Partners Senegal - Centre for Civic Collaboration
Partners Senegal was established in 2010 through the Partners for Sustainable Leadership Initiative to provide Senegal and West Africa with a leading conflict resolution and change management Center. Based in Dakar, the Center promotes stability and progress in Senegal and throughout the region through connecting, educating and integrating the government, security-sector, and civil society. The Center is committed to being a premier institution for increasing the capacity of African agents of change to achieve peaceful development, strengthened democracy and rule of law throughout the continent.
Partners-Senegal is currently focusing on:
Youth engagement through pilot school mediation programs.
Skill-Building through providing training of trainers in facilitation, coalition building, cooperative advocacy and planning processes.
Mediation standardization in Senegal through providing the internationally accredited PDCI Mediation Certification program.
Partners Senegal is led by Birame Diop, a Colonel in the Senegalese Air Force who was seconded to the organization in 2010. Colonel Diop has completed fellowships with the National Endowment for Democracy and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars which give him the academic foundation to support his military career in informing the direction and work of Partners Senegal.
Partners Senegal - Africa Institute for Security Sector Transformation (AISST)
Partners has also collaborated with the US National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) on a unique program to enhance civil-military institutional relationships by building collaboration in the field of human security. This collaboration helped Partners Senegal to establish the African Institute for Security Sector Transformation (AISST), which has already established itself as a premier institute, improving the security sector in Senegal and throughout the region.
AISST was created to address the lack of integration of security-sector actors (military, police, border patrol and intelligence services) into civilian authority structures and systems (legislative, executive and judiciary) in West Africa. This has been a destabilizing factor that contributes to conflict, coups and uprisings in the region.
AISST works to provide West African organizations with institutional support in order to facilitate dialogue between civilians, members of government, and those in the security sector in order to transform the current security sector into one which is democratically overseen and serves to support, rather than undermine, the interests of the people.
AISST’s goals are to ensure that:
- West African security forces contribute to development through the improvement of civilian-security sector relations;
- Security forces have a respectful, collaborative, and inclusive relationship with civilian populations;
- Security sector agencies are under democratic control and remain politically neutral.
While the goals of Partners Senegal's AISST program are ambitious, the organization is in a unique position to obtain them. Based in Dakar, Partners Senegal is an entirely West African institute, giving it the contextual knowledge needed to effectively approach these challenges. Furthermore, the expertise provided by Director Colonel Birame Diop, with an extensive career as a member of the Senegalese Air Force, gives Partners Senegal an intimate understanding of the culture of the West African security sector. This asset is critical to ensuring meaningful and effective programming.
By focusing on human security as well as national defense, armed forces in Africa can serve a crucial function in the development and well being of African states and their populations by providing professional expertise, manpower, and logistics. Partners Senegal seeks to examine and foster the improvement of this cooperation throughout West Africa.
Areas of Expertise:
- Gender Mainstreaming in the Security Sector
- Security Sector Governance
- Civil-Military Relations
- Community Policing
- Security Sector Cooperation
1. Gender Mainstreaming in the Senegalese Armed Forces
In July 2010, AISST and Partners-Senegal began working with the Alliance for Migration, Leadership and Development (AMLD), and the Senegalese Ministry for Women, Family, Social Development and Women's Entrepreneurship on gender mainstreaming in the Senegalese armed forces. The project was initiated by the country's leadership and the ongoing work is supported by the United States Department of Defense Africa Command (AFRICOM), the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
In October 2010, a 5-day workshop on Gender mainstreaming in the Senegalese Armed Forces was organized with the aim of convening all those members of the armed forces with a responsibility and interest in mainstreaming gender with Senegalese experts in gender and security reform. A select group of regional and international experts discussed and outlined the opportunities and challenges facing the armed forces in developing policies, allocating resources and creating structures that support gender mainstreaming.
This workshop was followed in December 2010 by a presentation of the participant discussions to the Ministry of Armed Forces to inform the creation of a series of recommendations to harmonize current policies with international instruments and existing Senegalese legislation. In 2011 representatives were gathered from each of the branches of the Senegalese security sector to share lessons learned and best practices.
2. Civil-Military Relations in West Africa
In 2009, AISST began a new initiative to capture the best practices and strategies for strong civilian-military relations in West Africa. Working in collaboration with ACSS, the results of of the initiative produced the report Senegal's Armée-Nation: Lessons Learned from an Indigenous Model for Building Peace, Stability and Effective Civil-Military Relations in West Africa.
3. Guinea Citizen Security Project (GCSP)
With support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), AISST is currently providing assistance with the development of a national security policy in Guinea that includes the interests of civilian leadership and civil society through a series of inclusive workshops. Given the fragile state of the new democracy in Guinea, a national security policy that promotes democratic control of the armed forces and the needs of the civilian population could be an important component if a level of stability is to be achieved and sustained. AISST also continues to conduct research on the potential role for African security sectors in development activities.
For more information, please visit Partners Senegal's website.