Case Studies

Supporting dialogue on SSR in Ghana


The first peaceful transfer of power in Ghana from one elected government to another occurred in January 2001 when opposition leader John Kufuor became President. Part of the remaining challenge of democratic consolidation was full civilian, democratic control and further professionalisation of the security sector.

Entry point

Through the good relationship developed by the UK defence attaché with senior figures in the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ghanaian armed forces, the UK Security Sector Development Advisory Team was invited by the Ghanaian MoD to advise them on how to develop a human resources management and development strategy for the civilian component of the MoD. It became clear that before such a strategy could be developed, there was a need for greater clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the civil wing in relation to its military counterparts. The process of helping Ghanaian partners think through what these roles and responsibilities might be provided an opportunity to draw upon the experiences of other African countries that had strengthened the governance and management structures of their own security systems. It also enabled broader participation among Ghanaian stakeholders in this debate, including the wider security system, parliamentarians,
academia and relevant civil society organisations.

Lessons learned

Build networks through dialogue — Through the participation of a wide range of stakeholders in a series of workshops, greater understanding of SSR issues was developed, and a network of those interested in supporting progressive change was established. It was through this network that a locally designed and led course on security sector governance and management was developed. Delivered by an alliance of local institutions, the annual course is managed by a steering team jointly chaired by the Office of the President and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service.

Empower and strengthen local organisations — The series of workshops was organised by a local NGO called the African Security Dialogue and Research. ASDR built upon its extensive contacts and local knowledge to ensure a tailored approach that was effective in guiding the agenda forward within a complex political environment. Its engagement in this programme has helped them build trust, credibility and relationships with a range of individuals and organisations across government and beyond. This is reflected in the fact that the Parliamentary Defence and Security Committee later asked ASDR to provide a series of seminars and training for parliamentarians.

Flexibility — The willingness to adapt to a changing environment and to take opportunities as they arose was crucial to the successes that were achieved through this initiative. Although the initial objective of supporting a signifi cant enhancement in the capacity of the civilian wing was not fully realised, real progress was made in areas that were not originally envisaged, such as catalysing a public dialogue on security issues that in turn help catalyse broader reforms.

Build on ongoing initiatives and link to wider processes — Directly linking the initiative to the ongoing cross-government civil service strengthening programme was important in placing change within the MoD in the wider context of public sector reform and in broadening participation in the process to include those from outside the security system.


The Security Sector Governance and Management Course which is delivered by ASDR, Ghana University and the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration is now well established and provides an important forum for building understanding and promoting discussion on a range of security and justice issues. Enjoying high-level support and profile, the course is helping Ghanaians to lay the foundations for greater governance of their security system, and therefore in consolidating Ghana’s democratic transition.

*From the OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform: Supporting Security and Justice 

case study


Tool 1 : Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes

Tool 1 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa by DCAF addresses political will and national ownership, fundamental requirements of SSR processes.

Without the strong political commitment of national authorities, SSR will fail, regardless of the material resources and technical expertise invested into it. SSR must be home-grown, designed to meet country-specific needs, and led by national stakeholders who take full responsibility for it. For SSR to produce sustainable results, it is also essential to ensure the active involvement of a critical mass of citizens - men and women - from all strata of society in the definition and implementation of a reform agenda that reflects a shared vision of security. Unless it relies on an inclusively defined and widely shared vision of security, SSR cannot succeed.

Acknowledging the challenges that may arise in the process of operationalising these principles, Tool 1 offers practical guidance on how to reinforce national ownership and leadership while defining an inclusive, national vision of security as a basis for a security sector reform. It provides an overview of potential entry points for SSR in the broader framework of national governance in a West African setting. It also suggests how to institutionalise the national leadership and coordination of an SSR process, including through strategic communication.

The Tool is primarily intended for policy and other strategic decision makers, government officials involved in security sector governance, national SSR advisers and practitioners. It will also provide members of parliament, other oversight institutions, civil society organisations and development partners with an overview of the responsibilities of the executive in SSR and how to uphold national ownership throughout the process.

