END OF INTERNSHIP REPORT by Kouakou Bela Emile
From Politicians to Journalists not to mention Scholars, the concept “Civil Society” has been defined each according to his understanding of what it implies or should imply. No matter controversies carried by the concept, basically related to its implications and its cover fields, Civil Society has become an important part of development actors involved in the process of making and implementing development policies. Don Eberly4 will consider it as “the ultimate Third Way”.In Africa and specifically in West Africa, the role of Civil Society in development processes is convincing. Vis-à-vis overwhelming armed conflicts, increasing poverty rate, food crisis, and other social scourges, Civil Society Organisations have proved effective contributions in improving populations’ leaving conditions and bringing about peaceful and sustainable development.
Yet, outstanding challenges are considerable and require well trained CSOs which will be able to shape public life and effectively and efficiently influence policies.
It is in this respect that was created the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in 2005 by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The core mandate of the Institute is to strengthen both Institutional and operational capacities of CSOs in the sub-region. WACSI, as a growing Institute, has gone through its way and after five years of effective operations the Institute seems to bear its name as a dedicated center for empowering West African CSOs.
INTERNSHIP REPORT BY OLALEKAN MICHAEL-AINA
African civil society organizations (CSOs) form a sector that has become increasingly important over the past few decades in terms of its participation in the development and governance processes. Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Africa and the world are at the forefront of calls for effective policies, good governance, sustainable development, peace and transparency in state affairs. The role of civil society is to bring people‟s concerns and make the voices of the marginalized heard in the social and political arenas.
Public agenda is shaped by the civil society which in turn influences public policies. CSOs are considered as more flexible, innovative, and cost effective than either government or aid agencies because they are poverty-oriented, grassroots focused, and are able to reach the most marginalized and affected segment of society easily, thus promoting the values of human rights, social justice, accountability that makes democracy and development meaningful. In addition, they hold governments and multi-lateral organizations to account for their policies, programmes and actions.