Abidjan – Today the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), launched a five-year project called Mitigating Electoral Violence through National Early Warning Systems (NEWS). As part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to support the 2015 elections in Côte d’Ivoire, USAID and WANEP will collect and analyze information on possible triggers of electoral violence, and develop recommendations for peace building activities to help prevent or contain the outbreak of electoral violence.
“While many factors contribute to political instability and national conflict, research has shown that large-scale violence and instability have frequently been sparked by elections,” said Andrew B. Haviland, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire. “It is our firm belief that strengthening early warning and response around this crucial election in Côte d’Ivoire, and other key elections in the region, will help improve stability by reducing the potential for future conflict.”
USAID is supporting broad participation in the democratic process by providing $2.5 million USD over a five-year period to enable WANEP’s extensive network of grassroots civil society organizations to identify potential triggers of violence in the upcoming elections in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Sierra Leone.
USAID’s Electoral Violence NEWS project will assist community organizations to identify potential conflicts through careful monitoring and analyzing the resulting data. If monitoring reveals a heightened risk of violence at any point in the election cycle, WANEP will develop recommendations for peace building activities to prevent it, and will channel these recommendations to targeted national and regional stakeholders for early action before the situation escalates.
The Executive Director for WANEP, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze, expressed appreciation for the support provided by the American people. He said, “This investment will enable WANEP to work towards a violence-free, credible and transparent election in Côte d’Ivoire. Recent elections in Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana have provided the basis to believe that Africa and its citizens can get its elections right through the right partnerships and support.”