Terms of Reference for the Recruitment of a Research Consultant for Research on Forging Stakeholder Collaboration for Effective Social Activism in West Africa

Project Context:

Observably, despite the growing numbers and influence of activists and social movements in West Africa on the one hand, coupled with a high number of existing social justice organisations on the other hand, the collaboration between these two groups is weak. This results to a significantly low level of pressure on the perpetrators of injustice (most often the government), and this often weakens the possibility of realising successful social justice campaigns.

It is within this context that WACSI and the Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR) have conceptualised an initiative to explore whether the existing types of promoters of social justice (organic and organised) see the need to join forces in their efforts to push for social justice in West Africa. They seek to promote a shared learning space for activists’ social movements and social justice organisations to explore ways of effectively responding to the crackdown on civic freedoms and restrictions to civic engagements in West Africa.


The goal of this project is to facilitate a space for shared learning among strategic stakeholders (activists, social movements, traditional CSOs) working to curb shrinking space in West Africa. It will create an enabling environment for these stakeholders to strategise on how to possibly adopt more inclusive and collaborative approaches in their pursuit for social justice.


The first step of this process will consist of a 3-day convening with twenty (20) representatives from traditional CSOs that promote social justice in West Africa. Participants will explore the increasing crackdown on civic space and examine alternative ways of effectively engaging with activists and social movements.

At the second step, we would be leveraging on planned convenings and platforms for social movements and activists, to share information from the convening with traditional CSOs. It will enable them to identify the potential for more collaborative approaches in working with social justice organisations.

The final step is the debriefing session between key stakeholders to examine lessons learnt from the meetings and chart a way forward in supporting activists, social movements and CSOs towards creating a more enabling environment for civic activism and engagement in West Africa.


The purpose of the consultancy will be to conduct a research to understand the barriers and enhancers of collaboration, surface and question the assumptions and perceptions between social justice organisations on the one hand, and social movement activists on the other hand. To provide a comprehensive analysis on this, the consultant will, within the time frame of the project, conduct a desktop research. S/he will also consult selected traditional social justice CSOs to collect evidence-based information on their state of collaboration with activists and social movements on issues pertaining to the crackdown of the civic space in West Africa - and – vice versa. The consultant will use findings from the desk research and from discussions/interviews with social justice organisations, activists and social movements to produce a comprehensive research report that will be used as a basis for further support to these groups by development partners in West Africa.


The consultant will undertake the following activities to conduct the research:

  1. Develop a top-line analysis and questions on the state and context of collaboration between organised and organic civil society organisations in West Africa in the defence and promotion of open civic space:
    1. Desk review of literature concerning cooperation between activists, social movements and social justice organisations on civic engagements issues;
    2. Do briefing paper to help frame the agenda/discussions at the convening to be organised in late July or early August 2019;
    3. Contribute in framing the agenda of the convening; and
    4. Make a presentation on the key findings of the research at the convening as well as any other presentation as may be required during the convening.
  2. Capture key discussions on issues pertaining to the collaboration of social justice organisations and social movements to respond to the research questions and contribute to expand the briefing paper:
    1. Attend the convening with traditional social justice CSOs;
    2. Assess the environment in which social justice organisations and social movements are working (SWOT analysis)
    3. Interview participants attending the convening to gather information to understand the structures and processes of collaboration between them;
    4. Conduct focus group discussions to review the effectiveness of previous collaborations between stakeholders (activists, social movements and social justice organisations) in responding to the crackdown on civic freedoms and restrictions to civic engagements.
  3. Analyse and share reflections from traditional CSOs with activists and social movements, to understand the possible experiences, challenges and opportunities that exist for which the latter can collaborate with traditional social justice organisations to push back threats to civic space in West Africa. The consultant will be expected to: (i) conduct an in person sharing exercise with Afrikki Mwinda platform and (ii) facilitate a virtual knowledge sharing exercise with Africtivistes. The dates and venue for (i) and (ii) will be confirmed by WACSI and FGHR.
    1. Document experiences, challenges and opportunities shared by activists and social movements
  4. Present draft findings (from tasks 1 to 3) to the WACSI & FGHR, compile and integrate comments and feedback.
  5. Compile a comprehensive first draft report – an occasional paper - (that encompasses tasks 1 – 4) based on the field research findings according to a format agreed with WACSI in close collaboration with the FGHR.


The following outputs will be produced;

  • Desktop research to develop briefing paper
  • Collation of perspectives at CSO convening and feedback of social movement activists from share-back sessions
  • Development of occasional paper


Key Tasks Deliverable Estimated Timeframe
1. Conduct a desktop research concerning cooperation between activists, social movements and social justice organisations in West Africa Produce a briefing paper on research findings 15, July 2019
2. Convening of traditional CSOs in West Africa Document key discussion points to enrich and expand occasional paper
Use documented discussion points to prepare presentation to social movement activists
Deliverables to be ready by 20 August, 2019
3. Presentation of findings with Afrikki Mwinda members and Africtivistes Develop presentation content and lead the presentation for activist groups (in person or virtual) TBC
4. Submit final research report on the state of collaboration between activists, social movements and social justice organisations in West Africa Final research report submitted WACSI and the FGHR 22 November 2019


This consultant is expected to put in an estimated fifteen (15) working days between June 2019 and February 2020.


The consultant should have the following qualifications and experience:

Academic qualifications:

  • Academic Qualifications (Master or PhD) in Social Sciences or related technical field such as development studies, M&E or social research.

Knowledge, skills and experience:

  • Demonstrated experience conducting research on social justice organisations and/or the nature and trends in civil society in West Africa would be desirable;
  • Experience in computer data entry for research analysis is strongly recommended;
  • Good qualitative and quantitative research skills including experience and/or research on social issues;
  • Must have extensive knowledge of civic space issues in West Africa;
  • Ability to communicate in English and a good proficiency in French would be an advantage;
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills;
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), internet and email software;
  • Working experience and/or knowledge of civil society on the regional, national and local levels.

Competencies required:

  • Ability and willingness to be a team player, and collaborate effective with partners;
  • Willingness to travel when required;
  • Analytical and conceptual ability;
  • Highly organised, able to plan, implement and monitor work with good attention to detail;
  • Proven ability to keep to deadlines.

To apply:

Interested candidates should forward the following documents by email to research@wacsi.org; elongue@wacsi.org and jcfomunjong@wacsi.org not later than Thursday 20 June 2019.

  • i. Curriculum Vitae;
  • ii. A sample research paper (preferably on a subject related to social movements or on civic space in West Africa; and
  • iii. A one-page narrative detailing the research methodology (with key research questions) they would explore to surface the issues inherent to this project.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview.

WACSI is an equal opportunities employer.