Over the month of July, the West African civic space has been very dynamic. Many of its actors undertook key actions to improve the lives of citizens. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in The Gambia were particularly active by championing the fight against fraud and corruption. Across the region, several CSOs were engaged in different advocacy actions. In Guinea Bissau for example, they advocated for better usage of public funds while in Mauritania, public authorities are being called upon by CSOs to fight against the obstruction of free movement of people.
The most remarkable action undertaken by a CSO was recorded in Cameroon where civic actors poured onto the streets to urge the government to guarantee the safety of human rights activists. These tensions reoccurred amidst the current insecurity following the uprising in the anglophone region.
On the other hand, Liberia witnessed a huge setback in the civic sphere after the government banned any form of unauthorised gathering. This is indirectly a ban on the freedom of expression and assembly that are considered as the pillars of democracy. However, some CSOs and fifty district assemblies in Ghana received major support through training on how to use social media to provide accountability and transparency over governmental projects. This support was provided by Care International, OXFAM, and ISODEC.
Considering the diverse response to CSOs’ actions across the region, it is important to consider innovative ways of empowering them to adapt to the contemporary challenges facing the West African region.
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