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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


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An Eye on the Next Generation of Civil Society Leaders

“By the end of this programme, I believe I will have enough knowledge, skills and relationships to set up a structure that would work for better gender equality in Africa.” These are the words of Kadiatou Keita, a recruit in WACSI’s internship programme.

Grooming the next generation of civic leaders has been an essential aspect of WACSI’s mandate since 2008. The programme has graduated 29 young West Africans who are making significant contributions to civil society and have become engaged citizens and change agents within their respective spheres of influence.

This year, with support from the Ford Foundation, the internship programme recruited three young West African women: Ellen Sia Wongo from Sierra Leone, Khady Ndour from Senegal and Kadiatou Keita from Mali.

These extraordinary young women believe that their internship will be a career and life changing opportunity for them, opening them up to new experiences, cultures, challenges and learning opportunities.

“This programme means so much to me,” says Ellen Wongo, “it will empower me with knowledge about the diversity of civil society in the region and give me a great experience that will help me contribute my quota to civil society.”

“This experience will strengthen my leadership skills and enhance my capacity to respond to the challenges facing civil society in West Africa,” adds Khady Nduor.

Khady, Kadiatou and Ellen are excited about the prospects of what they can achieve when they return to their home countries at the end of their internship. Like these 3 ladies, many young leaders have come through the WACSI internship programme with many more to follow.

Interns who have participated in the Next Generation Leadership Programme have come from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and Zimbabwe.

They are now country directors, department heads and programme officers in prominent CSOs and private sector institutions across the region, leading the way in their communities, cities and countries as exemplary young leaders and citizens.

For more information on the internship programme, contact

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Resource Centre

The Institute has a resource centre that is open to civil society actors in the region. It serves as a library of civil society documents, research reports and edited volumes that are accessible to both individuals and organisations. The Institute has partnered the Foundation Centre to provide online learning resources and a database of grant giving institutions in the United States of America.

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