Programme : Governance

In recent years peaceful and credible elections without post-electoral crises have contributed to democratic change of government in most countries in the region (Senegal, March 2012; Mali, August 2013; Nigeria, March 2015; Guinea, October 2015; Benin, March 2016; Niger, March 2016; Gabon, August 2016; Ghana, December 2016). Authoritarian regimes came to an end in Burkina Faso (October 2014) and Gambia (December 2016).


Over the past decade, West African countries have made visible progress in the field of governance. However, beyond the ritual of the ballot box, ‘good governance’ is often lacking. The executive may lack power, leading to weak rule of law or even collapse of the state (Mali, Guinea-Bissau); some leaders have imposed or consented to the loss of national sovereignty, handing over responsibility for security to foreign armed forces; some leaders and state bodies have been implicated in illegal trafficking of arms, drugs or migrants. Elsewhere it is parliamentary power that is weak, with corrupt parliaments and national assemblies that are mere echo-chambers. Or it may be the judiciary, perceived by litigants as corrupt, dependent on the executive and powerless to establish equitable transitional justice mechanisms in countries emerging from conflict (Mali, Cote d’Ivoire).


Poor governance has impacted on all development sectors: health, during the Ebola crisis; education, with poor performance in the sector ranging from the low educational level of girls to the sale of already-devalued diplomas; agriculture, with the exploitation of small farmers.  Poor governance affects all levels, not just the national level but also the local level with local issues such as management of natural resources or local budgets, and the regional level, where for example a discredited head of state may become president of the Economic Commission for West Africa.



PIWA works towards responsible and participatory governance, where decision-makers are accountable to citizens and citizens participate in the making of decisions which concern them.


PIWA’s activities towards this goal include:


  • Supporting mainstream and local media to hold decision-makers accountable: scrutinising government action at the national level through investigative journalism, parliaments through parliamentary reporting, and reporting and debates on local radio
  • Strengthening the capacities of civil society and grass-roots organisations to participate in public and media debates, particularly on community radio and in social networks
  • Fostering debate between decision-makers and civil society organisations – from national debates on radio and TV, through physical debates, to debates in citizens’ radio clubs


Since it was founded, PIWA has carried out projects to promote democratic governance in nearly all the countries of West Africa, on different topics.


Citizen media for participatory environmental governance in Senegal

Poor governance is endemic in Senegal, with a culture of corruption at all levels of government. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change (floods, rising sea levels, landslides and drought) worsen socioeconomic fragility.  Together these have a negative impact on the environment.

Forest resources are a major source of income, bringing in three billion 3 billion what ? a year, but the granting of forest exploitation licences is not transparent, nor is the division of resources among the state, collectives, communities and private entrepreneurs.

A legal and regulatory framework for managing the environment exists, but it is inadequate. At local and national level, integration of the environmental dimension into policy making is progressing slowly. (For example, a law on land ownership was abandoned).

Parliament should be able to check the power of the executive and put pressure on the government to demonstrate clarity and transparency in the management of the environment, but initiatives in this direction are rare, almost non-existent. Parliament does not fully exercise its constitutional functions of scrutiny, legislation and representation of the people. A perfect example of this is that since 2016 the national assembly has blocked a proposed coastal law.  

The judiciary, which should support the quest for transparency and accountability in environmental governance, struggles to fulfil its role of balancing powers and applying existing law. Thus environmental damage and degradation continue unchecked - deforestation in Casamance, fraudulent mining of sand at Guédiawaye, dumping of toxic industrial waste in the bay of Hann, and the construction of a national stadium in an important green area of the technology park at Pikine.

Civil society organisations such as youth organisations, which should be conducting citizen scrutiny of public authorities at local and national level, produce disappointing results. Their initiatives and their denunciations of environmental damage and degradation are barely heard, because they lack capacity and means for communication, through either old or new media.

The media devote about 1% of their space to the environment, and are interested only in extreme situations like the killing of 15 forestry workers in Casamance. They seek the sensational, instead of providing quality information to denounce infringements and contribute to raising communities’ awareness of environmental issues.

In response to these and other challenges, PIWA launched the project Citizen media for participatory environmental governance in Senegal, with the support of the European Union. The project aims to strengthen young people and media to raise citizens’ awareness and foster democratic, participatory and responsible governance of the environment in Senegal.

Pour atteindre ces résultats, l’IPAO la stratégie d’intervention de l’IPAO est :



  • 3 ateliers de formation de 22 acteurs médiatiques pendant 3 ans
  • 1 atelier de formation des formateurs en direction de 30 jeunes sur les médias sociaux
  • 90 sessions de démultiplication sur l’utilisation des médias sociaux auprès des jeunes



  • 30 dossiers exhaustifs sur la déforestation, l’assainissement et la pollution
  • 72 reportages radiophoniques sur les bonnes et mauvaises pratiques environnementales
  • 100 vidéos de jeunes sur les initiatives citoyennes en faveur de l’environnement
  • 100 vidéos de jeunes dénonçant les dégradations de l’environnement
  • 1 film valorisant les initiatives citoyennes environnementales  



  • 240 débats radiophoniques sur les politiques environnementales à l’échelle locale
  • 2 fora multi-acteurs /an sur l’environnement au niveau local
  • 12 débats virtuels sur les questions environnementales au Sénégal


  • 1 manuel pratique sur le journalisme en environnement
  • 3 dossiers de presse réalisés par les chercheurs en environnement  pour les journalistes
  • 1 cartographie des études d'impact environnementales et des centres de recherche
  • 1 cartographie des initiatives citoyennes en faveur de l'environnement ....


1.To provide information on environmental issues and policies at national and regional level, particularly on deforestation, sanitation and pollution 
  • 22 media actors trained on environmental issues
  • 22 community radio animators trained in techniques of reporting and holding debates; 10 local correspondents trained in innovative media techniques (fact-checking; mobile journalism)
  • 1 practical manual on investigative journalism
  • 3 dossiers produced by researchers, aimed at journalists
  • 1 mapping of environmental impact studies and research centres 
2. To strengthen the capacities, especially of young people, to monitor and raise awareness through media on the development and implementation of national and local environmental policy, particularly on deforestation, sanitation and pollution
  • 30 future young trainers introduced to community management
  • Around 4050 young people trained in use of social media and introduced to environmental issues in Senegal
  • 200 videos made and shared through young people’s social media on good and bad environmental practices
  • 1 mapping of citizen initiatives to protect the environment
  • 1 film promoting young people’s media productions on environment issues
3.To strengthen dialogue between communities and decision-makers on environmental policies and issues 
  • 240 radio debates produced by community radio stations
  • 6 multi-stakeholder forums on environment issues at local level
  • 3 meetings of a multi-disciplinary scientific committee
  • 12 virtual debates organised on the fringes of local environmental fora 


Partenaire financier: 


Media and transitional justice in Mali
Période : Juin 2014 – Sept 2015

Voices of women and young people against Ebola in Guinea
Période : Nov 2015 – Mars 2016
Bailleur : [UNESCO ]

Women and Media: partners for better governance in West Africa
Période : Mars 2013 – Fév 2016
Bailleur : [Union Européénne ]

Media for transparency and citizen monitoring in the management of public resources
Période : Déc 2010 – Déc 2013
Bailleur : [Ambassade Pays bas ]

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