New project to set up early warning systems for conflict in West African elections


January 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC—Fifteen West African countries will receive support to prevent and manage conflict and violence through a new U.S. Agency for International Development program implemented by Creative Associates International.

The five-year “Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data in West Africa” project (called REWARD) will support the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) use of innovative technology and apply best practices to detect and respond to conflict across the region from political violence, violent extremism, and ethnic conflict to sectarian tensions, perpetration of atrocities and organized crime.  This assistance is from the American people.

“By enhancing the ability of ECOWAS to identify conflicts before they escalate and rapidly respond using a variety of political, security and assistance mechanisms, the project will support ECOWAS’ goal of catalyzing a sustainable culture of conflict prevention throughout West Africa,” says Tom Wheelock, Senior Vice President at Creative.

West African states have also experienced multiple outbreaks of election-related violence in recent years, which has prompted USAID and regional stakeholders to seek effective conflict prevention and mitigation mechanisms.

“REWARD presents the opportunity to build capacity in preventing electoral violence in four ECOWAS member states together with local partners in the region,” says Jeffrey Carlson, Director of Electoral Education and Integrity at Creative.

Civil society and ECOWAS member states will be key partners in helping to improve the effectiveness of conflict response initiatives.

Creative will carry out the project in partnership with two nonprofit organizations: Fund for Peace, a global leader in early warning and conflict assessment with experience in more than 50 countries; and Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, a leading peacebuilding implementer with programs in more than 25 conflict-affected countries.

Early warning & electoral violence expertise

Creative’s Electoral Education and Integrity Practice Area is a leader in international electoral monitoring and security, having conducted electoral security assessments in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Colombia, Haiti, Guatemala, the Philippines, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In May, Creative’s team piloted a unique early warning system using social media analysis to track incidents of electoral violence in Guyana’s national elections.

In partnership with USAID, Creative’s Electoral Education and Integrity team has published two handbooks on Best Practices in Electoral Security and an Electoral Security Framework. These handbooks lay out approaches to identifying risk factors for electoral violence, and designing and implementing strategies to prevent, mitigate and mediate it when it does occur.

About Creative Associates International

Creative Associates International works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in education, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace.

Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has active projects in more than 15 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in nearly 90 countries and on almost every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflict-affected environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.

Started by four enterprising women with diverse backgrounds, Creative has grown to become one of the leaders among the U.S. private sector implementers of global development projects. Creative is minority owned and operated.

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