CSO Stakeholders Seek Concerted Efforts To Restore Civic Engagements Amid Political Crises In W’Africa

CSOs Seek Intergenerational Collaboration, Youth Empowerment In W’Africa

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Civil society stakeholders have called for intergenerational collaboration and youth empowerment in the sub-West African region. The was called for at the West African Civil Society Week ’23 with a thought-provoking panel discussion titled “Civic Space in West Africa: Intergenerational Reflections on the Journey So Far and the Future Ahead.”

Held at the prestigious Lagos Mariot Hotel in GRA Ikeja, Lagos State, the event brought together influential voices from across the region to deliberate on the role of youth and the importance of collaboration between generations in shaping the future of West Africa.

The plenary session aimed to dissect the trajectory of civic space in West Africa, explore the factors contributing to the current state, and chart a course for the future. The discussion also delved into strategies from the past that could inform the region’s path forward and identified innovative approaches to address present challenges.

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The panel discussion resonated strongly with the audience, shedding light on the potential of intergenerational collaboration in driving positive change. As West Africa continues to navigate the complexities of civic space and democratic progress, the insights shared during this session are expected to influence policies and initiatives aimed at fostering a more inclusive and sustainable future for the region.

Ms. Alphia F. Komoko, Naymote’s partner for democratic development from Liberia, emphasized the potential of Africa’s youth. She stated, “I believe Africa is blessed with so many natural resources. One thing we should look into more is the youth. In looking at the youth, we look towards educating them among others. There should be programs to engage and empower the young people by the older ones.”

Mr. Ouattara Diakalia, Executive Director of the Platform for the Economic Social and Cultural Development from Cote d’Ivoire (PDESC-CI), stressed the necessity of collaboration between generations.

He asserted, “We cannot construct things without including the young ones. The young ones who value the culture of democracy. The young ones should also not think they can achieve what they want without the assistance or impact of the older ones. What we need now is a bridge to connect. There is a need to achieve our relevant goals together.”

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Highlighting the importance of responsible youth engagement, Mrs. Ayo Obe, a prominent Lawyer and Human Rights Activist from Nigeria, urged young people to focus on solutions. She said, “The young people should be asking what brings about the choice of a leader… it should not be more about us being in the limelight but about us providing solutions to challenges.”

Dr. Catherine Aniagolu-Okoye, Regional Director of the Ford Foundation in West Africa, challenged assumptions about generations. She emphasized the significance of purpose and cautioned against a single-minded pursuit of wealth among the youth.


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