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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society

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Civil Society Index-Rapid Assessment: Liberia

More than a decade since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra, Ghana, Liberia continues its long walk to restoration and reconciliation. Though Liberia has stayed relatively stable and peaceful in the post-conflict period, challenges remain. Many of the structural causes of the war persist, including political and economic elitism, powerful patronage networks, systemic and wide-ranging corruption and high levels of youth unemployment. The government is continuing to enact a number of reform initiatives to try to transform these structural conditions, including on-going efforts to reform the security sector, and the establishment of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC). Across all of these areas, civil society is an evolving and important counterpart that can bring diverse voices to the table, as well as serve as a check on government power. New laws and policies have helped to boost the role of CSOs. Laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, passed in 2010, provide opportunities for CSOs to engage more with government.

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Civil Society Index-Rapid Assessment: Sierra Leone

Civil society has seen huge growth in its size and spheres of activities in Sierra Leone since the end of the war in 2002, more than at any other time in the country’s history. Civil society in Sierra Leone today be categorised into four types, which have different aims. First, there are not-for-profit, membership-based professional bodies, which this study calls professional associations. These organisations largely seek the welfare of their profession. A second category of CSOs is that of not-for-profit service delivery and development organisations. These CSOs largely seek grant and contract funding to attend to service delivery gaps. A third category are CSOs that are primarily concerned with the pursuit of good governance and the maximisation of citizens’ economic, social, political and civil rights. In this study these are called civic organisations. The fourth category of CSO is labelled in this study as social clubs or mutual benefit organisations. These are membership-based organisations that focus on providing welfare benefits for their members.

This Civil Society Index-Rapid Assessment (CSI-RA) report is the result of a collective effort by a number of institutions and individuals. We are grateful to CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation for giving Sierra Leone the opportunity to take part in the CSI-RA.

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Civil Society Index-Rapid Assessment: Benin

La Maison de la Société Civile (the House of civil society) (MdSC), Benin, was chosen to conduct a self-assessment of CSOs in the country in order to enable them to be or to remain true actors of development. MdSC worked closely on this project with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). A report bringing out a certain number of findings, challenges and areas for actions was produced.

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Civil Society Index-Rapid Assessment: Ghana

Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), in collaboration with West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), conducted an assessment of civil society in Ghana in 2013 using the CIVICUS Civil Society Index: Rapid Assessment (CSI-RA) approach. The CSI-RA is a participatory, action-oriented research project that aims to help civil society organisations (CSOs) assess their conditions in different contexts. The Ghana CSI-RA looked at five areas: CSOs’ focus and areas of specialisation, CSO relations and networking, resource mobilisation and sustainability, impact, and citizens’ participation and activism.

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Consultative Meeting of Experts on Civil Society Capacity Development in West Africa

Civil society continues to face human, administrative, funding capacity challenges which stifle their efforts to complement development initiatives of governments within the West African region. The failure of the sector to perform optimally is partly attributed to lack of robust knowledge management systems, communities of practice and poor documentation of experiences.

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