CBM’s West and Central Africa (AFWC) Regional Hub, based in Togo, represents 12 countries where we carry out our work - Guinea; Sierra Leone; Côte d’Ivoire; Burkina Faso; Togo; Benin; Nigeria; Niger; Cameroon; Chad; Central Africa Republic, CAR; and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and DRC.
CBM established its West and Central Africa Regional Office (CBM-AFWC) following the signing of a Cooperation Agreement with the government of Togo in February 1984.
Following a period of political instability from 1993 to 1996, CBM moved the entire regional office to Nairobi, Kenya to guarantee continuation of its activities. In 1996, one part of the office, the West Africa regional office returned to Togo after reestablishment of political stability. Since January 2016, the Central Africa regional office was again relocated to Togo thereby restoring the original West and Central Africa regional office of CBM.
AFWC role and responsibilities
The AFWC Regional Hub strives to:
- provide effective leadership to and line manage the Country Directors, and support them and their in-country teams in the region;
- ensure policies, standards and procedures are understood and adhered to at country level, providing the necessary support to and checks with the Country Offices; and
- support effective collaboration across various CBM entities in the delivery of CBM’s work in the region.
In addition to providing support to country offices in the delivery of CBM’s work in country, CBM AFWC manages important regional initiatives: Influencing policy for greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in laws, policies, programmes and practices of governments and other institutions at a regional level in partnership with the West African Federation of Persons with Disabilities (WAFOD); enhancing leadership and governance, strengthening capacity, and improving service delivery within the regional health system in partnership with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the health commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). CBM AFWC also maintains useful alliances and networks with regional offices of international organisations such as, the WHO, Humanity and Inclusion (HI), Sightsavers, Helen Keller International (HKI), the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), among others.
Key challenges of working in the region relate to high levels of poverty as evidenced by low ranking of all AFWC countries in the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). This challenge is reflected in the inability of AFWC governments to fulfil their development priorities and failure by donors to include disability in their financing. The nett effect is that, with the exception of mortality issues (Malaria, HIV/AIDS, etc.), resources allocated to disability programmes are negligible. Likewise, safety and security challenges revolve around religious and political instability thus curtailing subsistence and movement of communities and subsequently operations of partner organisations and CBM. Finally, due to years of underinvestment in social infrastructure (transport, communication, and generally the quality of life), effectiveness and efficiency of our work are often high relative to other regions.