7 December 2017

East Africa: EA Civil Body to Advocate African Charter

Arusha — East African Civil Society Organizations' Forum (EACSOF) in collaboration with ActionAid's Global Platform will next week launch a three-year project for advocating African Charter.

The project, among others, will mobilise the East African Civil Societies (CSOS) to support African Governance Architecture (Aga) through advocating for implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) within the region.

The African Union (AU) adopted the ACDEG in January 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to promote democracy, rule of law and basic human rights, ensure democratic rule and constitutional changes of power through free, fair and transparent elections. Slated for December 11, 2017, at the East African community (EAC) Headquarters in Arusha, the grand inauguration of the project, will go alongside with three-day regional workshop, to create awareness to youth, journalists and civil society organisations.

EACSOF acting chief executive officer Martha Makenge told journalists in Arusha that the EA regional youth workshop will ponder, among others, the Aga, which is the overall continental framework for promoting, nurturing, strengthening and consolidating democracy and governance in Africa. The workshop will focus on six broad areas such as understanding Aga and ACDEG, youth activism in East Africa, enhancing Youth Leadership skills through efficient leadership and facilitation skills processes.

It will also cover campaign planning by developing youth critical pathway, tools for mobilisation, organising and engagement strategies and skills via creative activism and non-violent actions. "Public action based on the baseline to raise awareness on the Aga and advocate to the government to ratify, implement, and domesticate Aga will also be deliberated."

Ms Makenge noted.

For her part, the EACSOF Programme officer Lilian Alex said that at the end of the workshop they expect actionable recommendations grounded in a rights-based approach to youth political participation to improve.

"Enhanced capacity of youth-led or -focused organisations and networks to foster young people's participation in good governance and ensure accountability and transparency is also one of the anticipated outcome," Ms Lilian explained.

Other expected outcomes include the country and regional specific challenges and experiences related to meaningful youth participation in electoral processes and good governance are documented.

This is to provide baseline information and also disseminated to facilitate sharing of best practices and lessons learned among the AU Member States, chipped in George Awuor, the EACSOF Membership and Communications Officer.

The workshop will also deliberate on Intergenerational policy dialogue on youth in governance processes institutionalized at national and regional level programme.

"This should focus on equipping youth networks and organisation with necessary skills and capacities to program and meaningfully engage electoral processes and governments in East Africa" Mr Awuor stressed.

The East African Civil Society Organisations' Forum (EACSOF) is an autonomous umbrella body of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) in East Africa.

Its primary objective is to build a critical mass of knowledgeable and empowered civil society in the region in order to foster their confidence and capacity in articulating grassroots needs and interests to the East African Community and its various organs, institutions and agencies.

Founded in 2007, EACSOF exists to champion East Africa people-centeredness in the social, economic and other East African integration processes.

It also trains member organizations on human rights, good governance and policy engagement including civil society participation in trade negotiations.


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