Women Driving Change: The Journey towards Women’s Legal Empowerment in Bahrain

A small island situated in the middle of the Persian Gulf, the Kingdom of Bahrain is touted as one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East for women’s equality and advancement. It is a diverse and more religiously liberal country in comparison with some of her neighbors. Legally, Bahraini women are recognized in the Bahraini Constitution as equal to Bahraini men in “political, social, cultural and economic spheres of life, without prejudice to the provisions of the Islamic Shariah.” Bahrain is also a member of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and in 2017, adopted the unified Personal Status Law (PSL – known also as the Bahrain Family Law) – an important step in the protection of both Sunni and Shi’ite women under an inclusive legal framework, following trends in the region. Throughout 2020, the Supreme Council for Women took measures to protect these advancements and mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Persistent Challenges for Bahraini Women

Despite the gains made in the past 20 years, systemic barriers to women’s legal equality and empowerment continue to exist. For example, Bahraini citizenship for children is determined by the citizenship of the father. Bahraini women who are married to non-Bahraini men cannot pass their citizenship onto their children, leaving their children effectively stateless and without legal protection.

Some barriers were exacerbated by the restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. For instance, due to mandatory lockdowns and curfews in Bahrain, victims of domestic abuse were forced to reside with their abusers for long stretches of time. One such woman—who for security reasons will remain nameless—wished to obtain a divorce due to domestic abuse she was suffering during the pandemic. However, in Bahrain it is difficult both legally and culturally for a woman to divorce a man, including due to domestic violence. Legally, when a woman files for a divorce due to abuse, the process requires this same woman to first provide proof of the abuse or harm; her word alone is not sufficient. Therefore, women who are subjected to violence—including the woman mentioned here—are forced to first file a police report and a obtain a medical report, following a medical examination, to prove the harm in court. Additionally, the pandemic has delayed court hearing processes and prevented lawyers from meeting with clients.

Culturally, domestic violence is seen as a household issue. There is no official database with domestic violence statistics in Bahrain.  The stigma around reporting domestic violence exists, dissuading anyone from formally moving forward with the process. A man, on the other hand, can submit a request for divorce without even informing his wife and without any cause. 

An Opportunity to Advance Further Legal Reforms

Adopting the unified Personal Status Law in 2017 was a positive step towards women’s equality in Bahrain. Yet there are still improvements to be made, as was revealed by the impacts of the pandemic. Women-led local civil society organizations (LCSOs) are in the driver’s seat and are demanding further reforms. Since 2019, Bahrain’s women-led local civil society organizations have taken the lead on drafting amendments to the unified Personal Status Law and, in December 2020 they finalized a list of amendments to ultimately be presented to the Bahraini parliament for adoption in the future.

In the coming months, these LCSOs will launch a series of advocacy efforts aimed at the amendments’ adoption. This will begin by publishing the proposed amendments and meeting with relevant Bahraini authorities. The work of Bahraini women civil society leaders in the context of shrinking civic space demonstrates the power of long-term, collective efforts. The persistence, resiliency, and determination of this group drive the transformative change for a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous society.

by Jillian Slutzker Rocker   March 19, 2021

Tashkent and Los Angeles are some 7,204 miles apart, but if you ask a local leader from either city what their most pressing issue is, you will likely get a similar answer: being responsive to constituent needs amid competing demands.  

“The most important thing in local governance is communication and transparency,” said Anthony-Paul Diaz,  Executive Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. “I have 4 million bosses, and it’s my job to make them happy. We need to focus on the communities, listen to them, and deliver what they need.” 

Diaz shared his insight and experience in local government with more than two dozen new public councilors from cities across Uzbekistan, as well as state officials and civil society representatives, in a first-ever virtual exchange on good governance and civic engagement between the countries. The week-long exchange, coordinated by PartnersGlobal, was part of the USAID-funded Partnership for Innovation program, implemented by the Civil Society Development Association – ARGO and the national movement Yuksalish.  

“Everyone who is here is here not just because they want to share their knowledge but because they want to learn from each other,” said Roselie Vasquez-Yetter, Co-Executive Director of PartnersGlobal, welcoming the attendees to the event. 

