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Accepted Paper:

Shrinking civic space and constraints on CSOs in conflict resolution efforts in Cameroon  
James Kewir Kiven (African Leadership Centre Trust, Nairobi, Kenya) Gordon Crawford (Coventry University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the challenges experienced by CSOs in Cameroon in their efforts to contribute to resolution of the 'Anglophone' conflict in a context of shrinking civic space.

Paper long abstract:

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Cameroon have been making significant efforts towards resolution of the conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon between armed separatist groups and state security forces. Yet such efforts are constrained in a context of ‘shrinking civic space’ that limits their activities. This paper situates the experiences of CSOs in English-speaking Cameroon within the shrinking civic space literature. It examines the constraints that they face, inclusive of government controls over movement; fragmented CSO-government relations; security threats from both warring parties; and lack of financial sustainability. Equally, the paper explores the range of strategies used by CSOs in attempts to mitigate and overcome such constraints, including: awareness-raising to improve the knowledge of local populations on conflict resolution initiatives; networking and coalition building with various local and international groups to garner solidarity; and training and sensitisation campaigns to develop critical consciousness around peacebuilding and human rights issues. The paper is based on primary data from a consultative dialogue workshop that brought together 15 CSOs from the two English-speaking regions to share and discuss their organisations’ experiences and challenges in the civil conflict situation, followed up with interviews with selected CSO leaders.

Panel P45a
Peacebuilding from below – the role of women groups and civil society in conflict resolution I
  Session 1 Monday 28 June, 2021, -