Language: English | French

West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society

WACSI Publications

WACSI has a Resource Center with online and print resources to enrich knowledge on development related themes





Effective Board Governance for CSOs

A key driver of operational resilience and sustainability is the capability of civil society organisations (CSOs) to establish and cultivate effective boards. Board governance is an important ingredient to securing the evolution, scale and impact of a CSO. A colleague and I recently had an engaging conversation about the various stages of board development and the potential pathways to diagnose the health of a CSO board. This conversation centred on the patterns of evolution of CSO boards and whether there was a sequential transition from one phase to another. This led to the development of this article, which focuses on the life cycle of CSO boards within the African context based on our engagement and thought leadership in the sector.

Four Critical Ways to Support the Women's Movement in West Africa

Forty women from diverse walks of life have stressed the need for stakeholders, especially decision makers in Africa to take necessary actions that will create equal opportunities for women on the continent. At a women’s dialogue in Accra, they called on African leaders to domesticate international protocols and show the appropriate political will to put women at the core of decision making and implementation in African countries. This would afford women the needed opportunities to make invaluable contributions in high-level decision-making processes.

According to a report from the forum, the West African Women’s Dialogue that took place in Accra, Ghana, from 10 – 12 July 2018, “women remain disproportionately represented in leadership and decision-making positions despite years of demand for affirmative action and 30% representation in parliament.

Research Reports


Mapping the African Philanthropic Space: Opportunities and Challenges for Development in Nigeria

This study examines the contemporary African philanthropic space in Nigeria and its role, opportunities, and challenges for Nigeria’s National development. Drawing from both primary and secondary sources, this paper argues that philanthropy has a long history in Nigeria and is embedded in the socio-cultural milieu of the people. African philanthropic infrastructures exist in both formal and informal forms and both the rich and the poor are involved in philanthropy in Nigeria. The changing socio-political trajectories in Nigeria particularly since the return to civil rule in 1999 and the astronomic surge in the number of High Net Worth Individuals have led to the establishment of philanthropic foundations by accomplished businessmen and women, sports personalities, politicians and community trusts to support the state in diverse development areas. 

Leadership Transitions and Governance within CSOs in Ghana

Many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) lack governance structures and systems to support effective leadership transitions. Evidence indicates that a few organisations have plans in place to help manage leadership transition processes. This has led to a situation where organisations have been left in turmoil when founding executive directors leave. This report is an analysis of the governance structures and leadership transitions in select CSOs in Ghana. It is based on evidence from fieldwork carried out in Ghana involving fifteen research participants; ten of whom have been leaders of civil society organisations or currently serve as executive directors. The study explored governance structures, systems and processes within CSOs in Ghana and how leadership transitions and successions are managed in these organisations. The research also analysed the implications of succession planning for CSOs’ sustainability and proffers measures for strengthening governance and healthy leadership transitions.

Learning Resources


'SHOWING IMPACT! WACSI Shares Significant Change Stories'

In 2012, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) initiated a capacity development programme to respond to the critical governance and leadership challenges that continue to undermine the operational effectiveness of Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) in the region, especially in francophone West Africa.

Social Accountability Guidebook

The Social Accountability Guidebook for CSOs is a learning resource that is intended to support the building of a community of practice of social accountability practitioners, advocates, and champions in West Africa. The Guidebook presents case studies of social accountability initiatives from the West African sub-region, interspersed with definitions of terminologies related to the concept. It is intended to deepen understanding and foster appreciation of the concept of social accountability, its potential for strengthening accountability in the sub-region, and the challenges that may be encountered in implementing social accountability initiatives in West African country contexts. It is hoped that the Guidebook will serve as a catalyst for further development and tailoring of the concept of social accountability to the West African context, by CSOs, development practitioners, local and central government agencies, the donor community, and all others who are interested in advancing accountability in West Africa.
The guidebook is a product of a regional shared learning workshop organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

Training and Assessment Reports


Training Narrative Report: Results Based Communication Training 2015

The training course on “Results-Based Communication for Non-profits” was aimed at balancing both theoretical and practical skills required for effective communication for participating CSOs. It is designed to equip participants to confidently design and implement communication activities including working with the media, fundraising communication, developing press kits, influencing public policy and formulating strategic communication plans to enable their organisation to reach out to a wider audience and also enhance their visibility.

The overall objective of the Results-Based Communication for Non-profits training is to equip participants with the needed tools to design, implement and boost the communication strategies, plans and activities of their respective organisations.

Training Narrative Report: Financial Management and Grants Reporting 2015

The Financial Management and Grants Reporting was held from 18th to 21st May 2015 at WACSI training center, Accra-Ghana. There were 15 CSO members from Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia who applied for and participated in this training.

The main objective of this course was to enhance participant’s capacities and skills on financial management and grants reporting in order to equip them with tools to mobilise resources and strategies to effectively manage their organisation’s finances.

Forum Reports


West Africa Drug Policy Network Building Meeting

A coalition of CSOs came together as a network called West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN) to support drug policy reform in West Africa by building the capacity of local CSOs to address the impact of drug markets on democracy, governance, human security, human right and public health.

1st Annual West Africa Civil Society Conference

West African Civil Society constituency represented by WACSOF and WACSI collaborated to bring together civil society organisations, institutions in governance, development partners and other relevant stakeholders to strategise and design a Post-2015 regional development agenda framework that would take into serious consideration the ECOWAS regional development agenda.

This meeting was convened under the theme “Strategizing for the Post-2015 and ECOWAS Vision 2020 Development Agenda for West Africa”.

Internship Reports



After completing my first degree in Philosophy, I have incessantly questioned and reflected on the tangible role of philosophy in the new corporate world order. At the time of my undergraduate studies, it was easy to jump onto the ‘bandwagon’ of philosophy students who have always prided themselves in the notion that they represented the greatest “think tanks”for designing creative policies, identifying lapses in judgment and probing codes of behavior.Yet, I felt empty after my university education. The road map that led me onto this academic journey appeared to be a dead end. My accounting, marketing and medical student colleagues could pin-point their relevance in concrete terms, such as balance sheets, advertising and surgery in any organization.

Improving Capacity Building for Civil Society Organisations in West Africa

That civil society is a strategic partner in state building and development is a fact which is increasingly being acknowledged by many. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in many parts of West Africa have been at the forefront of calls for effective policies, good governance, sustainable development, peace and transparency in state affairs.CSOs in West Africa are increasingly getting involved in developmental processes. Thisis demonstrated by the continuous increase in the number of civil society actors in theregion. This increase notwithstanding, its impact is still to be felt in many part of the subregion because most of these organisations are faced with the challenge of limited institutional and technical capacities.

Other Reports


2017 Civil Society Leadership Institute - Stories of Change

This publication showcases leadership stories from various communities within West Africa. The stories highlight the growth and influence of young West African leaders who continue to shape the development of their various organisations and communities.

The publication reveals their abilities to lead themselves, lead others, transform organisations and influence society. The publication is a product of CSLI organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute with support from Ford Foundation West Africa and the Rockdale Foundation.

Stories of Change- CSLI

This publication showcases leadership stories from various communities within West Africa. The stories highlight the growth and influence of young West Africans leaders who continue to shape the development of their various organisations and communities. The publication reveals their abilities to lead themselves, lead others, transform organisations and influence society. The publication is a product of CSLI organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute with support from Ford Foundation West Africa.

Annual Reports

WACSI Updates