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Noting a relative neglect of African regional organizations other than the African Union in academic research, especially with regard to actual everyday practices, this chapter provides insights into the internal system, workings and influences of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Drawing on their privileged position as insiders to ECOWAS-donor relationships, the authors analyse relations of the ECOWAS Commission with development partners in the field of peace and security. In particular, the chapter looks at how donors / partners position and align themselves vis-à-vis the ECOWAS Commission to further the implementation of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture. Moreover, they critically reflect upon the intricacies of conducting a form of work-based research. In that endeavour, the chapter engages with arguments that highlight the necessity of writing from within to overcome the constraints in access and data availability for academia, but also with the danger of being too close to the subject.

In: Researching the Inner Life of the African Peace and Security Architecture