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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


WACSI adds value to civil society existence, effectiveness and efficiency in West Africa


Through its policy advocacy series, the Institute provides various platforms for civil society to enhance its engagement and collaboration with policymakers and institutions working on critical issues affecting the sub-region. Policy positions that emanate from these sessions are published and circulated to relevant policy makers. Periodically, the Institute also commissions policy position papers to examine specific issues within its mandate. The reports of these papers forms the basis for discussion and debate by stakeholders before being adopted, and disseminated for policy actions.

Annual West African Women’s Policy Forum Series

The West African Women’s Policy Forum was instituted as an annual policy forum by the WACSI and the Women in Peace Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) in 2008 to inform, guide, influence and monitor policy formulation and implementation on issues that affect women’s peace, security and participation in political governance and decision-making in West Africa. Specifically, the forum platform aimed at addressing the prevailing lack of strategy, chasm in collaboration and broad based advocacy in women’s attempts to influence policies in the region.

The specific objectives of the forum includes to:

Promote a platform for women’s groups to strategise on how to maximise their efforts;

Improve coalition building among women’s groups and organisations;

Provide the space for women in decision making positions in governments and intergovernmental institutions and civil society to interact and collaborate on influence policies;

Serve as a annual reflection space for a cross section of women in the region;

Reduce competition among women’s groups and harness a culture of collaboration and

Provide an avenue for West Africa women to form linkages to women working in other regions of the world.

Since the institutionalization of the platform in 208, the conveners have successfully held four forums in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Liberia.

     First Annual Women’s Policy Forum – “Assessing the Gains, Advancing the Agenda”, Accra Ghana
The first forum in held from December 2 – 3, 2008 in Accra, Ghana, convened cross section of women from different fields (including civil society, practitioners, politicians, academia) to reach consensus on topical issues facing women in West Africa. The forum set the first regional platform provide for women’s groups, associations, coalition and women in government and other decision making positions to reflect on issues affecting women overall security in the region and design concrete strategies for influencing, informing or formulating policy options which will address those issues. At the end of the 2day meeting, 42 policy recommendations directed at National government, ECOWAS, Civil Society were made by forum delegates. The published report of the forum has bee widely disseminated by WACSI.

Click here for full report.

     Second Annual Women’s Policy Forum – “Our Politic is Now! Moving Beyond the Rhetoric of Women’s Political Participation, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
Following on the outcome of the 1st Policy Forum, which highlighted the importance of enhancing the strategic involvement of women in politics and policy processes around peace and security issues in the sub-region, women, re affirmed the need to be actively involved at all stages of the democratic governances processes including election administration. Stressing that their involvement in the process will not only make them hold all political parties accountable to making women’s nominations and candidatures a reality, but will provide women the opportunity to identify all grey areas which have hindered their ascension into politically elected offices.

Thus, the 2nd Forum held from 12 – 13 November, 2009 in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire focused on increasing women’s active participation in politics. The Forum titled “Our politics is NOW: Moving beyond the rhetoric of women’s political participation” convened over 40 women from CSOs, government, intergovernmental organisations, academia, and development agencies to examine and develop strategies to amplify women visibility, involvement and candidacy in upcoming electoral processes in West Africa. Amongst other outcomes, the forum reviewed women’s participation in politics in post independence West Africa and took stock of gains made in terms of women’s involvement in political parties; participation in political processes; and ascension to appointed or elected positions.

Click here for full report.

     Third Annual Women’s Policy Forum – “Increasing Women’s Visibility: A framework for Political action for 2011 and 2012”
Noting the recommendations of the 2nd Forum, which called for the movement of women from the rhetorical participation in political games but to adopt the act of using their numerical value strategically to amplify their engagement and presence in all levels of governance and decisionmaking, as well as ensuring women’s full participation in political processes, the 3rd Forum held in from 6 – 7 December, 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria on the theme “Increasing Women’s Visibility: A framework for Political action for 2011 and 2012” brought together women delegates (old and new) including development agencies to examine and develop strategies to amplify women’s numerical representation and visibility, engagement and candidacy in upcoming election processes in West Africa between 2011 – 2012.

The delegates representing 8 counties in West Africa reviewed existing strategy(ies) focused at increasing women’s numerical value and representation in politically elected offices including national parliaments and discerned contextualized and contemporary tactics through which women’s opportunities could be maximized in the upcoming 2011 – 2012 considering the fact that 7 countries were due for elections during this period. Importantly, the 2nd forum identified various windows of opportunities available to women’s political/electoral financing at the national, regional, continental and international levels and discerned possible means to explore.

Click here for full report.

     Fourth Annual Women’s Policy Forum - “Win With Women: Best Practices in Promoting Women’s Quantitative and Qualitative Representation in Decision Making”
In stressing the objective of the forum series on “increasing women’s visibility and active participation in politics”, the 4th forum held in Monrovia, Liberia from 7-8 September, 2011 provided West African women the desired space to reflect on previous failures and achievements and also learn from the experiences of women from other parts of Africa specifically on how to develop effective strategies for women’s meaningful representation in politics. The delegates learnt from women from other part of the continent where women have successfully increased their visibility in decisionmaking including Rwanda, Uganda, amongst others, who came to share their experiences and best practices.

The 4th forum also saw the inauguration of the member of the West African Women Election Observation Team (WAWEO), a team recommendation by the delegates at the 2nd forum held in Abidjan to observe all elections  in West Africa with the view of protecting the interest of women and reporting all cases of unfairness, injustice, discrimination or intimidation of women electorates and candidate to appropriate quarters for effective actions.

Click here for full report.

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