For more information on the tool Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes, kindly follow the link to the DCAF website.

Follow the links to access the other documents in the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa: 

Tool 2: Security Sector Reform Programming

Tool 4: Effective Management of External Support to Security Sector Reform

Tool 6: Civil Society Involvement in Security Sector Reform and Governance

The publication is also available in français and português.


Tool 2 : Security Sector Reform Programming

The conduct of an SSR process requires translating a political, national vision of security into an operational programme and defining the different concrete actions needed to generate the desired societal change and improve security for all. SSR programming provides tools both to determine the nature of the change sought in the functioning of the security sector and to plan implementation in a structured manner that is measurable over time.

Tool 2 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa addresses the successive programming steps that enable the development and rolling out of a context-relevant SSR programme. These steps range from an initial needs assessment to the setting up of coordination mechanisms aimed at ensuring overall coherence of national SSR efforts. The Tool offers practical advice for prioritising and sequencing reform actions, budgeting the programme and mobilising the resources necessary for its implementation, establishing viable and efficient management mechanisms, coordinating national and international actors involved in the implementation of the programme and developing a communication strategy to support transparency and sustain national ownership.

For more information on Tool 2 : Security Sector Reform Programming, kindly follow the link to the DCAF website.

Follow the links to access the other documents in the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa: 

Tool 1: Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes

Tool 4: Effective Management of External Support to Security Sector Reform

Tool 6: Civil Society Involvement in Security Sector Reform and Governance

This publication is also available in français and português.


Ferramenta 1 : Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Esta ferramenta 1 « Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança », parte da « Caixa de Ferramentas para a Reforma e Governação do Sector de Segurança na África Ocidental », fornece orientações práticas para as autoridades nacionais da África Ocidental sobre como abordar a RSS de uma forma que demonstre liderança e garanta uma apropriação nacional inclusiva. Ressalva a importância da vontade política na formulação de políticas relacionadas com o sector de segurança, a necessidade de envolver actores não-estatais não só na fase inicial, mas também durante todo o processo de reforma, e a necessidade de articular a RSS com outras políticas e reformas à escala nacional. A ferramenta também se debruça sobre o papel desempenhado pela CEDEAO, que apoia os estados-membros na construção de processos de reforma endógenos. Aborda igualmente os desafios práticos que as autoridades nacionais poderão vir a enfrentar na concepção e implementação de processos de RSS, propondo também soluções para enfrentá-los.

A ferramenta pretende ser um recurso para os responsáveis pela tomada de decisões estratégicas, funcionários governamentais, consultores nacionais e outros profissionais de RSS. Também disponibilizará aos membros do parlamento, a outras instituições de supervisão, às organizações da sociedade civil (OSC) e aos parceiros de desenvolvimento uma visão geral das responsabilidades que o poder executivo tem na RSS e sobre como garantir a apropriação nacional ao longo do processo.

Para maiores informações sobre a Ferramenta 1 : Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança, siga o link para o website do DCAF.

Por favor, siga o link para ter acesso às outros documentos da Caixa de Ferramentas para a Reforma e Governação do Sector de Segurança na África Ocidental: 

Ferramenta 2 : Programação da Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Ferramenta 4 : Gestão Eficaz do Apoio Externo à Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Ferramenta 6 : Envolvimento da Sociedade Civil na Governação e Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Esta é a versão em Português da publicação. It is also available in English et disponible en français.



High Level Panel Session on SSR (East Africa): Regional and International Support to National SSR (Session 6: 03-10-12)

Moderator: Dr. Mark Downes, Head of DCAF’s International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT)

Mr. Joel Hellman, Director, Global Center on Conflict, Security and Development, the World Bank
Mr. Aeneas Chuma, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Kenya
Professor Eboe Hutchful, Chair of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN)
Dr. Serge Rumin, Director of the Security Sector Development Programme, Memorandum of Understanding Burundi-Netherlands


High Level Panel Session on SSR (East Africa): the EAC and IGAD on SSR (Session 7: 03-10-12)

Moderator: Mr. Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director for the East Africa Resource Centre, African Development Bank (AfDB)

Dr. Julius T. Rotich, Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), East African Community (EAC)
Mr. David W. Njoka,Director of Political Affairs, Ministry for the East African Community (EAC)-Kenya                                                               
Commander Abebe Muluneh Beyene, Head, IGAD Security Sector Program (ISSP)
Dr. Medhane Tadesse Gebresilassie, African Security Sector Network’s Senior SSR Adviser to the African Union


Policy and Research Papers

Evaluating the Operational Effectiveness of West African Female Police Officers’ Participation in Peace Support Operations: The Case of Ghana and...

