run Regional Civil Society Forum will take place on September 5 – 6 at the Pohnpei State Governor’s Conference Room and has been organised with support from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the European Union.
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