She added that since the exchange was being held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more participants from across both countries were able to join, which would not have been possible with an in-person event. The virtual format also enabled Uzbek participants to journey across the United States from their own living rooms. 

Throughout the week, Uzbek and American participants from cities large, like Tashkent, and small, like Melrose, MA, shared experiences and best practices on topics such as engaging vulnerable populations, COVID-19 response, management of water and other natural resources, and overall constituent engagement. Uzbek public councilors explained to the American participants their role as volunteer organizations representing citizen and civil society perspectives to the government.  

Representatives of civil society organizations from both countries joined in to share practical examples of how partnerships between civil society and government can strengthen good governance, citizen engagement, and constituent services. 

Delivering to constituents 

Among both American and Uzbek participants, serving their communities in difficult times like the COVID-19 pandemic was a top priority. From offering psychosocial, medical, and material support to teaming up with local civil society organizations to reach vulnerable communities, participants discussed what approaches have worked best for them and what they have been able to accomplish.  

“We are very proud that our public council has undertaken the role of a coordinator of providing support during a pandemic,” said Marufjon Kokand, a member of the public council in the Namangan region of Uzbekistan.  

Zachia Nazarzai, Director of International Affairs, Policy, & Protocol in the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles, offered that this moment of local leadership stepping up could be an opportunity to reshape how government engages with citizens moving forward.  

“The changes we are making today are building the city for the next century,” she said. “We must embrace diverse ideas, experiences, and cultures in our community to transform how we operate to meet the needs of our residents, especially the most vulnerable, in this moment.” 

Local councilors in Uzbekistan, many of whom are new to their positions as public councils are a recent development in the country, asked their U.S. counterparts about the challenge of maintaining good relationships with citizens even when you can’t always deliver.  

City councilors from Melrose, MA in the U.S. suggested that being responsive, honest, and letting citizens know you have heard their concerns, even if there isn’t always an immediate solution, can go a long way.  

From the Uzbek side, Feruza Rashidova, Chairperson of the Commission on Social Development of the Tashkent Public Council, noted that the public councils could build trust with constituents over time. 

“The more challenges we overcome, the more trust we will build with the public, especially since the public councils are new here. We want to be constructive, and we need to be active,” she said.  

Participants also emphasized that local leaders must represent ALL constituents, not only those who are the loudest or most privileged, but also those whose voices aren’t always heard.  

“We can’t rely solely on community members coming to us, but we need to reach out to them and listen and learn from those who live in our city so we can really serve our community well,” said Dorie Withey, Secretary of the Melrose Human Rights Commission. 

Only the beginning for these new connections  

During the exchange, participants from both countries discovered many common challenges, such as responsive policy to climate change, and offered the tools and strategies they have used to overcome them.  And while the formal exchange is over, the informal dialogue between individuals and cities is ongoing.  

Uzbek participants, for example, offered to reach out the mayor of Tashkent to encourage the revitalization of its sister-city relationship with Seattle, after speaking with Fazliddin Shamsiev, the Vice President of the Seattle Tashkent Sister Cities Association. 

Jamila Asanova, Executive Director of Civil Society Development Association (ARGO), noted that while the virtual format meant more people could be included in this exchange it also means that connections can continue online long after the meetings have concluded. 

“It was my dream three years ago to do a virtual exchange,” she said. “My dream has become a reality.” 

  February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021, Tashkent, Uzbekistan–The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Partnership for Innovation Program teamed up with PartnersGlobal to facilitate a week-long virtual exchange on Good Governance and Civic Engagement that began today. Participants include members of Public Councils, State Administration, Parliament, and civil society organizations from Uzbekistan and the United States.

Through the virtual exchange, participants will learn about the work of City Councils, state authorities, and civil society organizations, including the methodological principles of public administration and professional skills of City Councils. The participants will become acquainted with good practices and lessons learned in developing, drafting, and implementing effective and inclusive public policies and comprehensive approaches and tools on public participation in policymaking and decision-making. Participants from Uzbekistan and across Central Asia can then apply the best practices learned in their work to advance civic engagement within their communities.