This paper examines the capacity of West African police services to enhance the recruitment, training and deployment of female police officers on PSOs. In particular, the study seeks to critically evaluate the current organizational structures of the Ghanaian and Nigerian Police services and their deployment of female police officers in peace support operations.

The study therefore, seeks to address two broad questions. First, how can West African states increase the number of female police officers on peace support operations? Secondly, how can these countries improve their respective training procedures of female police officers to become increasingly effective on peace support operations?

This paper prioritizes Ghana and Nigeria as empirical case studies because they contribute a relatively high number of female police officers both towards UN and AU operations within Africa and abroad. More importantly, both countries have begun increasing the number of female civilian police officers’ numbers after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on gender mainstreaming, which poignantly illustrates the impact of the resolution, and the desire of West African countries to empower women to become greater participants in the areas of peace and international security.


Beneath the Apparent State of Affairs: Stability in Ghana and Benin

The Potential for Radicalization and Political Violence in West Africa

Crises in the Sahel (from Mali to southern Tunisia and Libya) and the regionalization of Boko Haram’s activities as far as the Lake Chad basin (Niger, Cameroon and Chad) are some of today’s worrying signals related to West African stability. 

The question of a potential broadening of this ‘arc of crisis’ to stable countries in the region, including Benin and Ghana, motivated research in the field conducted by the Clingendael Institute. In Accra and Tamale in Ghana, and in Cotonou and Porto-Novo in Benin, the research team looked into religious, historic, political and societal dynamics that may constitute elements of future (in)stability. New religious “ideologies” (Christian evangelism and/or Sunni revivalism), mixed with economic frustrations, have deeply impacted the traditional balance and make long‑term stability a challenge for most of the countries in the region, from Mali to the Horn of Africa. In this report Clingendael explores the specific ways the Ghanaian and Beninese actors are dealing with politics, identity and societal stress. They also identify the influence of external actors, from both the region and beyond, and potential spill over of nearby conflicts. 

Clingendael comes to the conclusion that several issues, like border porosity, absence of a regional strategic approach to counter terrorism, youth frustration towards the elder’s political and economic monopoly, rural and urban disparities and rampant illiteracy are some of the regional aggravating factors that are conducive to the spread of extremist ideology and dividing behaviours.

They argue that their report can be considered as an early warning, but what is urgently needed is early action. For the full report on Beneath the Apparent State of Affairs: Stability in Ghana and Benin, kindly follow the link.


Ghana: Gender-related Human Resources Policies in Armed Forces

This overview of gender-related human resources policies in Ghana’s armed forces seeks to contribute to the very fragmented and incomplete literature on human resources policies in armed forces. It is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis, but a reference for other armed forces’ in considering ways in which they can promote the retention, recruitment, promotion and full participation of women in armed forces. It is accompanied by an overview of human resources policies in the armed forces of Albania and the Netherlands.

For full access to Gender-related Human Resources Policies in Armed Forces, kindly follow the link.


Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases

Gender justice sees equal power relations, privilege, dignity, and freedom for people of different genders as a necessary component for any “just” society and a prerequisite for development. Gender justice includes gender equality, meaning substantive freedom for all genders to have genuine choices about their lives. Mirroring a global pattern in peace and security practice and policy-making, transitional justice (TJ) practice has tended to reduce gender justice concerns to violence against women (VAW). This policy brief advocates for policy-makers to adopt a broader and more meaningful understanding of gender justice, and to incorporate it into their TJ policymaking. To demonstrate the need for a broader understanding of gender justice within TJ processes, this policy brief draws upon a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) on the drivers and impacts of TJ in Africa. The study examined gender trends emerging from 13 African countries that had State-led TJ processes between 1990 and 2011, and their impacts up until 2016. Based on the academic literature and available data for the 13 cases, four key factors were used as basic indicators of gender justice: women’s political rights and representation; women’s economic equity; women’s participation in civil society; and State measures against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

For full access to Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases, kindly follow the link. 


