May Newsletter 2023
By Cognito . On Monday, June 5, 2023
Greetings dear readers,
Welcome to our May newsletter, where we celebrate the inspiring work of our Voice grantee partners who are driving social change and promoting inclusion. As we enter this new month, we are reminded of the profound impact Voice grantee partners have made in their communities.
Throughout May, grantee partners focused on amplifying marginalized voices, environmental sustainability, and gender equality. They organized and hosted events, conducted research, and implemented innovative solutions to foster a more equitable society that leaves no one behind. Their stories highlight the power of collective action and individual determination. In this edition, we highlight their remarkable achievements, from gender mainstreaming in Nigerian correctional service to accountability in local government and thought-provoking discussions on urbanization in Africa.
Take a moment to relax, enjoy a cup of your favorite beverage, and immerse yourself in the captivating stories of transformation. Join us as we honor the triumphs of our partners and the individuals they serve. may they ignite our commitment to a world where every voice matters.
CAPIO Launches Revised Manual for Gender Mainstreaming in the NCoS
In a remarkable development, the Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation (CAPIO) has worked with relevant stakeholders to launch an updated gender mainstreaming manual that focuses on improving the treatment of female inmates within custodial centers across Nigeria. The newly unveiled manual, titled "General Training for Gender Mainstreaming in the NCoS", aims to ensure the provision of proper care and support for female prisoners.
CAPIO, renowned for its dedication to the reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of inmates, has been actively supporting the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) in its mission. In an effort to streamline efforts and bolster effectiveness, CAPIO has merged two existing manuals into a comprehensive document.
The consolidation of these manuals marks a significant step towards enhancing the training capacity of the NCoS. By harmonising the guidelines for gender mainstreaming, CAPIO aims to create a more inclusive and equitable environment within the correctional system. The organisation's commitment to advancing the rights and welfare of incarcerated women is receiving widespread acclaim and appreciation. Stay tuned for more updates on this vital development as Nigeria progresses towards a correctional system that is more focused on rehabilitation rather than punitive
Please see more updates here
MAMA Centre tasks Udi LGA Chairman on abandoned projects
In pursuit of their goal to improve the livelihood of their rightsholders through accountability, MAMA Centre carried out an advocacy visit to the Chairman of Udi Local Government Area (LGA) in Enugu State, Honorable Phillip Okoh. Together with their rightsholders, the purpose of the meeting, which was held at the Local Government Secretariat, was to demand accountability for the numerous abandoned livelihood projects scattered throughout their locality. This collective effort falls under the project called Accountability for Empowerment (A4E), which aims to ensure transparency and effectiveness in local development projects.
Supported by Voice Nigeria, the A4E project has garnered attention and support from various stakeholders. During the advocacy session, Honorable Phillip Okoh, flanked by MAMA Centre-Udi representatives, engaged in constructive discussions to address the issue of abandoned projects and the subsequent impact on the community. The session highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing development challenges and promoting inclusive governance. As the conversation on accountability and empowerment gains momentum, the public eagerly anticipates the outcomes of this engagement. The community hopes that this initiative will pave the way for increased transparency, effective project management, and ultimately, improved livelihoods for the people of Udi.
For more updates on the progress of the A4E project and its impact on Udi's development, stay tuned to MAMA Centre's official Twitter account and see more updates here
Voice and Cognito’s Thought-Provoking Session on Rise Africa Action Festival 2023
A virtual gathering of changemakers and inclusion champions, hosted by Voice and The Cognito Projects, ignited a powerful thought-provoking discussion on the future of African cities under the theme "Breaking Barriers: Promoting Equity and Inclusion in Urbanizing Africa." The session, held on May 24th, 2023 during the annual Rise Africal Action festival, brought together passionate individuals, organizations, and experts determined to shape a brighter urban landscape for the continent.
With Africa experiencing an unprecedented wave of urbanization, accommodating a staggering 500 million people in its cities since 1990, the session shed light on the tremendous opportunities and pressing challenges this transformation presents. From affordable housing and accessibility for persons with disabilities to reliable electricity and clean water, participants delved into the vital components required to build cities that truly serve all inhabitants.
