Youth and Sports Development Centre

Profile Of The Director

The ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC) is the foremost regional instrument of youth and human advancement in the region.

The EYSDC is a transmutation from the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports via a decision (A/DEC/13/01/05) taken at the Twenty-eighth session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held in Accra on 19th January 2005.

As a specialised ECOWAS institution, it is charged with the responsibility for Youth and Sports development. The Centre initiates, develops, coordinates, monitors and implements Programmes concerning youths and sports development within the Community.



The EYSDC serves as a permanent institutional framework within the Community through which youth and sporting activities in the sub-region can be developed and promoted. In addition to this, it has a primary mission of developing, initiating, developing, coordinating, monitoring as well as the implementation of programmes concerning Youth development within the Community.



It is the Centre’s business to implement activities aimed at promoting the intermingling of the youth. This also goes for the culture of Community Identity in West Africa. The EYSDC has been strengthening sport-related economic fabric of the region through activities as the ECOWAS Games, the ECOWAS International Cycling Tour, development of Traditional Games and Sports, the African Wrestling Tournament in Niamey and Dakar as well as capacity building of technicians.

With regards to the capacity building of youth, efforts are on to ensure their professional integration and enhancement of employability in relevant sectors. There have been several editions of the Youth Forum allowing the Centre to involve the youth in Community decision-making process through the consideration of their views in policy formulation and the development of youth-oriented programmes.

Related to this is the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme which implementation in Member States, allows young people to be united in their belief that peace and reconciliation can be used as development tools for peace building in their countries and in the region.


With the EYSDC, youth mobilisation and release of creative energies are guaranteed. The high level of participation of the youth from the Member States in various activities of the EYSDC has enabled them to become involved in strengthening the integration concept of the people and the Community Identity. They are therefore stakeholders and beneficiaries of programmes implemented as part of achieving the Community’s Vision 2020.




Sports for all is an ECOWAS sporting based programme that is meant to act as a catalyst for the overall sports development of the region.

It has a mandate of training sportsmen and women, administrators, technicians and scientists, to improve interactions between sportspersons as well as giving due recognition and promotion of excellence in sports.



The Mission of Sports for All is the make sports a key sector of the socio-economic life of the people, a vehicle for human development, peaceful coexistence and regional integration. The programmes implemented in sports are the priority programmes of the sports policy, set out in the 2010-2020 Action Plan, adopted by the highest authorities of the Community following the recommendation of the meeting of Sports Ministers and Community Parliament in line with ECOWAS Vision 2020

The promotion of sports for all and physical activity initiatives within Member States is an integrated approach to sports development in the region. This requires a strong political commitment and support at all levels, with a view to promoting health, improved physical fitness, well-being and sports development for ECOWAS citizens, and suited for people of all ages, regardless of gender, social status or culture.

As constituted, the programme is implemented by the Sports and Physical Education Division, ECOWAS member states’ Ministry of Sports, National Federations of the relevant sporting disciplines, National Sports Federation Unions, GYDEX Directorate, CONFEJES, West Africa Deaf Sports Union, Beog Biiga Association, Saint Louis Judo School, Region 2 of the Confederation of African Athletics, African Fencing Confederation and Germano-Burkinabé Youth Football Association.



Just as all member states are targeted in the Sports for All programme, traditional sports are being promoted at the international level while sports organisations are being supported in order to enhance their participation. As the ECOWAS Games are being sustained, children and youth are being introduced to schools sporting activities.

The training for sports persons, administrators, technicians and scientists  is leading to human resource capacity building Build human resource capacity and in major sporting activities such as Boxing. The programme is also raising the level of technical organisation of national championships and competitions during different editions of the ECOWAS Games while creating a peaceful atmosphere during competitions

Some of the activities of the programme are the Community African Wrestling Tournament   (TOLAC) in Niamey, Dakar Wrestling Tournament, Traditional Wrestling Masters Tournament in The Gambia, the ECOWAS Games and the ECOWAS International Cycling Tour (TCIC).

There are also other accomplishments including the development and enhancement of cooperation and communication between sportsmen and women in the ECOWAS region and the building of sports organisations’ capacity, Institute a regional award scheme for top sportsmen and women, and personalities.

There is an Award to top sport athletes and personalities of the region while and West African sportsmen and women are being encouraged to pursue excellence and sports ethics.



Through the training of sportsmen and women, administrators, technicians and scientists, the drive to improve interactions between sportspersons as well as giving due recognition and promotion of excellence in sports, the Programme has made some impacts on regional integration as well as on the lives of citizens of the Community. These include;

*Ownership of the concept of «SPORTS FOR ALL» by the citizens

*Promotion of sporting activities by all the socio-professional classes and groups;

*Strengthen the role of Sports and Physical Education in school curricula

*Inclusion of traditional games and sports in teaching programmes and leisure activities; and

*The ECOWAS Games has now become a regular event like the All African Games, the Commonwealth Games or the Francophonie Games.

