ABUJA – The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded grants to 15 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil society organisations (CSOs), and some volunteer groups under three grants platforms to mobilise young people in Nigeria.
The grants were to enable the young people to use their skills/talents, strengthen the capacity of CSO’s representing the rightsholder groups and enable them to improve their access to resources and employment.
The Project Coordinator, Voice Nigeria, Ijeoma Okwor, stated this at a media engagement workshop organised to officially launch the start of the extension phase of the Voice programme in Nigeria and the onboard first phase of grantees under the extension phase, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Okwor said that the workshop was organised to provide information about the interventions of the Voice Programme in the past five years and also promote transparency & accountability of the programme by providing information about the granting process for the Voice extension phase.
According to her, the projects being implemented under the consortium, Oxfam and Hivos, have in the past five years impacted the lives of Nigerians through grants to NGOs for different projects affecting youths, persons with disabilities, women and other vulnerable Nigerians.
”Voice is implemented in 10 countries and Nigeria. Since 2017, we’ve been giving out grants in Nigeria and this year, we are giving out 15 grants ranging from 100,000 Euros to 200,000 Euros and above.
“For instance, in the ‘Influencing Grant’, we have eight grantees, including YIAGA Africa, Connected Development, Street Project Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disability, Network of Youths for Sustainable Development, Centre for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment, among others.
“Under ‘Sudden Opportunity’, we have six grantees, where you have Integrity Technology, among others; we also have the ‘innovate and learn’ grant.
She further explained that funding for CSOs and NGOs was dwindling, because a lot of donors were concerned about Nigeria and how NGOs utilise money meant for projects.
“Let’s be transparent and accountable in the way we do things. Let’s coordinate better and leverage what others have done so that we don’t duplicate interventions.
”We should partner because I see the sector as a kind of brotherhood, where you learn from each other and share whatever you have; in order to maximise impacts already made in the country.
“At Voice Nigeria, there is space for everyone if we all make little effort to be more inclusive. Let’s ensure that in our work, no one is left behind.
”Indeed, all the efforts of government, development sector and private sector, can only be impactful if the beneficiaries of our intervention are involved in all our processes’’, she added.
Mr Francis Enobere, Controller, Correctional Centre, commended the organisation for the good job done, saying that correctional centres in Nigeria had benefitted from a number of projects implemented by the team.
“I appreciate the good work done by the Voice team, a gender-sensitive manual was developed some time ago and is now part and parcel of our training operational code, we have been able to bridge the gaps in dealing with females in our centres.
“There is a project we are looking to bring on board. Hopefully, it will be implemented in our centres, if our dreams come true, inmates would be able to exercise their franchise hopefully before 2023.
“Youths can now engage their grievances constructively in a positive manner, while also showcasing their capabilities to lead tomorrow”, he added.
In Nigeria, Oxfam, a member of the consortium, works to influence policy change in favour of the poor and the most vulnerable. We also work to boost civic engagement by providing platforms for citizen engagement to make policymaking more transparent and inclusive.
We also respond to the humanitarian needs of the people in Nigeria’s North East, where insurgence had led to the loss of thousands of lives and displaced many others.
Editor’s note – The image in the story was used to illustrate the situation.