Our mission is to promote and support open societies, inclusive democratic governance based on transparent and accountable institutions, active citizenry and economic advancement.
Through grant-making, research, advocacy, litigation, and the provision of technical support, we are committed to supporting and standing in solidarity with those who seek justice, accountability, equitable distribution of national wealth, sustainable and environmentally-friendly development, economic and legal empowerment, promotion and protection of basic rights, freedoms and liberties of its citizens and public participation.
Our theory of change is rooted in our belief that IF well-informed citizens are able to increase their participation in decision-making processes, AND governance structures, processes and regional integration mechanisms are strengthened and function more effectively in the best interest of the society AND the human rights of all its people, in particular the poor, vulnerable and marginalized are respected and protected, THEN this would contribute to making West Africa a freer, safer, more integrated, more equitable and ultimately more democratic and prosperous region.
Within this strategy, OSIWA aims to prioritize five key pillars:
- Economic Governance and Advancement – Our work under this theme will strive to reaffirm the imperative of economic advancement, accountability and equality, while supporting voices and providing alternative avenues to truly realize broad socio-economic rights for every West African. OSIWA will strive to put people at the forefront of all economic activities, including smallholder farmers and small agri-businesses that are affected by climate change and food insecurity, while helping to create opportunities for economic improvement and equitable tax systems and accountable investments of tax revenues. We plan to promote economic regional integration and the responsible management of natural resources.
- Justice Reform and Rule of Law – Our goal is to promote respect for the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice, particularly for poor and marginalized persons. We hope to reduce barriers to fair and accessible pre-trial justice systems. To do this, we will promote alternative sentences to detention; encourage the decriminalization of petty offenses and encourage synergies between formal and informal justice systems as well as better data management; and sensitize and advocate for reforms in the police.
- Journalism – OSIWA seeks to help local media organizations improve their ability to perform investigations into local and national governance practices, while increasing access to information among local populations and promoting a freer environment for journalists to work in. Key to this will be training journalists to better analyze forensic evidence and data, and improve the quality of their published works, while simultaneously ensuring reporters can share information without fear of reproach.
- Equality and Anti-Discrimination – The Foundation aims to support the enforcement of national and international standards on the protection of women and marginalized and vulnerable groups, and empower them to claim their rights. We also plan to promote citizenship rights and access to identification documents.
- Democratic Practice – OSIWA will support election promise tracking as a new form of citizens’ demand for accountability. We will help organize promise trackers and fact checkers in a practitioners’ network to share best practices on a regular basis. Linked to our anti-corruption work, we will work toward the effective implementation of political party and campaign financing provisions. We also hope to engage in work aimed at interrogating the current thinking on democracy in West Africa and provide platforms to debate and discuss how we can improve on it and look at the role of judiciaries and constitutional courts in the electoral process.