The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung collaborates with partner organisations on a long-term, project-related basis across the region, organizing events with local partners as well as independent events. The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung partners with NGOs and social movements, academic institutions and trade unions as well as youth and local organizations. These groups, initiatives and organizations tend to belong to the left-wing, extra-parliamentary spectrum critical of the ruling powers. In various ways, they all help strengthen democratic processes across the region.
The West Africa office engages in the following key activities:
Young people and politics: The majority of the West African population is 16–35 years old. However, young people are hardly represented by the political systems of the region’s countries, and they rarely join organisations or movements. Young women are even less likely to do so due to social constraints, compounded by the fact that they are often denied access to education. With seminars, training sessions, workshops and group events, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung aims to strengthen existing organizations and inspire young people to become politically involved.
Workers’ organizations and social justice: The broad range of social conflicts across the region is often an expression of social problems, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities. Ossified political systems and their close ties to economic sectors only add to these problems. There are few civil society organisations, and those that do exist are often connected to the political class. Independent trade unions therefore play a crucial role in calling for political accountability and fighting social inequality. In this way, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung strengthens civic education on workers’ rights as well as economic and social policies, and supports the structural organization of work and strategic alignment in the face of a large informal sector.
Resource booms, vulnerability and development: the number of industrial mines has risen in recent years across many West African countries. Increased exploitation of natural resources could help boost state revenues and provide the funds needed to address social issues. However, citizens and affected groups are too rarely invited to contribute to decision-making processes. Large areas of land once used for subsistence farming have been lost to mining or agribusiness corporations, which limits access to food and drinking water. Often, their activities have a disastrous impact on the environment. The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung fosters participation, especially that of affected populations and civil society groups, and promotes alternative forms of natural resource management.