The Network of Women Leaders for Development (NWLD) organized a capacity building workshop in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire as part of the establishment of an advocacy network to strengthen civic space in West Africa.
This activity was organized through the CHARM Project funded by the Swedish International Development CooperationAgency (SIDA) to build the technical capacity of journalists and human rights defenders in the field of advocacy while consolidating the links between them for a strengthened civic space.
Through several panels, media and human rights actors reflected on themes such as: the state of play on civic space in West Africa and current challenges; the importance of networking for effective advocacy in the face of the restriction of civic space in West Africa and effective advocacy.
The RFLD representative in his interventions stated that the civic space, that environment that should allow civil society to play its full role in the political, economic and social life of our African societies is being challenged. Thus, instead of allowing groups to contribute to the development of policies that affect their lives, including accessing information, engaging in dialogue, expressing dissent and uniting to express their views, they are subject to repressive laws, and with them increasing restrictions on freedoms of expression, participation, assembly and association.
While it is true today that new technologies have helped civil society networks to develop, they have also allowed some governments to control civil society movements and media freedom, often under the pretext of guaranteeing security. Today, the urgent need in Africa is to remove the barriers to an open and pluralistic civic space that guarantees freedom of expression and opinion as well as freedom of assembly and association, which are essential to ensure sustainable development and peace.
Therefore, the objectives to be achieved and the expected outcomes of this workshop are enormous: To draw the attention of Francophone authorities to ways to improve civic space while improving strategic responses to threats. RFLD expects to strengthen good practices in protection, including protection networks, monitoring trends in civic space and the situation of human rights defenders, and mainstreaming civic space into policy, practice and operational activities.