French-speaking Africa Workshop Report

The workshop “Sharing experiences and building advocacy capacities” was held in Rabat, Morocco from 17 to 19 July 2007. It was co-organized by Espace Associatif and the Social Watch International Secretariat with the collaboration of Oxfam Novib/Kic. The workshop brought together 22 activists from 14 French-speaking African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia and Kenya).

The workshop objectives were:
1) To exchange experiences on the use of advocacy tools such as budget analysis, shadow reports and social indicators.
2) To build capacities on the use of these tools and the economic, social and cultural rights approach (ESCR).
3) To build a sustainable network between Social Watch members and other civil society organizations of the French-speaking African countries.

The diversity in terms of working areas, expertise and cultural background of the participants allowed not only a fruitful exchange of experiences, but also to identify advocacy challenges at the local, regional and international level. In this sense a series of actions were proposed to continue beyond the workshop.

At the first session, we discussed the concept of advocacy and effective strategies for the different contexts of intervention. After that, Azzedine Akesbi from `Transparency Maroc', presented the ESCR perspective and Yaba Tamboura introduced the experience of the ESCR Malian platform. The group identified the need to integrate this approach in the daily work of their organizations. In this sense, an important conclusion of the session was the need to deepen the capacity building on ESCR in the region.

In the third session experiences of budget analysis and shadow reports were presented. Azzedine presented the experience of the analysis of the Moroccan governmental budget; Jean Mballa Mballa commented on the case of the education budget in Cameroun and Franck Kamunga presented a study of budgets from a gender perspective in the region. Also the examples on CEDAW* shadow reports in Mauritania, Morocco and Togo were very useful. In the last session Mariana Cabrera (SW Research team) presented the indicators produced by SW for monitoring governments’ performance in fulfilling their international commitments. The Social Watch members from Morocco and Benin present at the workshop commented on the importance of these indicators and the SW annual report of SW for their national advocacy strategies.

The participants produced a very good evaluation of the workshop and further contacts will follow via email. The workshop allowed Espace Associatif to address these subjects, not frequently present in the agenda in Morocco. Besides it was an excellent opportunity to learn from the expertises from other countries in the region and to demonstrate the need for the Moroccan and African organizations to strengthen their capacities, especially in ESCR perspective and budget analysis. Furthermore, the workshop enable SW International Secretariat to strengthen its bonds with the region and communications with the ‘old’ Watchers, and to identify the possibility of developing national coalitions in some countries where there was no SW presence to date. As well, it was an excellent opportunity to plan future joint actions.

Nicole Bidegain (Social Watch International Secretariat) and Christiane Dardé (Espace Associatif)

* The Convention on the Elimination of all the forms of Discrimination Against Women

  • Workshop documents (French)

Photo of the group

 Advocacy session



Practices on lobby for women’s rights

Practices on advocacy for children’s rights  

Practices on advocacy for economics’ rights  

Practices on civil society participation

 Economic, social and cultural rights session



Practices promoting ESCR

Practices on shadow reports

 Monitoring public policies and budget analysis session



Practices on monitoring the public policy from the local

Practice on budget analysis

 Social Indicators session



Practices on CEDAW indicators