“We are excited to learn from the experiences of our peers in the United States and share their insights with colleagues across Central Asia. We are hopeful that this virtual exchange will strengthen the positive impact civil society can have on public participation in policymaking and decision-making,” said Partnership for Innovation Program, Chief of Party, Kaisha Atakhanova, about the event.


The USAID-funded Partnership for Innovation Program strengthens Central Asian civil society organizations for better engagement with their local and national governments to promote positive policy changes and improve the lives of citizens across the region. The $4.9 million program is implemented by the Civil Society Development Association–ARGO in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


  November 10, 2020

We are pleased to share with you an opportunity for local civil society organizations interested in participating in a capacity building process to strengthen their resiliency in the face of potential impacts of growing restrictions on civic space. The Resiliency+ Process, developed out of the need for a new organizational model to combat the rise of changing civic spaces around the world, will take selected organizations through a structured process to increase their organizational resilience over a period of 12 months. This opportunity is part of a larger initiative under the USAID-funded Enabling and Protecting Civic Spaces (EPCS) – Illuminating New Solutions and Programmatic Innovations for Resilient Spaces or INSPIRES activity.

Organizations based in Ecuador, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Serbia will be eligible to apply. At a minimum, organizations must be a locally registered civil society organization, have at least four years of experience, and be committed to the 12-month process. Please see the attached documents for more details.

If you’re interested in participating in this opportunity, please fill out this Google Form Application by 11:59 pm EST on the following dates:

  • Kenya: November 6th
  • Nigeria, Serbia, and Senegal: November 16th
  • Ecuador: November 27th
  • Georgia: December 1st

Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

Check the documents below for more details:

  May 26, 2020

Mariame Sow is just 19 years old, but she’s been advocating for the rights of women and girls in Guinea for nearly half her life. As part of the Young Women Leaders Club of Guinea, she and fellow activists serve as a lifeline for women and girls facing violence, abuse or forced marriage, all of which are illegal in the country.

Mariame Sow, 19, is an advocate for the rights and protection of women and girls.

Until recently, though, Mariame says her efforts to protect women and girls often unfortunately fell short, not for lack of commitment, but because she didn’t have the backing of police.

“We were poorly received, and we were being abused ourselves! We’ve often been slapped and were rejected,” she explains.

Today, women and girls in Conakry, where Mariame lives, and across the country have a powerful ally in law enforcement. Mariame says she sees local police as an invaluable partner to her mission.

“When we received the training from local police, we were able to make ourselves known to the Office of Protection of Gender, Children and Morals and become a partner for them…These new community policing units are essential for us! They are always available to us whenever we need them.”

In a recent case, a teenage girl contacted Mariame’s group to escape an upcoming arranged marriage to an older man. The girl wanted to remain in school, but her father was adamant she be married. The family refused to heed the warning of the Young Women Leaders Club of Guinea, until the group turned to the local police for backing. The father acceded, allowing his daughter to finish school and postpone the marriage.

Meeting a security need

Mariame’s experience in not unique. Over the past five years, in six regions of Guinea, police have increasingly moved from being distrusted by citizens to being seen as reliable allies of marginalized groups, youth, and the general population.

Behind this transformation is a national approach to improve police effectiveness and build citizen-police trust through more officer training, community-based policing, and positive community-police interactions. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, these efforts are part of the Partners for Security in Guinea program.

Police officers at a community event.

While government investment in the security sector writ large has climbed in recent years, little investment has gone to reforming police and developing a credible and capable police service. Ineffective policing coupled with rampant police corruption led to distrust of police among citizens.

The five-year Partners for Security in Guinea project is working to turn this tide by improving relationships between police and communities so they can work together to address security challenges.

Operating in Conakry and the regions of Kindia, Mamou, Labe, Kankan and Siguiri, the program supports the establishment of community-oriented policing through a two-pronged approach:

  1. Strengthening institutional capacity of the Guinea National Police and its leadership through training and institutional support; and
  2. Building community trust in police and increasing their awareness of the police and the community’s security rights and responsibilities.