*Systematic use of technical tools and other modern electronic gadgets sporting events organised in Member States,

*Ability to tactically use data provided by the modern tools, incidence-free competitions, and improving the tactical behaviour of competitors

*Greater involvement of the private sector in the implementation of the EYSDC’s future work programme; and

*The broadening of the scope of the excellence award in Sports including greater involvement of sportsmen and women, and officials in citizen action of ECOWAS



The programme draws strength from the ECOWAS Youth Policy and Strategic Action Plan which was adopted in 2007 which among others identified the youth employment axis as a sector that needs activities in order to further enhance the employability of youth. Having started the same year it was adopted, the Programme was evaluated and re-adjusted in 2012 with a view to increase the number of Training Centres and diversifying the modules.

In Furtherance of the ECOWAS youth policy and under the watch of EYSDC, and in partnership with ZINIARE Vocational Training Centre, Burkina Faso, Songhai Centre, Porto-Novo, Benin Republic and ECOWAS Youth Ministers as well as ECOWAS National Units of the 15 Member States, the Programme is building youth capacity in Air-conditioning, auto mechanic, agrosylvo pastoral, as well as Building electricity.


To build the capacity of young entrepreneurs in the identified areas with a view to ensuring their professional integration and increasing their employability. Ever year and for a month, six interns per Member States gets complement training in order to be in a better shape for entrepreneurship and self-employment in their area of specialisation.

The activities of the programme are tied to its objectives which is to:

*Build the capacity of the youth from at least 14 Member States in Agrosyvopastoral

*Build the capacity of the youth from at least 14 Member States in Building Electricity

*Build the capacity of the youth from at least 14 Member States in Air-conditioning and Auto Mechanic, and

*Financially support youth projects



About 505 youth of both sexes from at least 14 Member States have been trained in Agrosylvopastoral, 166 youth of both sexes from at least 12 Member States also trained in Building Electricity while 188 youth of both sexes from at least 11 Member States have also had training in Air-conditioning and Auto Mechanic.

At least 50 percent of the young people trained now have projects waiting for funding and the Community Development Programme is providing funding for youth projects. There is now an increase in the number of training centres, training modules that themselves being diversified while broad based trainings of over 12 to 36 months are being considered.



The ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP) focuses mainly on Youth Participation in Development and Peace of the Region through voluntary commitment.

It was initiated by the ECOWAS Commission on 5 November 2004, during the signing of an agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB), within the framework of the ECOWAS Project in support of Peace and Development (PADEP). The signing was followed by the establishment of a partnership between the ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNVP) in 2005, with a view to receiving financial assistance for the implementation of the initiative.

The process for the establishment of the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme was participatory and interactive. It involved participants from various departments and divisions of the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Member States, civil society, the youth, United Nations Volunteers, UNESCO and the African Development Bank. Currently, the regional bureau of the Programme is managed by the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, under the supervision of the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender.

At its inception, the Programme targeted post-conflict countries as areas of intervention. The selected countries were: Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The pilot phase of the Programme ended in December 2014. Given the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, the evaluation could not be conducted and the Programme was extended to 2015 with a view to ensuring its sustenance and extension to the 15 member countries.

The profile of volunteers depends entirely on the request for expertise made by the host country or Institution. The EVP operates on the basis of the request and recruits youth that fits the profile requested following an interview.



The overall objective of the EVP is to develop a regional voluntary programme through which ECOWAS youth (men and women) are united in their belief that peace and reconciliation can be used as development tools for peace building in the countries and the sub-region.

The ECOWAS Volunteers Programme mobilises volunteers in West Africa, and is committed to promoting ECOWAS ideals and strategies including unity, peace, democracy, sustainable development and regional integration. The EVP promotes African expertise and skills in work for sustainable development and greater social impact under the themes: Passion, Motivation and Action.

Through the Volunteers Programme, ECOWAS ensures that it has the resources to support and promote its objectives as set out in the Revised Treaty and the ECOWAS Commission’s Strategic Plan as well as the Community’s Vision 2020 seeking to «move from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of People». Accordingly, ECOWAS puts the skills and expertise of the Community’s young voluntary citizens in different development sectors with the overriding objective of contributing to achieving the regional vision, i.e. vision 2020.



Through the EVP, young volunteers are being mobilised to serve in the entire ECOWAS region. They are also being trained, evaluated and deployed

Since the arrival of the first ECOWAS Volunteers in Liberia in 2011, the Programme deployed nearly 100 others.

Liberia received 20 ECOWAS Volunteers from November 2011 to December 2013. Among the Volunteers deployed to Liberia, were laboratory technicians, mental and environmental health specialists; nurses and midwives; curriculum development specialists; electronics, physical science, mathematics and natural science teachers.

The EVP also deployed 40 ECOWAS Volunteers in Guinea. According to the priority areas defined by the Guinean government, there were 22 volunteers in educational sector; 17 in the health sector and 1 youth sector. The Volunteers underwent an induction training organised for them in May 2013.

Similarly, 36 volunteers were deployed in Sierra Leone. The country requested for 20 French and Science teachers, 16 health specialists (paediatricians and obstetricians), as well as two intensive care nurses. An induction workshop was organised in Freetown in October 2013 for the volunteers.



The social cohesion in the Community has been strengthened while more knowledge of the ECOWAS region by the youth has been gained together with increased youth employability.

The programme has largely built the capacity of beneficiaries in all the areas of intervention of the volunteers while there is a consequent reduction in the level of youth involvement in armed conflicts.

Member States