The Africa Women Welfare Committee (AWECO) was created July 1998 in Danané, Ivory Coast, following a process reflecting on the living conditions of women and children in Africa, particularly in crisis situations. The organisation is based in Abidjan, with regional offices in Guiglo and Man.
Donating material at a local peacebuilding meeting
AWECO’s mission is to ensure that women and children’s rights are respected, to assist them in their primary needs as well as implementing mechanisms of conflict prevention through awareness-raising, training and capacity-building techniques. AWECO fights for those who are victims of poverty, injustice, exclusion and disease, especially HIV/Aids, but their main target are women and children. They also fight against gender-based violence and work in sexual/reproductive health, preventive health and social cohesion.
AWECO’s methods are primarily founded on a community-based approach, building awareness and training peer educators within communities on fundamental human rights and the initiation of income-generating activities. With 52 staff members, AWECO has excellent knowledge of local practices and customs and works to apply this in all its operations.
A market being constructed with the help of AWECO
Since its inception, AWECO has led a range of projects, including on:
- The local integration of refugees in Danané with community outreach, peace support and the establishment of income-generating activities common to host communities and refugees.
- A democracy project in Burkina Faso, promoting the participation of women in decision-making.
- Health issues including HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, malaria, and family planning in IDP camps, with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
- Repatriating IDPs and refugees, also with the IOM.
- Training and providing assistance for women who have suffered from war, in partnership with the UNDP.
- Leading major education programmes providing displaced children with a literacy education but also with training in trade as well as agriculture, with the funding of the Norwegian Council for Refugees.
Since 2010, AWECO has run a project on social cohesion and gender based violence with the UN Population Fund, providing training courses on conflict management and resolution. More than 30 peace committees and have been trained and installed in the Cavally and the mountain regions.
Several similar programmes have been launched with the UNHCR and other agencies since 2011, in the Cavally and Tonkpi areas. Several peace committees have been established in communities at risk of conflict, with more than 800 participants and local authorities trained in conflict prevention.