(AfDB ) - The African Development Bank Civil Society and Social Innovation Division organized a one- day “Civil Society Awareness Brown Bag Lunch” on 19 December 2018 at the Bank’s headquarters. The Bank, under the leadership of President Akinwumi Adesina, has gradually placed African citizens at the centre of its intervention strategy, making civil society a key partner to achieve greater results with lasting impact on the lives of Africans.
The meeting was the last of a series of consultation workshops conducted in each of the Bank’s regional offices. These workshops aimed at highlighting the need for the Bank to engage Civil Society in its’ work through raising greater awareness among Bank Staff around civil society engagement in the Bank’s operations and projects.
The “Civil Society Awareness Brown Bag Lunch” therefore provided an opportunity for over 30 operations staff and consultants to share experiences with civil society organizations (CSOs) and discuss how they can further incorporate civil society into their projects and policy dialogue in Africa.
On behalf of Vanessa Moungar, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Zeneb Toure (photo), Manager of the Civil Society and Social Innovation Division, opened the session.
“As a key continental institution that contributes to the economic development and social progress of African people, we have a shared responsibility to ensure effective development with lasting impact on the lives of the people we serve,” she said. Toure further stressed the necessity of “engaging with vibrant, dedicated and diverse civil organizations” to reach this goal.
Round table discussions and brainstorming with operations team members and task managers from the Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption (PIAC), the Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) and the Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (BCRM) provided participants with best practices, challenges and success on ongoing initiatives that engage civil society across the High 5 priorities.
Senior Civil Society Officer, François Traoré, presented the Bank’s Action Plan and tools to support mainstreaming civil society engagement (CSE) in the Bank’s policies, operations and project cycles. He explained the institutional arrangements for internalization of CSE in the Bank’s policies and operations. The need for a collaborative design of the action plan and the tools, and constructive feedback from staff to improve them was emphasized.
In her closing remarks, Touré highlighted the importance of institutionalizing civil society engagement in the Bank’s work to ensure social inclusion and knowledge sharing for effective delivery of its programs and initiatives. An effective engagement with civil society requires internal collaboration and constant dialogue with corporate units, departmental and sectoral experts.