Now in its final year, the Partners for Security in Guinea project has trained more than 1,600 police officers in community policing, administration and coordination of police services. It has supported the National Police in substantial reforms to make services more streamlined and accessible and facilitated ongoing community-police interaction and structures such as crime prevention councils. The program’s Community Safety Fund is supporting innovative local crime prevention initiatives across the country.

The project is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. It is implemented by a consortium led by PartnersGlobal and including COGINTACECIDE and Partners West Africa Senegal.

Community outreach leads to trust in police

Building citizens’ trust in police doesn’t happen overnight nor does it happen from a distance.

To earn people’s confidence, the Guinea National Police has focused on sustained engagement at the community level in schools, community meetings, with women’s and youth groups, and with local leaders. Through its school outreach initiative, police forces visited 27 schools and met with nearly 11,000 students.

At all of these sessions, officers get to know citizens, conversing about people’s security concerns or engaging in soccer matches, and spend time educating citizens on their rights, how to report a crime, and what they can expect in return form police. Police have even appeared on local TV and radio shows with these messages.

The government has also decentralized security, prioritizing local police units embedded in communities and giving local officers the skills and tools to support citizens.  Anti-corruption training is an essential topic in training.

On the community side, local leaders have stepped up as well, recognizing the important role citizens play in keeping communities safe. Every community where the project works now has a Crime Prevention and Community Security Committee, which works hand in hand with community police and helps facilitate police-community cooperation.

All these efforts have added up to a noticeable improvement in community security. Dondon Dansoko, Central Commissioner of the Municipality of Dixinn in the capital region of Conakry, says he’s seen a substantial change in how the citizens perceive and interact with the police. He recounts:

“There had been a real crisis of confidence since 2010. But the approach of creating a local police force was the solution to reconnect with the population. Before, it was the police that went to the population: today, it is the population that goes to the police…. On the police side, there is a marked improvement in the way the work is done.”

Kadiatou Diallo, Secretary General of Dixinn, adds, “We have succeeded in making the public understand that the police are not an adversary, nor an enemy, but a security partner.”

A long-term priority

At the national level, Partners for Security in Guinea is improving trust and cooperation of another kind—among government agencies.

Marie Gomez, Deputy Director of the national Office of the Protection of Gender, Children and Morals says her office can now work more effectively with other police units and officials to report crime and better protect vulnerable populations. She explains:

“When we have a criminal offense, we are required to arrest the presumed perpetrator…More often than not, when we send the summons, the person does not want to come. As soon as we see this, we then go to the local elected officials and neighborhood leaders. And since they too have received training, they bring the person arrested to us.”

Marie Gomez, Deputy Director of the national Office of the Protection of Gender, Children and Morals, says she is now better able to work with police to protect women and children.

Though Partners for Security in Guinea is coming to an end soon, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection Albert Damantang Camara says police reform and community-police trust will remain a priority, especially given the achievements so far. He says:

“This program allows Guineans to get closer to their police, which had not happened in a long time. It allows young people and women to express themselves and their concerns easily with police officers. It allows referring police officers to speak to students. In a nutshell, this project allows Guineans to become actors of their own security.”

Interviews by Isabelle Gayrard Auzet.

by Mishellt Melgarejo   November 25, 2019

Protests in Santiago, Oct. 22, 2019. Photo by Carlos Figueroa for Wikimedia Chile, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protestas_en_Chile_20191022_07.jpg

The escalation of protests and the military deployment to stop social demonstrations in Chile has made international headlines in recent weeks — not only because protest has not broken out in the country since democratic transition in 1990, but because these protests coincide with a wave of protests, political crises and social manifestations taking place across Latin America.

What prompted these protests and what does it mean for a country previously considered one of the most peaceful in South America? How will this relatively young democracy fare? If we look at the drivers behind this protest, we can begin to understand what this historic uprising might mean and how organizations like PartnersGlobal and Partners Colombia can help to manage this conflict peacefully.

