West African Researchers and Civil Society Practitioners Strategise to Influence Policies
Accra, Ghana – A cross-section of civil society practitioners and researchers from West Africa have welcomed the importance of gathering, storing and sharing information on the efforts of civil society to promote social change in the region.
The over 25 researchers and practitioners from academic institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) from Nigeria, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, United States of America and Ghana underscored the need to prioritise the documentation and dissemination of their work, successes and challenges in their efforts to promote citizen-friendly policies in West African countries.
They stressed this need in a regional meeting that focused on ‘Managing Knowledge for Policy Influence in West Africa’, organized by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACS) in Accra, Ghana on April 8, 2013.
At the opening ceremony, Professor Ebenezer Obadare, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA explained that “civil society has become an important meeting point for diverse knowledge and policy framework”. Talking on the issue of civil society and knowledge production, he explained that “we use knowledge to produce knowledge and we live in knowledge”.
He raised the need for researchers and civil society practitioners to ponder over the role of CSOs in the construction of reality and production of knowledge about Africa.
Participants at the meeting commended WACSI’s initiative to convene actors from diverse backgrounds to reflect on recommended ways of collecting relevant information on civil society’s contribution towards development and participatory governance in the region.
Mr. Abayomi N. Adeomi, Programme Officer, Peace and Security of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), endorsed the relevance of this meeting. “It is absolutely necessary for such platforms to be created to reflect on the strategies to generate knowledge to influence policies in West Africa. The synergy between academicians and practitioners should be encouraged in an effort to strengthen advocacy campaigns and promote credibility in the advocacy process”, he explained.
Ms. Nana Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI pointed out that “WACSI seeks to respond to the issues affecting civil society in West Africa through rigorous research”. She explained that this meeting will enable WACSI to take concrete action to build programmes around promoting research initiatives in West Africa.
For more information about the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and its interventions to promote participatory governance in West Africa, please visit www.wacsi.org
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