The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new Civic Engagement Center in Wau, which will serve as a neutral platform for civil society to access information, share meeting space with other civil society organizations, improve communications between these organizations, and offer education to members of the local community.
The Civic Engagement Center will also highlight civil society’s work in conflict mitigation, reconciliation, transitional justice, the delivery of critical services, and other community-driven issues. “Communities throughout the country are looking for civil society organizations to represent their concerns and advocate for sustainable peace,” said U.S. Ambassador Mary Catherine Phee, who visited Wau July 28 to inaugurate the new center.
Civil society organizations directly support citizens by delivering key social services, advocating for important community issues, and serving as a key link between communities and government. However, many civil society organizations lack the resources to maintain permanent office space, access the Internet, or implement long-term programs that will raise community concerns and improve government responsiveness, particularly at the state level.
With USAID’s support, civil society organizations in Western Bahr el Ghazal will have access to free Internet with space to organize coalitions and implement programs that are important to the local community. The Wau Civic Engagement Center will now be able to promote an active civil society community that represents citizen needs and participates in public affairs.
The project is implemented by a consortium that includes Democracy International and the Public International Law and Policy Group. The project is operating a similar Civic Engagement Center in Juba with plans for an additional center in Yambio.