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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


1st Annual West Africa Women's Policy Forum - Assessing the Gains, Advancing the Agenda", Accra, Ghana

West African women have gained relative visibility through their activism in the civil society sector on issues of governance, democracy, development, peace and security. However, the extent to which this activism influences or shapes policies across the region has not been measured and therefore difficult to ascertain. Furthermore, in comparison to their share of the population, women remain underrepresented in political spaces and very little is known about the causal effect of those women who enter into political spaces. There is also an evident disconnect between women in civil society and women in government further diminishing the potential collective leverage women can bring to policy processes. This situation led the West Africa Civil Society Institute and the Women Peace and Security Network to initiate the establishment of the West Africa Women’s Forum in December 2008, as an annual space for women working in different sectors in the region to deliberate and design strategies for enhancing women’s influence on policy processes and provide a conduit for improved collaboration among women’s groups.

The 1st Forum titled “Assessing the gains, Advancing the Agenda” brought together over 50 women from three distinct sectors; women in civil society, women in government and women from the donor community. Participants were drawn primarily from West Africa, with representation from other parts of Africa and the world. Participants reflected on women’s roles and participation in governance, development, peace and security in the region and to design concrete strategies for influencing and informing policy processes.

1st West Africa Women Policy Forum - "Assessing the Gains, Advancing the Agenda"

Resource Centre

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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