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Report from the African regional workshop on Protecting Civic Space
U.S. President Barack Obama hosted 47 African heads of state in Washington, DC on August 4-6, 2014 for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Civil society’s contributions to development and the trend of closing civic space in Africa were among the topics addressed during side events such as the Civil Society Forum. Convening a regional workshop focused on protecting civic space was among the key recommendations coming out of the Forum.
Participants in the Forum identified the need to deepen conversations, foster collaboration among key actors and to translate broader principles into actionable strategies for protecting civic space. To address this, the co-conveners held an African regional workshop on “Protecting Civic Space” on November 17-18, 2014 at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
The workshop included 48 participants, including 19 African civil society representatives from 14 countries in East, West, Central and Southern Africa and 9 Africans representing international organizations and donor agencies. One third of workshop participants are women. Participants were chosen based on their knowledge of key issue areas, experience in mobilizing civil society, history of engaging with government actors, influence on other civil society actors within their own countries and the region, and success in defending and/or expanding civic space.