When citizens needs go unmet

The outbreak of the protests came as a result of the President Sebasti√°n Pi√±era’s announcement that Metro fares would rise by 30 pesos, or about 5 US cents. The fare hike, though relatively small, must be understood in a context of mounting inequality and social dissatisfaction. It was a drop in a bucket of social grievances that then spilled over into the streets. As the protesters stated: “It is not for 30 pesos, it is for 30 years.”

The grievances that motivated many Chileans to raise their voices in protest have their roots, according to experts on the subject, in economic and structural models of institutions that were created in the transition from dictatorship to democracy. Among them is the inefficiency of the pension system, which protesters claim does not provide pensions that are commensurate with the long working years they spend contributing to social security.

Likewise, many Chileans feel dissatisfied with the health system. They denounce the price increase in health plans, poor coverage, low quality of hospitals and specialists, lack of protection and long wait times for care. As Pi√±era himself summed up in 2018, “more than three quarters of citizens are not satisfied with government health management and there are well-founded reasons for this.”

Adding to the drivers of unrest, the country’s capital has witnessed the inefficiency of the Transantiago subway system, which has encountered problems since its inception in 2007.

For residents of Santiago, this translates into long waits to take transportation and travel delays, which falls far short of the service expected given the steep subway ticket fees. In a study of the subway systems in 56 countries, Diego Portales University in Santiago found that Chile had the ninth most expensive transportation based on the average income of its inhabitants.

In addition, the public demands for quality education and social mobility are not being met, although these issues have been on the public agenda since the 2006 protests known as the “penguin revolution” and the 2011 movement protests. Some Chileans say that disparities in basic and secondary education generates segregation and barriers to social mobility.

All these problems have been fueled and permeated by cases of institutional corruption, tax evasion and abuse by companies that arbitrarily set production prices.

Bridging a protest-government disconnect

With so many tensions running high and protesters on the streets numbering in the millions, what does this all mean for democracy in the country?

According to Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, this crisis is a sign of a stagnant democracy, which is evidenced by an increasingly dissatisfied citizenship convinced that official channels are ineffective in satisfying their demands.

We have seen this in Chile through the collapse of electoral participation—in 1989, participation in the presidential election was close to 90 percent; in 2017 it dropped to just 50 percent. Confidence in the government has dropped dramatically from 32 percent in 2005 to 13 percent in 2015. More and more citizens are untying their allegiances and futures to the big political parties. In 2005, 48 percent of people chose not to identify with any political party, compared to 81 percent in 2015.

When institutional channels are not serving citizen needs and responding to problems, citizens go out to the streets to raise their voices in protest. As Seva Gunitsky, a political scientist at the University of Toronto puts it, this pattern is more likely to occur in countries where citizens have enough freedom and power to demand a change but not enough to obtain. These countries are usually the most susceptible to riots and protests.

In addition, social networks have become a catalyst for social disagreements, which makes it easier for individuals and groups to find supporters for social causes, thus making protests more likely to start and increase in size. Although despite the growing numbers, social movement that gain their momentum online are often more difficult to unite and keep together and often lack a plan for what comes next when the protests end.

So, although social manifestations are currently on the rise, not just in Chile but around the world, the protests are becoming less successful. According to a study by Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, just 20 years ago, 70 percent of the protests that demanded a systemic political change obtained it, however, after the mid-2000s, protestors’ success rate had plummeted to only 30 percent.

Similar to in Chile, several social grievances have emerged in Colombia. On Thursday, Nov. 21, a national mobilization called “National Unemployment Against Paquetazo de Duque” brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets to voice their demands for reform on labor, pensions, financial holding, privatizations, corruption, national tariffs, taxes, minimum wage, compliance with agreements and defense of social protest. A government issued curfew followed the day of protests, and unrest continues as citizens and the government look to determine what’s next.

If citizens do not see a place in political institutions to meet their needs, and protests, despite their growing numbers, are less effective at delivering change, then where do we go? Are we deadlocked into cycles of protest and repression? What process or institution can best respond to the needs of citizens?

