Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Nigeria Profile

The Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) is a Non-Governmental and non-profit making Pan African Regional Network of individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations with headquarters in Harare.

WiLDAF was established in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1990 at a Regional Conference following a year long process of analysis, needs assessment training and planning by representatives of women’s groups in Fourteen (14) African Countries. WiLDAF’s mission is to bring together organizations and individuals using a variety of tools including law to promote a culture for the exercise of and the respect for women’s Rights in Africa.

WiLDAF’s pursues its mission by executing its objectives which are primarily:
• To establish and facilitate communication among network members in the areas of legal education, law and policy reforms and legal services.
• To clarify and provide effective ways of using law and other strategies as organizing and educational tools at the local, national and regional levels and
• To provide training and to advise local groups in designing and improving legal and other programmes and strategies.

Membership of WiLDAF has risen to twenty-six (26) countries in Africa and the organization enjoys a special category status granted by the ECOSOC committee of the United Nations.

WiLDAF (Nigeria) is a branch of the Regional Body with membership strength of over 70 organizations and hundreds of individuals spread across the country. The Organizational Structure of WiLDAF Nigeria consists of: the General Assembly (members) - the Advisory Committee (A Board of 8 females) - the National Coordinator (in charge of day to day administration) – Zonal Coordinators (for administration of the East, West & North Zones).

Over the years WiLDAF (Nigeria) has in furtherance of its objectives carried out several activities, notable amongst which, are the Annual 16 Days Campaign on gender violence, Emergency response activities and capacity building workshops.

WiLDAF (Nigeria) like its counterparts in other African Countries holds annually the 16 Days Campaign on gender violence from November 25th – 10th December each year.

In 1997, the campaign was in form of various activities by the network members at the Urban and Rural areas. Such activities included lectures, seminars, exhibitions and workshops on the various forms of violence against women. In addition, WiLDAF (Nigeria) held a joint programme, which started with a press conference, then a rally with participants wearing T-shirts, which bore slogans denouncing violence against women. The 16 Days Activism was concluded with a National Seminar and Exhibition in Lagos.

The 1998, 16 Days activism on gender violence was more elaborate than the preceding years. The programme, in addition to individual network members activities, included production of a Radio Jingle which was aired throughout the 16 Days period. The organization also collected signatures on cloth banners at its zonal levels. This anti-violence against women signatures and slogans on cloths were displayed at a National Rally held in Lagos. The Rally was part funded by UNIFEM (Lagos Office). The activities enjoyed considerable publicity, which further raised the awareness of the public to the incidents and effects of violence against women in Nigeria.

The 16 days activism on gender violence in 1999 and 2000 were supported by the European Union Fund for West Africa WiLDAF in 1999 held a tribunal on tagged “The Court of Women”, where testimonies on violence against women were given by witnesses.

The 2000 – 16 days campaign was the compilation and assessment of past activities on violence against women for an award presentation. The essence was to acknowledge and commend efforts of network members for their relentless campaign agent gender violence.

Apart from the 16 days activism, campaign, WiLDAF (Nigeria) like its member organization held activities to highlight various forms of campaign. One of such activity was the national workshop held in Owerri in 1999 on Silent victims of violence against women in tertiary institutions.

The visibility of WiLDAF (Nigeria) in the late 90s has been largely due to its commitment to the elimination of all forms of violence against women. The organization emergency response activity to issues concerning women especially those of violence has also been an effective method of achieving its goals. For example, WiLDAF (Nigeria) pioneered the protest on the brutal killing of a 19 years old female Nigeria deportee, Semira Adamu by the Belgian authorities which was effective in generating public governments positive reaction to the issue of violence against the deceased young female deportee.

To achieve its objectives WiLDAF Nigeria is mindful of strengthening its network members. Consequently, the organization has conducted various capacity building training workshops on management of NGOs, leadership, strategic planning, fund raising and proposal writing skills.

On the whole WiLDAF (Nigeria) enjoys the benefits of networking in that it creates an avenue for communication, exchange of materials and experience and training which will improve and strengthen women’ s groups towards more result-oriented goals.

The organization is open to NGOs and individuals committed to Women’s Rights.

WiLDAF (Nigeria) has been part of the organization in Nigeria, which campaigned against the sentencing to death by stoning of women by the Sharia Courts in the Northern States on account of alleged adultery committed by the women. The “Safiya Must Not Die” campaign was heightened by a rally organized in Lagos as part of the international women’s day. 2002. Sensitization campaigns were taken to WiLDAF (West Africa) sub-region in Togo where the media was addressed and organization showed solidarity wearing the campaign scarves with inscription “Safiya Must Not Die”. Regional and international support was mobilized through initiation of petition signed by thousands of organization worldwide in the appeal against the stoning to death of Safiya and Amina Lawal another victim of death sentence by stoning by the Sharia Court.

WiLDAF Nigeria has also participated actively in the lobby for the adoption of the protocol to the African Charter relating to Women’s Rights at the organization of African Union now African Union. The project is supported by the Canadian CECI/DCF fund for WiLDAF (West) African project.

As part of WiLDAF West Africa Sub Regional Project WiLDAF (Nigeria) has enjoyed the support of the European fund for West African in activities relating to access to justice by women mobilizing women for political participation and the sensitization of judicial and extra judicial stakeholders for the actualization of women’s rights.

WiLDAF Nigeria is a member of the National Coalition against trafficking in person (NACATIP)

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