Promoting Social Accountability in West Africa
From the 03-05 December 2018, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) organised the second phase of a Regional Shared Learning Workshop on Social Accountability in West Africa for forty-five (45) CSOs, in Guinea-Conakry.
This gave the civil society actors a platform to share their experiences implementing social accountability initiatives in the region. In February 2017, WACSI, Ford Foundation, and OSIWA organised a first workshop that attracted twenty-nine (29) civil society grant partners of Ford Foundation and OSIWA civil society activists from 9 West African countries to share experiences and lessons from pioneering social accountability initiatives in their respective countries.
A key product that emanated from the workshop was the development of social accountability in West Africa guidebook that was designed to be utilised as a learning tool and a reference document to scale up existing initiatives, which was later used by participants in the second phase, to highlight perspectives on the most effective strategies in achieving a socially accountable West Africa. The second day of the workshop consisted of a learning exchange field visit to PCUD and Balai Citoyen Guinee. Here, participants learnt from practical experience-sharing on the methodologies and approaches these organisations apply daily in order to achieve Social Accountability in Guinea.
The Executive Director of Balai Citoyen, Sekou highlighted Balai citizen’s resource mobilisation plan that enables them to cater for their activities and execute them independently without external influence. “Our ability to internally mobilise our own funds through our membership annual dues of 37$ reduces our dependence on donor funding,’’ Sekou revealed. “This enables us to run our activities solely in line with our mandate which keeps us focused in our agenda for social accountability”, he added. The 3-day workshop gave the civil society actors present a practical platform to better understand the mechanisms that have been utilised in the region to exact public accountability through the active participation of ordinary citizens and civic groups.