The West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Regional Office in Abuja have started a new initiative on strengthening democratic governance and human security by creating ownership for international norms. The kick-off workshop brought together experts from Senegal, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali and Nigeria on 19 – 20 September 2013. These experts stem from a variety of backgrounds. The effort was joined by lawyers, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, linguists, gender experts and programme managers.
The long term objective is to develop advocacy tools for Civil Society Organisations and the citizenry in the form of a handbook and an online platform.
The two days meeting centred on the following tasks: compiling international norms, comparing local norms and customs to international norms, evaluating/ structuring the norms and values, creating a representation of artistic values, and devising strategies for the appropriation of these norms and values at the national level and finally have a global process follow up.
Further discussions held on the effective implementation of International norms in the local context using artistic works, music, cultural works, cartoons, music etc to strengthen democratic governance and human security in the region. A methodology and chronogram was established to kick start this process which will be sustained through an internet collaborative platform created specifically for this delocalised project.
Several follow-up programmes are scheduled to hold in 2014.