We believe that although these protests constitute a challenge for democracy, it is in this context that organizations such as Partners Colombia, and in general the offices of the Partners Network in the world, become more important as facilitators and promoters of dialogue between different sectors. And where this conflict arises, as it inevitably will around the globe, we commit to continue working for dialogue, democracy and peace.

Mishellt Melgarejo is a Project Officer for Partners Colombia https://partnerscolombia.com/cms/partners_colombia/

by Athir Hatem   December 18, 2019

Years after toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, corruption remains one of the top concerns of Iraqi citizens. It has, thus, become a tradition for Iraqi governments to champion a resolve for ridding the country of this endemic. The previous and current governments are no exception. They recently announced their intention to launch a crosscutting anti-corruption campaign, promising an ultimate “triumph over corruption as Iraq did with Daesh (ISIS).”

According to a report by the Middle East Research Institute: “While laudable, such efforts will prove substantially difficult and would require a national program that upsets how major aspects of Iraqi politics have been practiced since 2003.”

Corruption and sectarian violence

In 2006, a bomb attack on an important Shia shrine in Samarra unleashed a wave of sectarian violence, which killed thousands of people and lasted until 2010.

During this period of high sectarian violence, corruption in Iraq largely worsened, as measured in a deteriorating score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and remained relatively poor throughout this period.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

The index measures perceived public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Perceived corruption was also high (measured in a low number on the scale) when ISIS emerged. What we can draw from this and the above correlation is that corruption often proceeds or coincides with other negative consequences, in this case violence and extremism.

Corruption and the rise of ISIS in Iraq

As seen in the chart above, ISIS emerged in a time when perceived corruption in Iraq was high, measured again by a low score on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Corruption in Iraqi army recruitment and promotions, the existence of ghost soldiers, and theft of weapons and supplies rendered the army — superior on paper — ill-armed, under-manned, and ultimately unable to halt the rise of ISIS. To stop the jihadi fighters, international troops had to return to Iraq a couple of years after a previous training mission had been concluded.

Now that ISIS is defeated, at least in military terms, acting forcefully against corruption is instrumental to achieving effective and efficient government. When there is corruption, the authority and credibility of the state and democratic institutions are at serious risk.

Acting to root out corruption is also important to maintaining security and stability in a post-ISIS Iraq. Corruption and bad governance were root causes not only underpinning the sudden collapse of security forces in Mosul and other Iraqi cities, but also underlying why citizens were so vulnerable to recruitment once ISIS declared its caliphates in the first place.

Corruption and the economy

Beyond the rise of sectarian violence and ISIS, statistics also show a correlation between Iraq’s gross domestic product and corruption. On average, when corruption lessens, as seen in a higher Corruptions Perception Index score, the gross domestic product climbs and the economy improves. In years that corruption worsens, evidenced in a lower Corruption Perception Index score, the gross domestic product falls.

Corruption has direct consequences on economic factors in the country and the health of the economy.

Protesters demand an end to rampant corruption

Given the widespread implications of corruption—a sluggish economy and hence high unemployment, an environment that fosters violence and susceptibility to ISIS—it’s no wonder that Iraqi citizens are speaking out against corruption,

On Oct. 1, 2019, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to call for an end to rampant corruption and chronic unemployment, which have since escalated into calls for a complete overhaul of the political system. Protesters have also taken aim at Iran’s influence, with Iraq’s top cleric warning foreign powers from interfering in protests.

Protests in Baghdad. Photo by Ali Dab Dab.

These demands have been met with a government crackdown resulting in hundreds of people dead and thousands injured.

But violence is certainly not the way to address these challenges or answer protesters demands. If Iraq wants to get at the root of many of its challenges without devolving into more violence or repression, it must tackle corruption head on. The costs in terms of jobs, lives and stability is too great not to.

Athir Hatem is a General Manager for Partners Iraq. Learn more here: https://www.partnersglobal.org/program/partners-iraq/. Follow Partners Iraq on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/partnersiraq/

  January 20, 2020

More than 100 representatives of the diplomatic community, the government of Burkina Faso, the country’s Defense and Security Forces and civil society will come together Jan. 21 in Ouagadougou to celebrate the growing relationship between the citizens of Burkina Faso and law enforcement around the issue of road security.

