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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


Working Paper Series on Civil Society and Development in West Africa

West Africa’s multiple civil societies are as diverse in form, size, motive, constitution and approach as the distinct contexts in which they operate. Though much is attributed to them, there has hitherto been no thorough/detailed authoritative/wilful exploration of their involvement, influence or impact in and on development discourses in the region and beyond.

WACSI has launched this Working Paper Series on Civil Society and Development in West Africa to provide non-anecdotal, field-based knowledge and perspectives of the real and potential centrality of these civil societies to development.

An introductory paper by Ebenezer Obadare provides an apt framework for discussion and critical analysis. Together with the other sixteen papers in the series, it attempts to answer the following key questions:

-How is civil society defined generally and within national (state, self and other) regulatory policy frameworks? How well do these conceptualisations accommodate emerging forms and loci of civic association (broadly defined) and action?

-How has civil society evolved in West Africa and what factors have (dis)enabled its growth?

-What are the different contexts in which civil society works and how does civil society engage therein?

-What impact have the foregoing had on civil society’s influence and impact on development in the focus countries?

The series ends with a concluding chapter that considers the import of the findings of preceding papers on the future of civil society in West Africa and its implications for development.

Ebenezer Obadare, Civil Society and Development in West Africa: Issues, Problems and Doubts, CSD Working Paper #1, 28 July 2014

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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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