EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE
The task of achieving true democracy remains ever pertinent for as long as the quest to create a better society assumes primacy in human society. No Nation can achieve its goal of development without a conscious effort at achieving gender equality while integrating and mobilizing its people to understand, appreciate and identify with the ideas ofsustaining true democracy.
Within the years under review there was a very minimal funding of WACOL as a result of the world recession and this lead to limited intervention projects. With these difficulties though, there were appreciable number of programmes and activities that WACOL embarked upon through the support of many international donors. As a way of sustaining the momentum initiated in 2008 and in order to represent the hallmark of our work,
WACOL carried out programmes in the areas of democratic consolidation with particular reference to the participation of women in the political process, sensitizing the general populace on gender and women’s human rights, increased awareness on health related issues especially on the dangers of HIV/AIDS pandemic, and on health law and reproductive rights. In pursuance of our mandate on democratization process in Nigeria, empowering people and promoting popular participation, especially of under-represented groups such as women and youths, WACOL, with funding from Democratic Governance for Development (DGD/UNDP), executed a project on sensitization of political party leaderships and capacity-building for female politicians, candidates and aspirants in the South East Zone. The project targeted women politicians, candidates and aspirants – both young and old female politicians; leaderships of some selected political parties across the zone; the media and also the male-dominated traditional institutions. With support from UNIFEM also, we implemented a project on Preliminary Action to ensure Sustained Increase in Women’s Participation in Democracy and Good Governance in Imo State. This provided an insight on the extent of women’s participation in politics and measures to ensure sustained increase in their involvement. WACOL also observed and monitored the Anambra State Gubernatorial Election in 2010. This self sponsored task showed ourcommitment towards ensuring a free and fair election. Legal aid and access to justice for the under privileged in the society remained a critical component of WACOL’s activities during the period under review, with over ten thousand (10, 000) clients walking through our offices during the period. With activities ranging from Improving Women’s Access to Justice through Women’s Legal Clinic and Campaign against Gender Based Violence; Economic Empowerment on ICT and Micro-Credit for Widows; Women and the Law Project for Customary Court Judges in the South-east, South-south and North central and Procurement of Garri Processing Equipment for WACOL Widow’s Support Groups, WACOl ameliorated the sufferings of many widows and the underprivileged in the society and tuned to her vision and mission statement. We are grateful to UNICEF, AWDF and World Justice Project for their funding support. In the same vein, WACOL embarked on advocacy and dissemination of the sexual harassment policy. This project supported by Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF) had the National Human Rights Commission as the major project partner. With support from AWDF, WACOL carried out a programme which was geared towards creating awareness 12 on the existence of HIV/AIDS Anti- Stigma/Discrimination Law of Enugu State, thereby building the capacity of lawyers, judicial personnel and Law enforcement officers (Police & Prison) on enforcement of the law. National Validation Workshop on Promoting Gender Equality and Human Rights Sensitive Policy Environment in the Nigerian HIV/AIDS National Response was conducted by WACOL, in collaboration with UNIFEM and with funding support from CIDA. The workshop created an avenue for various stakeholders to discuss the outcome of the Federal Government reviewed policy on HIV/AIDS in three sectors-Health, Agriculture and Education and the way forward since the review exercise revealed gaps in commitment to promote human rights and accountability to gender in Nigeria and the inefficiency in promoting gender responsive HIV/AIDS intervention. The concluding phase of the ENSACA funded project on reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS infection among Tertiary Students from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu in Enugu State was rounded off in the period. Likewise, the MacArthur Foundation funded Reproductive Health Law project was completed in this year. This included the Follow-up/advocacy visits to benefiting institutions on “Health Law and Reproductive Rights Advocacy”. Within this period also, WACOL conducted the Training of Facility Health Committees in ten communities in Enugu State which was
made possible by funding support from PATHS2.
Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL) was established in 1997 as an independent, nonpolitical, non-governmental and non-profit organization, registered as a company limited by guarantee (RC: 388132). We have an observer status with the African Union, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and a Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC. WACOL aims at increasing the legal protection of women and children and fights for better choices for them, facilitating the flow of information and experiences between organizations, and developing appropriate Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials that will be used in advocacy for projecting the human rights of women and young people. WACOL, in general, works in four thematic areas, namely: gender/human rights, peace advocacy/conflict resolution, democracy/good governance and reproductive health /rights. WACOL operates throughout Nigeria and in the West African sub region and its offices in Nigeria are located in seven states namely: Enugu, Katsina, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Anambra, Ebonyi and Abia states including the FCT……
GENDER AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Women and the Law Project for Customary Court Judges in the South-east, South-south and North-central Zones Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL) with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) executed this project “Women and the Law Project for Customary Court Judges in the South-east, South-south, and Northcentral” comprising the eight States of Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu, Nassarawa and River States. The project had the aim to genderize the judiciary in Nigeria and sensitize them about the injustice women
face in law and in practice and to equip judges with the tools to effectively implement laws -national, regional and international that recognized women’s rights and access to Justice without discrimination based on gender. The project started in January, 2008 and ran through November, 2009.
The highly successful training workshops were held between 20th and 22nd May, 2009 at Jora Hotel, Port-Harcourt for Judges from Rivers and Bayelsa States; and between 10th and 13th June, at Benue Hotels in Makurdi for Benue and Nasarawa states trainees. The sessions were witnessed by Hon. Justice A.Y. Ubangari, Chief Judge of Nasarawa state, the Chief Registrar of Benue State, Mr. Polycarp T. Kwahar, who represented the Chief Judge of Benue state, the Chief Registrar Nasarawa state, Mr D.D. Adeck and the Chief Judge of Rivers State epresented by Barr. Sokolo Solomon. Resource persons
included Justice Margaret Mary Igbetar, President of Customary Court of Appeal, Benue state, Dr. Emma M. Ome of the University of Nigeria, Barr. Vivian Omabo Agada representing Justice Elsie Thompson.
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