Despite societal advancement and civilization, certain institutional, religious and cultural practices continue to affect the holistic growth and welfare of women and girls in parts of Nigeria.
This mostly manifests in form of sexual and gender-based violence. The economic situation in the country equally compounded the challenges faced by this vulnerable group.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2023, Prime Business Africa’s Correspondents, Victor Ezeja, highlights leading organisations supporting women and girls in terms of empowerment and protection of their rights.
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Ford Foundation West Africa
Ford Foundation is an international NGO founded in the United States of America in 1936 by Edsel Ford and his father Henry Ford (an industrialist and founder of Ford Motors). It has the goal of advancing human welfare.
The Foundation’s West Africa office which historically began in 1958, has been at the forefront, supporting individuals and local civil society groups in parts of the region working on advocacy, key women’s rights movements and economic empowerment programmes.
In a recent interview with Prime Business Africa, Ford Foundation’s regional director, West Africa, Dr Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, said the foundation works with a number of NGOs, who critically look at incidences of violence against women in the sub-region.
Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL)
WACOL is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 1997, to assist in the educational, social, economic and political development of women and young people through a wide range of services including training, advocacy, legal and financial aid, shelter, intra-familial conflict resolution, among others.
Gender and human rights is an aspect of what the organisation does. Because its head office is based in Enugu, it has over the years become a household name in the Southeast, especially in Coal City. However, it has centres in some other parts of the country. WACOL offers free legal services to women and girls in Nigeria reaching “2,000 on an annual basis with over 4,000 drop-ins yearly. We register an average of 20 cases daily at our legal clinic,” information in the organisation’s website revealed.
Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)
WOCON is a nonpartisan NGO committed to the enforcement of Women’s and children’s rights and the attainment of equality and development and peace.
Founded and registered by Late Chief Olabisi Olateru-Olagbegi, as an incorporated Trustee in 1995 and with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, WOCON holds a United Nations Special Consultative status.
The NGO has over the years primarily focused on issues of gender based violence (GBV), and human trafficking.
The NGO organises campaigns against sexual abuse of women and children, trafficking of women, youth and children, and other human rights abuses suffered, especially by women.
WOCON is a strong partner of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), among other local and international partners.
Women’s Rights and Health Project
Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP) is an MGO that promotes reproductive health, rights and general development for women, young girls and communities.
Headquartered in Ejigbo, Lagos, the NGO tackles key issues such as Sexual and Gender-based Violence Response and Referrals, Sexual and reproductive health and rights education Counseling.
WRAHP is the manager of Ireti Resource Centre, Ikotun, Lagos. The centre is committed to providing integrated legal and psychosocial support in a safe space for women, survivors of domestic violence, and other vulnerable persons across communities in Lagos State. The executive director of the group, Bose Ironsi is a renowned human rights activist.
Women for Peace & Gender Equality Initiative
Women for Peace & Gender Equality Initiative (formerly the Commonwealth Women’s Organisation Nigeria) is committed to empowering girls and women with the skills to promote sustainable peace through inclusive gender equality.
Women at Risk International Foundation
Founded by Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) was founded in 2016 by Dr Kemi DaSilva in response to the high incidence of sexual violence (including rape) and human trafficking of young women and girls (YWG) in communities across Nigeria.
Stand to End Rape Initiative
Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), founded in 2014 is a multiple award-winning youth-led social enterprise advancing Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), advocating against sexual and gender-based violence and providing holistic support to survivors.