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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


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Advancing Drug Policy Reforms in the Mano River Region

On the 25-26 October 2017, the West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN), West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) organised a two-day multisectoral drug policy reform meeting for the Mano River Union.

The Mano River Union is an association that was initially established between Liberia and Sierra Leone by the Mano River Declaration. It was named after the Mano River which begins in the Guinea highlands and forms a border between Liberia and Sierra Leone. Years later, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire joined the union.

The meeting focused on various approaches to effectively respond to the drug challenges within West Africa, highlighting the practices from Benin, Senegal and Ghana the three reform champions in the region.

This historic meeting convened forty participants consisting of policy makers, advocates, health professionals, a representative from ECOWAS, the Ministry of Health in Cote d’Ivoire and the Embassy of Ghana in Abidjan.

At the end of the two-day consultation, the participants proposed recommendations on tackling the problematic use of drugs from a public health perspective and not only as a national security and safety issues, exploring the possibilities of research into the scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and industrial uses of cannabis among many others.

These recommendations if adopted, would enhance the policy reform in the Mano River Region.

The meeting ended with a joint communique that was signed and accepted by all the forty participants, committing them to actively work towards improving the policy reform in the region.

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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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