Abuja, 10th February 2018. Focal points of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the field of substance abuse from ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania have called for the creation of the West African Network of Civil Society on Substance Abuse (WANCSA) in order to enable them coordinate their efforts towards drug prevention and treatment in the region.
This was agreed during a three-day capacity building workshop organized by ECOWAS and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the support of the European Union which ended on 9th February 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The workshop served to equip focal points from the CSOs with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop and carry out effective evidence-based prevention interventions as well as familiarize them with regional drug policies, prevention initiatives and best practices on data collection towards prevention program implementation
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, represented by Mr. Daniel Amankwaah stated at the close of the workshop that she was confident the skills and knowledge acquired by the CSOs will serve to reduce the effect of drug use on the society.
Also speaking at end of the workshop, the UNODC programme coordinator, Mr. Cheikh Toure noted that the exercise was the first of many more trainings for CSOs in the field of drug prevention and treatment. The involvement of the CSos, he added, stems from their relevance in the fight drugs.
The capacity building workshop is in line with the ECOWAS Drug Action Plan (2016-2020) and the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020) which aims to support ECOWAS in tackling the menace and effects of drugs on the youth and the society at large.