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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


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WACSI Hosts 3rd Annual iCon Meeting

From the 17th- 18th October, 2018, WACSI hosted 13 members of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon) at its secretariat.

During her opening remarks, the Executive Director of WACSI, Nana Asantewa Afadzinu congratulated iCon for their efforts in pushing back on closing civic space. She added that their work was timely and needed for the sustainability of civil society.

The meeting aimed at reflecting on the work that had been done by the Consortium to develop evidence-based solutions that enhance the resilience and sustainability of civil society and broaden constituencies for human rights.

The International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon) was formed by the Human Rights Initiative (HRI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to create an international network of scholars and experts from around the world to conduct research and develop concrete recommendations on how best to address and push back on closing space around civil society.

To achieve its ultimate goal of developing evidence-based solutions that enhance the resilience and sustainability of civil society and broaden constituencies for human rights, iCon has structured its approaches into four thematic areas.

These thematic areas are;

- Identifying New Programmatic Models, which centers on exploring issues and making recommendations relating to the structure and funding of civil society;

- Broadening Domestic Constituencies to explore issues and making recommendations to build and diversify domestic support for the work of human rights and social justice actors;

- Strengthening Transnational Solidarity by exploring issues and making recommendations for resolving tensions between counter-terrorism strategies and the protection of civil society;

- Aligning Security and Civic Space by exploring issues and making recommendations on how to improve international solidarity and support for civil society.

So far the research consortium has produced the following outputs and knowledge pieces, see link

During the first day of the 3rd Annual Meeting, members of the working groups presented the findings of their various research.

This was followed by a plenary session during which members discussed the challenges they faced whilst conducting their various researches and how they surmounted them.

On the second day of the meeting, the members focused on various strategies to operationalise and ways to disseminate their discoveries. The Consortium also initiated the development of new approaches to communicate its impact more effectively by using social media and its extensive network as a means to expanding its influence.

 iCon’s work clearly aligns with WACSI’s strategic 2018-2022 direction aiming at ensuring an enabling environment for civil society sustainability.

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