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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


CSLI Fellows and Faculty Members with Prof Pat Utomi (left), Prof Esi Sutherland (Second left), Justice Emile Short(middle) and Nana Asantewa Afadzinu (right) (photo: )

CSLI Fellows and Faculty Members with Prof Pat Utomi (left), Prof Esi Sutherland (Second left), Justice Emile Short(middle) and Nana Asantewa Afadzinu (right)

WACSI Shapes the Future of Civil Society in West Africa

In response to the leadership deficit in West Africa, WACSI continues to invest in developing the competencies of the next generation of leaders within the Region. The Institute believes that by offering this opportunity to the upcoming generation, a major mandate of strengthening civil society is achieved.

WACSI, with support from the Ford Foundation and Rockdale Foundation, equipped 18 young West Africans from 11 countries to better serve the needs of civil society in their respective countries through its Civil Society Leadership Institute (CSLI). The training was held at WACSI in Accra from May 8 to 19, 2017.

CSLI is a leadership training programme for middle-level civil society actors in West Africa that seeks to build a stronger indigenous civil society sector. It aims to equip them with the requisite skills to effectively enhance their communities in their various spheres of influence.

“The CSLI has met my expectations and enabled me to know more about leadership and to become a better leader. This training will have a ripple effect on my organisation and enable us to connect efficiently with other people at both the regional and international level,” said Nandi Denise Zulu, a participant from Sierra Leone.

The CSLI is comprised of two components, training and mentoring, seeking to enhance the impact of civil society in West Africa through effective leadership. Its approach encourages learning through practical application and work, allowing participants to identify and fully utilise their skills to achieve their true potential.

A two-week leadership seminar, the training block of the programme, was on the theme “Social Change Through Transformational Leadership- A Call to Action”. Several sessions on leadership, organisational development and personal development were led by mentors such as Nana Asantewa Afadzinu from WACSI, Jessica Horn from the African Women Development Fund, George Osei Bimpeh from SEND Ghana and Taaka Awori from Busara Africa limited.

At the end of the two-week training, participants were tasked to develop Action Plans as a mechanism to transfer skills and knowledge and institutionalise contemporary leadership practices within their organisations.

These Action Plans will form the basis of the mentoring process which will take place from 10 July- 13 October 2017.


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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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