This strategy has been developed through extensive staff brainstorming sessions and a participatory process involving all staff at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and several OSI resource persons. This intensive planning process was informed by the October 2009 evaluation commissioned by the Office of International Operations of the Open Society Institute (OSI), and the shortcomings identified in OSIWA’s draft strategy and budget for 2010–2011.
In keeping with OSI’s guidance, it is a narrowly tailored strategy for ECOWAS-wide programming. It focuses the geographic scope of OSIWA’s work on nine countries, and identifies clear criteria for support and applicable approaches. Based on an analysis of the challenges and opportunities presented by the programming context of West Africa, the strategy focuses on three broad strategic outcomes:
- Strong governance institutions, processes and structures that are transparent, accountable, and intolerant of impunity;
- Vigorous capacity of civil society organizations and increased citizen participation in decision-making;
- Robust protection of fundamental rights and citizenship groups exposed to discrimination.
Region-wide programs will support the country programming across all the three strategic objectives, for which a detailed plan and budget has been developed. The country programs will be implemented in: Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. While OSIWA will maintain country offices in Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the rest of the country programs will be managed from the OSIWA office in Dakar.
Program coordination, collaboration and teamwork will be strengthened to improve workflow processes and to promote shared learning and communication across various functions within OSIWA. The strategy also seeks to build linkages at various levels: among the different strategic objectives, the country programs, OSI network programs and other OSI foundations. The strategy covers a two-year period, from January 2011 through December 2012.