Tighten Collaboration with CSOs to address Unconstitutional Change of Governments and Terrorism in West Africa – WACSI Executive Director Calls on Peace and Security Council of the AU

Tighten Collaboration with CSOs to address Unconstitutional Change of Governments and Terrorism in West Africa – WACSI Executive Director Calls on Peace and Security Council of the AU

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[Accra – 23 September 2022] – The Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, has called on the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) to strengthen collaboration with civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa, to propel efforts of countering the menace of terrorism in the region.  

Nana Afadzinu explained that over the years, CSOs had strived for a democratic and peaceful West Africa. However, they were yet to achieve optimum results due to inadequate platform and resources.    

Some of the initiatives being taken by the CSOs, she noted, included the CIVICUS Monitor, which presented accurate, up-to-date data on civic freedoms, particularly on the freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and showed the continent’s progress.  

She also mentioned “WACSI, which provides data on West Africa as well as the West Africa Democracy and Solidarity Network, which provides a platform for civil society to mobilise around the promotion and consolidation of democracy in West Africa and reverse its retrogression. 

 “The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) also champions capacity-strengthening work for community groups on terrorism awareness, preparedness, and response,” she said.  

The WACSI Executive Director was speaking at the Inaugural Annual Consultative meeting between the PSC and CSOs held virtually by the AU on 14 September 2022  where she represented CSOs in West Africa. 

She decried the disturbing rate at which terrorist groups and activities were increasingly expanding in the region, especially in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin region, and some of the coastal areas along the Gulf of Guinea.  

She also bemoaned the democratic backsliding on the continent, noting that the region continued to suffer democratic retrogressions. “One key area of concern is the appetite for tenure elongation, as recently witnessed in three West African countries, and the threats of unconstitutional change of government, with growing fears of attempts by other Member States to adopt this trend,” she added. 

These impediments, she indicated, had contributed to fractured and constrained civic space, lack of social cohesion, manipulation of electoral processes, and violent dissentions between citizens and political actors. 

She noted that while it was commendable to see the Economic Community of West african States (ECOWAS) make bold steps to drive democracy in the region over the years, trust in the leadership of the West African body was beginning to wane, which required immediate interventions.  

 ”Thankfully, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government September 2021 extra-ordinary session, called for the review of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good governance to address these challenges.    

 She indicated that the “Livingstone Formula” also made a direct call for the Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) as a consultative organ of the AU to seek civil society’s active participation in promoting peace, security, and stability. 

 “This engagement with the PSC is a demonstration that this call is being heeded, and I commend the PSC and the ECOSOCC for enabling this. I trust this will continue,” she added. 

 Nana Afadzinu also called on the PSC to partner with CSOs to raise public awareness on the imperatives of democratic governance on the continent, and work on the review of the African Charter on Democracy and Good governance as well as promote the African Peer Review Mechanism. 

 “As highlighted in the Accra declaration on unconstitutional changes of government, the PSC can work with civil society to strengthen and deepen the participation of citizens on governance issues to address their legitimate concerns—promoting constitutionalism and not just constitutional change,” she added. 

The Executive Director of WACSI emphasised that AU organ could benefit from briefings from CSOs regularly on the governance, peace and security context in the region and access accurate data from credible civil society assessment portals like the Afrobarometer and CIVICUS monitor.  

She added that the Council could also work closely with civil society to strengthen post-conflict confidence-building and support reconciliation processes in war-affected regions. 

She again called on the PSC to support CSOs in their fight for strong democracy and peace by encourage resourcing from African philanthropists to support political and economic governance, social justice, and human rights interventions on the continent. 

She stressed that CSOs could provide capacity strengthening and technical assistance support to member states to develop programmes that engage more on non-electoral elements of democracy including accountability and access to information, independent media and justice, and relationships between duty bearers and rights holders.    

“The PSC can facilitate this,” she indicated, while calling for a collaboration between the security council and West African CSOs to scale terrorism awareness and response initiatives within the various member countries.   

 “This would also help strengthen more citizen-centred and timely response mechanisms,” she maintained. 

Nana Afadzinu who represented CSOs in West Africa at the inaugural meeting, emphasised the readiness of CSOs to work collaboratively with the AU through its organs like the ECOSOCC and the PSC to propel the achievement of the Agenda 2063 goals for Africa’s development. 

 

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.