More than three dozen civil society leaders from across West Africa converged in Bamako April 24 for a two-day interactive event focusing on strengthening civil society organizations through the use of technology. Known as TechCamp Mali, the seminar is sponsored by the Community of Democracies and the U.S. Department of State.
The Community of Democracies is a global intergovernmental coalition of states, founded in 2000 to bring together governments, civil society and the private sector in the pursuit of a common goal: supporting democratic rules and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world.
TechCamps provide civil society representatives with training on new technologies and platforms to improve their effectiveness and increase their impact in their home communities. Trainings focus on applying new technologies to diverse areas, such as promoting democratic governance, facilitating interactions between governments and civil society, and improving government transparency.
A growing number of initiatives of the Community of Democracies has focused on protecting and enabling civil society. These projects are driven by an understanding of the fundamental role that civil society plays in democracies. Other TechCamps will be held in various other countries and regions of the world and include Botswana, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, and Estonia. Civil society representatives from the regions will participate in the consultations and help the Community to increase its dialogue with NGOs, while also creating regional networks of civil society organizations.
The group of participants in TechCamp Mali includes 25 Malians and representatives from seven other Francophone African countries.