From 3 – 5 December, 2018 The African Security Sector Network (ASSN) in collaboration with the African Union (DSD/CIDO/ECOSOCC) and Oxfam Novib held a workshop for selected Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Influencing Strategy for Security Sector Reform (SSR). Hosted at the African Union Commission in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the Influencing Workshop brought together CSO representatives from South Sudan, Somalia, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR) as well as representatives of the AU (DSD/CIDO/ECOSOCC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and staff of the ASSN and Oxfam.
The main objective of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of CSOs to develop and implement strategies aimed at positively influencing and engaging in Security Sector Reform. Discussions particularly focused on how CSOs can advocate for, and contribute to the various SSR interventions at the national and regional levels, and on identifying context-specific entry-points for effective CSOs engagement.
Overall, the workshop enhanced the understanding of participating CSOs on the practical framework to design and implement influencing strategies related to SSR.
The workshop was held within the framework of the project titled “Engaging Civil Society in Security and Justice Sector Reform” which was launched at the AU Commission in 2017 in partnership with the AU and Oxfam. The project is designed to enhance the capacity of CSOs to participate more meaningfully in the formulation and implementation of security and justice sector reform policies and programs and to foster people-centred security governance across Africa. The project further provides an opportunity to forge dialogue and a working partnership between CSOs, the AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs). The project is anchored in the relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the AU, the Protocol Establishing the Peace and Security Council, the Livingstone Formula, and the AU Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform (SSR), all of which underscore the critical role of civil society in efforts aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.
 DSD – Defence and Security Division, CIDO – Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organisations, ECOSOCC – Economic, Social and Cultural Council.