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Location: Sierra Leone

Strengthening West African civil society engagement

A strong West African civil society will contribute meaningfully to the successful design and implementation of development policies.

However, CSOs in West Africa are operating with serious challenges, some of which include, low capacity to carry out their mandate fully, the lack of recognition and respect from governments and the unavailability of financial resources to develop innovative approaches to regional development challenges.

This project aims to strengthen West African civil society through the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) and to secure WACSOF’s place at the core of development in the region by creating a path towards political renewal and the deepening of democracy. The project is implemented in partnership with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and WACSOF.

WACSOF is the official interface for West African civil society with the ECOWAS Commission in promoting regional development and integration in West Africa. The Forum’s purpose is to galvanize civil society and facilitate constructive partnership with state authorities, political parties and ECOWAS. However, a needs assessment conducted by WACSI in 2008 and in 2014 identified a number of challenges preventing it from achieving its mandate to facilitate civil society voice in addressing regional development challenges/priorities.

The project consists of three main components:

  • capacity development of WACSOF and its members; 
  • development of a regional agenda and action plan identifying major development challenges for West Africa
  • improved engagement between West African CSOs and ECOWAS