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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


Regionalising African Civil Societies: Lessons, opportunities and constraints

The workshop entitled Regionalising African civil societies: Lessons, opportunities and constraints was held in Uppsala, Sweden in October 2014 and co-organ- ised by the Nordic Africa Institute (Sweden), the West Africa Civil Society Institute (Ghana) and the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University (Sweden).

The workshop was part of a larger programme at NAI that has explored various aspects of regionalisation in Africa, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The workshop gathered participants from African NGOs and researchers working on regionalisation and civil society issues. This provided a unique opportunity to engage in conversations about re- search and practice. During the two days, we moved from an initial emphasis on the role of civil society in regional integration and the regionalisation of civil society itself, to questioning the idea of the region as a territory, as a space for political action, for economic activities and for identity and belonging.

The workshop and this report are small but hopefully important contributions to a research agenda aimed at deepening our understanding of the relations between regionalisation and civil society. The workshop identified two important tasks for such an agenda: bridging the gaps between research on regional issues and civil society within academic disciplines, and also bringing research and practice closer together. Such conversations are critical if we are to understand the opportunities and constraints for a regionalisation ‘from below.’

Download full report here.

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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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