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Location: Nigeria

Increasing access to sexual and reproductive health rights and HIV services for women and adolescent girls


Nigeria demonstrated its commitment to achieving sexual and reproductive health for all by adopting the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, and developed a National Reproductive Health Policy and Strategy in 2001. Despite these initiatives, women living with HIV in Nigeria still face challenges accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Services.


The International Community of Women living with HIV West Africa (ICWWA) and Womankind Centre for Women Empowerment (WCWE) aim to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for all women living with HIV (WLHIV) in Nigeria.

The project plans to start by building the capacity of WLHIV to advocate for their SRH rights, and training them to document incidences of violations as they occur. The project also aims to create a broad alliance of thirty Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on SRH to support evidence based advocacy, raise awareness among police, health care providers and community leaders on SRH rights of WLHIV. This will empower them to challenge discrimination faced by WLHIV and engage in dialogue with policy makers on accessing SRH services.

By the end of the project, awareness about SRH rights of health care providers and other stakeholders will have been raised, resulting in better access to SRH services by WLHIV. WLHIV in all their diversity will also be better placed to continue to advocate for their rights and to raise the issues that affect them with policy makers and other key stakeholders.

International Community of Women Living with HIV in Nigeria West Africa

ICWWA is a regional West African network, based in Nigeria, working to promote the rights of Women Living with HIV (WLHIV). The organisation’s main areas of focus are advocacy, mobilisation and capacity building of WLHIV for them to play a primary role in HIV programming in Nigeria. ICWWA has been engaging in dialogue with government bodies and departments for many years. For example, it has engaged with the Federal Ministry of Health on a number of initiatives on maternal health and also participated in the development of the Health Sector HIV strategic Plan. It also works closely with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS in the implementation of some of the agency’s HIV/AIDS programmes. ICWWA will partner with the Association of WLHIV in Nigeria, Womankind Centre for Women Empowerment (and the Unique Aid Foundation (UAF) to deliver this project.

Association of women living with HIV in Nigeria

ASWHAN is an association of Women Living with HIV with offices in Ondo and Lagos. Its main objectives are to provide economic empowerment, care and support for women living with HIV.

Womankind Centre for Women Empowerment

Womankind Centre for Women Empowerment is a support group of Women Living with HIV, based in Nasarawa. Its overall objective is to provide care and support services to its members. Unique Aid Foundation (UAF) is an association of people living with HIV, based in Abuja. Its main objective is to strengthen communities to respond to the challenges posed by the AIDS epidemic.

Empowering residents of waterfront slums to advocate for an inclusive city


It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of the city of Port Harcourt’s population lives in self-built waterfront settlements.  The government in Nigeria have plans to redevelop the city which would benefit from the inputs of local communities. The project is working with young people to share their experiences living in these waterfront slums.


Human City Media Advocacy Initiative is establishing a group of engaged musicians and producers from marginalised communities with the technical skills, artistic capacity and cultural connections to initiate independent radio productions. The project is working with renowned Nigerian and international musicians, producers, artists and scholars to train and mentor young people. The project will also engage state and city government officials in debates on issues affecting communities, through community radio programmes and discussions.

Stakeholder Democracy Network and Human City Media Advocacy Initiative in Nigeria are empowering residents of waterfront slums to use music and other art forms to advocate for a more inclusive cityscape. Using music and radio production as a medium for social expression and constructive political engagement, the project is increasing the visibility of waterfront communities and their issues at local and national level.

Endorsed project title: Empowering residents of waterfront slums to advocate for an inclusive city in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Photo credit: Flickr CC Igor Putina Soundboard

Stakeholder Democracy Network, UK

Stakeholder Democracy Network supports empowerment of citizens to work together and with their government to address development challenges. With core focus on democratisation, resilient communities, access to energy, environment and resource governance SDN has partnered with Human City Media Advocacy Initiative to work with marginalised waterfront communities in Port Harcourt over the past five years. www.stakeholderdemocracy.org

Strengthening statutory regulation for civil society organisations


The regulatory framework for Nigerian civil society organisations (CSOs) is derived from a series of laws which cover registration, supervision and regulation of CSOs activities. These laws need to be amended to reflect the realities of the CSO sector in Nigeria.


The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is engaging with government on the need to revise legislation and work with CSOs to improve compliance. The project is holding consultations with civil society organisations to develop recommendations for a law that directly supports the effectiveness of CSOs in Nigeria  The project will be undertaken in close collaboration with regulatory bodies, in order to review the current legislation and present draft amendments for discussion. NNNGO is also promoting understanding of the regulatory requirements among CSOs.

It is hoped that by the end of the project, revised legislation that improves the operating environment for civil society organisations and promotes effectiveness and accountability would have been adopted.

Endorsed project title: Strengthening statutory regulation for civil society organisations in Nigeria

Photo: Mark Fischer, Abuja Street Portrait, Flickr CC

Nigeria Network of NGOs

Nigeria Network for NGOs is the first generic membership body umbrella membership body for civil society organisations in Nigeria. It is comprised of over 2,000 organisations across all the states in Nigeria, ranging from small organisations working at the local level, to larger networks at the national level. Its mission includes protecting the environment within which NGOs operate, coordinating the voice of civil society organisations in Nigeria and facilitating advocacy on issues of sustainable development.

Strengthening West African civil society engagement

A strong West African civil society will contribute meaningfully to the successful design and implementation of development policies.

However, CSOs in West Africa are operating with serious challenges, some of which include, low capacity to carry out their mandate fully, the lack of recognition and respect from governments and the unavailability of financial resources to develop innovative approaches to regional development challenges.

This project aims to strengthen West African civil society through the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) and to secure WACSOF’s place at the core of development in the region by creating a path towards political renewal and the deepening of democracy. The project is implemented in partnership with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and WACSOF.

WACSOF is the official interface for West African civil society with the ECOWAS Commission in promoting regional development and integration in West Africa. The Forum’s purpose is to galvanize civil society and facilitate constructive partnership with state authorities, political parties and ECOWAS. However, a needs assessment conducted by WACSI in 2008 and in 2014 identified a number of challenges preventing it from achieving its mandate to facilitate civil society voice in addressing regional development challenges/priorities.

The project consists of three main components:

  • capacity development of WACSOF and its members; 
  • development of a regional agenda and action plan identifying major development challenges for West Africa
  • improved engagement between West African CSOs and ECOWAS


Strengthening the PEN Africa network for civil society engagement


The pen and the written word are powerful tools for upholding free expression, cultural rights and democratic governance. Through creative expression, Commonwealth citizens have the ability to advocate for the legislation that underpins these rights.


PEN International (founded 1921) is a global community of writers, who work to promote literature and defend freedom of expression. The organisation will target measures to build capacity, skills and knowledge in order to advocate in favor of freedom of expression. Local PEN Centres will participate in policy training to help with advocacy work on local, regional and international levels and a three-year advocacy strategy will map out plans to engage with regional-level forums such as the Africa Commission on Human Rights. 

This work will serve to leverage the voice and influence of PEN Africa Network members in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. PEN members will gain greater understanding of areas including freedom of expression and digital freedom, cultural and linguistic rights and quality education. It will help to empower not just them but the people with whom they work and future generations of writers, journalists and advocates.

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