Speakers from Nigeria and Tanzania, while drawing lines of comparison and similarities in their respective counties, emphasized the urgent need for tailored approaches to address Africa's unique dynamics, taking into account economic and political constraints that have hindered cities from contributing to inclusive growth and social development, especially for marginalized populations such as women, youth, indigenous minorities and persons with disabilities (PWDs). The session featured in-depth discussions on the deficits hindering equity and inclusion in urban Africa and showcased innovative solutions that fostered collaboration and collective action.
Key challenges were identified, including inequality, food insecurity, inadequate healthcare services, unemployment, and limited funding, among others. To overcome these barriers, a range of transformative solutions emerged. These included improving infrastructure, promoting accessibility to public infrastructure for persons with disabilities, driving economic empowerment for all, and implementing inclusive policy-making processes. In terms of inclusive solutions - accessible public transportation, inclusive building design, reliable electricity, and clean drinking water were also highlighted as critical aspects of sustainable urban development.
The event underscored the significance of informed citizen engagement, youth-led initiatives, and partnerships with stakeholders to shape inclusive governance and policy frameworks. A compelling video, created by The Cognito Project for the session, captured the voices and aspirations of Africans across various cities. Their shared vision, regardless of location was similar and encompassed access to electricity, clean water, well-developed road networks, and efficient waste management systems, showcasing the deep-rooted desire to promote equity and inclusion in the urbanization of African cities.
As the virtual gathering drew to a close, participants were reminded that the power to shape the cities we desire lies within our hands. With effective collaboration, sound policies, and unwavering determination, it is not only possible but essential to overcome barriers and achieve sustainable urban development while preserving Africa's unique identity. The program left an indelible mark, urging individuals to roll up their sleeves and collectively build the Africa envisioned for today and for future generations.
Please watch the second video played during the event here.
MDF Storms Gombe Markets for GBV Awareness Creation
The Motherhen Development Foundation (MDF) conducted market outreach activities in four communities in Gombe State, Nigeria, as part of their project titled "I am Female and More." This was aimed at raising awareness about gender-based violence (GBV) and promoting community involvement in addressing this issue. The outreach event leveraged community theatre performances depicting the impact of GBV and emphasized the significance of community support. The activities were well-received, with community members expressing their support and interest in volunteering to combat GBV. A total of 452 rightsholders were reached across 4 markets, 18 of which indicated an interest in fighting against GBV in their communities. To further amplify their message, the project recommends adhering to the “Do No Harm Policy,” and engaging mainstream media for broader coverage across the Northeastern state
Moving forward, the project's next steps include organizing a town hall meeting to gather community perspectives on GBV-related issues, arranging a friendly football match to strengthen community cohesion, and conducting a mid-line assessment for monitoring and evaluation purposes. These market outreach activities, conducted under the "I am Female and More" project, have successfully educated communities about GBV and garnered their support in tackling this pressing issue.
Stakeholders pledge to sustain the gains of the ongoing FIRC project for national impact
The Female Inmates and Returned Citizens Cooperative Society of Nigeria (FIRC), recently held a consultative forum with stakeholders in the criminal justice system to intimate them of their activities and collectively brainstorm on how to sustain the gains of their current Voice-funded project entitled, “Enhancing Access to Self-reliance for Female Inmates and Ex-Inmates'' being implemented across custodial centres in Suleija, Enugu, and Lagos. The stakeholders have promised their unflinching support in taking ownership of the project beyond the current funding stream seeing the significance and impact of the project so far.
FIRC is an organization which is poised to enhance access to economic opportunities and healthy rehabilitation of incarcerated women and ex-inmates in Nigeria. The FIRC project aims to empower and support female inmates and returned citizens, with technical support from CAPIO Nigeria and funding from Voice Nigeria. The meeting served as a platform for collaborative planning and productive discussions to enhance the project's impact. Strategies such as vocational training, financial support, and social reintegration programs were explored to provide comprehensive assistance. Stakeholders are eagerly anticipating updates on the implementation of these initiatives, which aim to create a more inclusive and supportive society for female inmates and returned citizens.
Please see more updates here
Thank you for taking the time to read this edition of the newsletter. We hope you found it informative and engaging. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Finally, we urge you to stay curious, stay connected, and as always, stay awesome!
Until next time,
Cognito & NINE Team
(Linking and Learning Facilitator)
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