This article argues that the West African subregion has radically shifted its approach to security from a state?centred framework to one that now encompasses human security concerns. Civil society is now an active part of the regional security decision?making processes. While it has been difficult to transform local?level civil society engagement into a large?scale regional involvement, civil society engagement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has nonetheless become more focused and effective. This article explains this transformation in the regional security agenda and ECOWAS?civil society collaboration, contending that the institutionalisation of the latter has had a mutually beneficial impact. It concludes with a discussion of the challenges that lie ahead for this relationship and the process of movement building.