Advocacy Seminar Held in Berlin for French-Speaking Sub-Saharan Africa Members
In the margins of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, member organizations of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (World Coalition) and FIACAT’s African ACATs (Féderation international des Action des Chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture) met in Berlin, Germany for an advocacy seminar.
Requested by member organizations and partners, the seminar allowed participants to consider, in part, regional similarities on the fight for abolition. These similarities allowed for deeper discussion on tactics and strategies that may be transferrable from country to country. Over the course of 3 days an average of 34 participants joined the training, 14 of which were women participants representing 14 target countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
Three Day Seminar
The seminar took place from 11-13 November 2022, starting a few days before the opening ceremony of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty. The seminar’s agenda was rich in diverse advocacy subjects that had been selected by the participants during the summer months following a survey launched by both the World Coalition and the FIACAT. The agenda included discussing how to identify and research critical information that improves the quality advocacy work, learning how to work with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, and understanding how to incorporate gender-based awareness into abolitionist actions and strategy.
The seminar also offered very practical guidelines to participants on project management, non-profit budgetary structures and working with donors, including a lengthy dive into the logical framework many donors require to show the logical progression of a project to achieve its goals.
The speakers of the training were as varied as the subject matter. Both staff from the World Coalition and the FIACAT led modules on areas of their expertise, as well as highly instructive presentations delivered by the participants themselves. These presentations dove into advocacy case studies, highlighting successes, setbacks and learning curves that the other participants could take note of in their own work. Case studies were presented from Niger, the Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic and Cameroon.
Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The last day of the training focused on the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa. The push to reignite the support of this draft protocol came directly from African partners on the ground and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights who see the importance of a regional protocol for African nations who have abolished the death penalty. To support the adoption of the draft protocol at the African Union, participants met in groups to edit advocacy tools and brainstorm realistic advocacy steps in the draft protocol campaign to obtain support in their own countries, particularly those who are abolitionist and primed to support it.
This discussion proved to be an important regional specificity of the seminar, as out of the 14 countries represented, 10 were abolitionist.
Participants left the seminar feeling positive about what they learned. “Almost all my expectations were clarified… I am going back to my country with a lot of knowledge about the abolition of the death penalty which obliges me to strengthen advocacy in this area”, stated a participant from Togo.
Following the seminar, the participants joined other stakeholders at the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty.
Photo: Participants split into groups working on research practical exercises. Copyright World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, November 2022.