Elections and Stability in West Africa

This meeting note summarizes the discussions at a conference organized by the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) in Praia, Cape Verde on May 18-20, 2011. The conference addressed the need for a sustained effort to strengthen electoral processes in West Africa as a means to consolidate peace and democracy in the region. 

Many West African countries face numerous challenges in organizing free, fair, and peaceful elections, and the conference discussed the existing regional and national frameworks that support democracy and electoral processes in the subregion. Best practices and lessons learned from recent electoral processes in Cape Verde, Ghana, and Niger were shared, with a view to informing the organization of upcoming elections in neighboring countries. The role and modalities of electoral assistance were also discussed, supported by concrete cases of UNDP’s electoral initiatives in Niger and Guinea. 
The conference further underlined the importance of collaborative initiatives in strengthening democratic processes and preventing conflict. Finally, key standards, processes, and actors that can help to build democracy and stability were discussed: human rights and gender-equality norms, electoral litigation, and the role of security forces and the media during electoral processes all present opportunities to reduce election-related violence and improve election outcomes in West Africa.
The note also reprints the full text of the “Praia Declaration on Elections and Stability in West Africa,” which was adopted at the close of the conference.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


Insécurité Maritime dans le Golfe de Guinée : Vers une Stratégie Régionale Intégrée ?

L’insécurité maritime se confirme comme l’une des menaces persistantes à la stabilité des États riverains du golfe de Guinée. En dépit d’une prise de conscience croissante et de la volonté politique d’y faire face, l’augmentation rapide des actes de piraterie a pris de court plusieurs pays de la région. L’absence d’un dispositif commun, relativement complet, de surveillance et de lutte contre la piraterie, limite encore la portée des initiatives prises par certains États, et qui ne couvrent pas l’ensemble de la région du golfe de Guinée. Une stratégie à long terme passe par la mutualisation des moyens, et par la coopération entre les trois organisations régionales, la CEEAC, la CEDEAO et la Commission du golfe de Guinée, ainsi que par l’implication d’autres acteurs du secteur maritime concernés par la lutte contre la piraterie dans la région.

Veuillez suivre ce lien sur l'Insécurité Maritime dans le Golfe de Guinée :  Vers une Stratégie Régionale Intégrée afin de lire la publication.



Budgeting for the Military Sector in Africa

In this comprehensive study, 12 experts describe and analyse the military budgetary processes and degree of oversight and control in eight African countries-Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa-spanning the continent's sub-regions. Each country study addresses a wide range of questions, such as the roles of the finance and defence ministries, budget offices, audit departments and external actors in the military budgetary processes; the extent ofcompliance with standard public expenditure management procedures; and how well official military expenditure figures reflect the true economic resources devoted to military activities in these countries. The framework for the country studies is provided by a detailed model for good practice in budgeting for the military sector. The individual studies are tied together by a synthesis chapter, which provides a comparative analysis of the studies, classifies the eight countries according to theiradherence to the principles of public expenditure management and explains why individual countries find themselves with a certain classification. The book draws on the results of the country studies and their analysis by making concrete recommendations to the governments of African countries and the international community. While the military sector in many African states is believed to be favoured in terms of resource allocation and degree of political autonomy, it is not subject to the samerules and procedures as other sectors. Because of the unique role of the armed forces as the guarantor of national security, and their demand for a high degree of confidentiality in certain activities, the military sector receives a significant proportion of state resources and is not subject to public scrutiny. The book argues that while the military sector requires some confidentiality it should be subject to the same standard procedures and rules followed by other state sectors.

View the book here.