WANEP Executive Director, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze delivering his address at the Book Launch
The Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze has said that WANEP is still the leading peace building organization in Africa going by the bold steps the organization has taken in recent times. He said this at the occasion of the launch of the WANEP publication titled Strides and Strains of CSOs in West Africa: the WANEP Story and unveiling of its permanent Regional Secretariat on February 2, 2017. The two ground-breaking events were performed by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Marcel Alain De Souza, President of the ECOWAS Commission.
Commenting on the significance of these epoch-making events, Mr. Eze said “With these events, WANEP has sent key messages about its strength, structure and organizational ability.”
The Book launch and official office opening was witnessed by representatives of civil society organizations including staff and Board chairs of all WANEP national networks, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, international development partners and former staff of WANEP The highlight of the event was the presence of the two co-founders of WANEP; Dr. Sam Gbaydee Doe and Honorable Emmanuel Bombande who were the first and second Executive Directors respectively. The two visionary and inspirational leaders went down memory lane to recall the idea behind the establishment of WANEP.
The WANEP publication is a microcosm of practical peacebuilding and the challenges of running a network organization using the WANEP experience. It provides the platform for the organization to share its experiences in peacebuilding, networking and institutional development including successes, challenges and its legacy in the Civil Society sector. Commenting on the book, the Executive Director said the book is coming at an auspicious time in the life of the organization, adding “WANEP is going through a consolidation process and establishing itself as an organization that is driven by vision rather than merely projects.” He stated further that “WANEP is the story of Africans, by Africans and for Africans and has become an attitude rather than just an organization!”
Historic moment: Current WANEP Executive Director, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze (fist left) with WANEP co-founders, Dr. Sam Doe, first Executive Director (Middle) and Hon Emmanuel Bombande, second Executive Director (right)
The ground-breaking event was preceded by the 14th General Assembly of WANEP which held on January 31 and Feb 1, 2017. Mr. Eze reiterated that the General Assembly presents a historic opportunity to build on WANEP’s achievements in the past 17 years in line with current global dynamics. The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of WANEP and it brought together WANEP staff and Board chairs from across the 15 national networks. It provides a platform where key decisions and policy direction are initiated and unanimously agreed upon for the smooth running of the organization. Part of the achievements of this year’s meeting was the emergence and inauguration of a new Regional Board Chair and Vice-Chair. Mr. Eze attributed the success of the smooth change in the internal leadership and transition of the organization as a testimony to “its unity, reconciliatory prowess and ability to withstand challenges.”
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