Hosted by PartnersGlobal and La Fondation pour la Securite du Citoyen (FOSEC), the Share Fair will highlight the success of the Roadmaps to Security project (Roadmaps) and the commitment of Burkina Faso’s government and citizens to work together to build trust and enhance road security, a major challenge in the country.

In addition to celebrating the achievements of Roadmaps to date, the event will encourage reflection and feedback from attendees, ensuring ongoing improvements to road security and continued cooperation around the issue. A panel of high-level government, law enforcement and civil society representatives will strategize particular approaches to help reduce national corruption and solidify the alliance between Defense and Security Forces (DFS) and civil society.

In recognition of the police and gendarmes’ efforts, the event will include a presentation of certificates of excellence. These certificates are awarded to the officials that civil society believed displayed outstanding service throughout the project. In addition, the Share Fair will hold theatrical and musical performances showcasing successes of the project in their communities.

Addressing road security from traffic accidents to violent attacks

The need to improve road security is vital in the nation’s current climate. Since April 2019, more than 250 citizens of Burkina Faso have been killed in summary executions and targeted attacks, primarily occurring on roadways. Armed groups, many of which have migrated from the neighboring countries, and armed robbers are the main perpetrators.

In efforts to seek protection, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) tripled in 2019 to almost 600,000. This mass migration has led to more people on roadways vulnerable to attacks. Law enforcement prevention of these attacks and response to road security incidents has lagged in recent years, leading to increased citizen distrust of security forces.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Roadmaps is responding to this critical gap, working to improve citizen security through stronger collaboration between law enforcement, civil society, and national and regional institutions. The project focuses on enhancing road security through transparent and effective response mechanisms.

While Roadmaps has a significant focus on traffic issues, its efforts extend further, working with law enforcement and citizens on ways to prevent road security challenges triggered by violence, trafficking, corruption, lack of governance, and migration flows.

When it began in 2017, the project conducted surveys to establish a baseline for the public’s perception of law enforcement. It found that public trust in law enforcement was low and few government ministries had designated representatives on road security issues.

Today, political buy-in and support for road security efforts is up, with the Ministries of Defense and Security each designating a focal point for Roadmaps, and elements of the Roadmaps project included in the country’s National Security Policy. The project has created many opportunities for collaboration between civil society and law enforcement, such as community events and school visits, resulting in stronger public support for working with law enforcement.

Community involvement and success in Cinkanse and Po

While many achievements will be shared at the Jan. 21 event, the cases of Cinkanse and Po stand out for their progress.

Located along borders with neighboring countries, these two cities are particularly vulnerable to security threats including armed attacks, which can significantly disrupt livelihoods.

Throughout 2019, residents of Cinkanse and Po carried out 39 unique activities to improve security and increase citizen-law enforcement cooperation.

These community-led activities included open days at Defense and Security Forces (DSF) stations, civilian vs. law enforcement football matches, teacher training on road security, DSF school visits, theatrical performances to educate citizens on road security issues, and more. They garnered greater than anticipated levels of community participation, including a wide range of ages and equal gender representation.

In both cities, Roadmaps conducted trainings for DSF officers on a new anti-corruption manual, which is based on previous DSF experiences and serves as a training module to prevent corruption and strengthen relations with civilians.

This improved DSF capacity and the strengthened relationship between the citizens and their law enforcement is a leading indicator of the success of Roadmaps and a source of motivation for the project team heading into the Share Fair and preparing for the year ahead

Check out news coverage from the event!

Le Faso.TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNV73O3JewU&feature=youtu.be

Burkina 24:



  March 11, 2020

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History month by asking our team to reflect on some key questions.

Check out what they had to say. #GenerationEquality

What progress have you seen on women, peace, and security?

What are some of the ways PartnersGlobal and the Partners Network work to advance women’s rights?

Why do you support women’s empowerment and gender equality?

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

What’s your International Women’s Day message?

Share a women’s empowerment moment that inspired you.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Why do we need more women in leadership?