Partners in Sub-Saharan Africa
Partners has been working on human security, governance, and citizen engagement in the security sectors of African countries since 2006, and established our affiliate, Partners Senegal, in Dakar in 2010. Our participatory skills and processes enable local leaders to bring together all sectors of society, including civil society, government, and the security sector to address the challenges facing citizens.
Citizen Engagement in Security Sector Reform
With the Citizen Engagement in Security Sector Reform (CESSR) project, Partners brought together key “Champions of Change” from civil society, government ministries, and uniformed security services to engage in a two-day regional symposium to discuss the obstacles and opportunities for addressing security sector reform and improving human security in the Mano River countries of Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The symposium focused on four main topics:
1)Regional Approaches to Security
2)Citizen Engagement in Security Sector Reform
3)Decentralization as a Pillar of National Security
4)Resource Mobilization for Security
We placed particular focus on the importance of increasing “Citizen Engagement” as a crucial component of comprehensive security sector reforms (SSR). Too often these reform programs take place in the halls of power in a top-down manner with little impact on the ground. The symposium provided an important opportunity to highlight the importance of greater civilian inclusion in SSR and to discuss strategies for achieving this. We continue to work with participants to build on the enthusiasm generated by the symposium.
One of the most significant findings to emerge from the event is that people, even those actively engaged in the reform process, have difficulty analyzing the current status of reforms in their countries and mapping a way to work collaboratively across sectors. Traditionally, reforms are often undertaken by a variety of actors. These reform efforts are difficult to coordinate which makes it challenging to have a complete view of what has been accomplished. Without this view, it is equally challenging to identify gaps and plan for the future.
In response to this gap, Partners is currently working with many of the participants from the CESSR program and other experts to develop a Security Governance and Accountability Diagnostic Framework as a part of the Security Governance and Accountability Project (S-GAP). The S-GAP program and framework will help leaders from civil society, government, and the security sector evaluate the status of reforms as well as identify areas in need of improvement. Identifying these areas in need of improvement is essential in order to develop strategies for advancing reforms. This process is supported by the Global Peace and Development Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
To learn more about the CESSR program click here.
Peace and Governance Project- Senegal:
Partners is in the third year of a four-year program in collaboration with FHI 360 promoting greater transparency and accountability in Senegal. Our work has included forming a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to advocate for greater transparency in the extractives industry, support the process of the Government’s accession to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), strengthen the capacity of national oversight agencies and anti-corruption institutions, and continue to support reforms to address corruption.
New Developments and Upcoming Events
• The April 2013 Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum co-organized by Partners and the Alliance for Peacebuilding will highlight effective USG programs which prioritize citizen engagement in improving security as well as successful civil society – security sector collaboration from around the world.
• The Africa Team at Partners has submitted a proposal for the USAID Leadership in Good Governance in Africa (LIGGA) that will build upon the networks developed during the SSR Symposium in the Mano River Region and current effort to develop a security sector reform diagnostic framework. Continuing to concentrate our efforts on security sector reform in the Mano River region provides an exciting opportunity to contribute a stronger, more accountable security sector that is necessary for producing more stable, democratic states in the region.
For more information on any of these projects and events please contact:
Teresa Crawford, Director, Africa Region
phone: +1 202 469 3666 * fax: +1 202 939 0606