Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso –Today in Ouagadougou, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), launched a five-year project: Mitigating Electoral Violence through National Early Warning Systems (NEWS). As part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to support the 2015 elections in Burkina Faso, NEWS 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,” stated Tulinabo Mushingi, the U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso. “It is our firm belief that strengthening early warning and response around this historic election in Burkina Faso, and other key elections in the region, will help to increase regional stability and reduce the potential for future conflict.” USAID is supporting broader participation in the democratic process by providing U.S. $2.5 million over a five-year period to enable WANEP’s extensive network of grassroots civil society organizations to identify potential triggers of violence in upcoming elections in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Sierra Leone. WANEP will assist the organizations by developing and monitoring a set of customized indicators and analyzing the resulting data. Their recommendations for conflict prevention activities such as mediation, peace messaging, and community dialogue will be channeled to a wide range of national and regional stakeholders including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for action.
Note to Editors: WANEP is a leading regional peacebuilding organization, founded in 1998 in response to civil wars that plagued West Africa in the 1990s. It is a network of more than 500 civil society organizations across West Africa dedicated to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit www.wanep.org. With USAID support, WANEP and ECOWAS launched the ECOWAS Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) in 2003, an unprecedented partnership in which community monitors from designated civil society organizations collect early warning information in real time and share it with ECOWAS using a common database. This activity is supported through the USAID West Africa Regional Office, whose goal is to promote social and economic well-being in partnership with West Africans. Spanning 21 countries, USAID/West Africa designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services. The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide. For more information please visit http://www.usaid.gov/west-africa-regional.