Training/Capacity Building Programs
CIRDDOC organises Train the Trainers Workshops on Leadership, Democracy and Governance, Gender and Development. The five-day workshops are structured that each of them has a one-day follow- up workshop at which the trainees serve as resource persons. After each of the program, the trainees formed a FORUM. CIRDDOC encourages the development because of the need to set up grassroots Human Rights structures on ground for implementation and continuity of CIRDDOC programs.
The Media Project
1.CIRDDOC has an annual Roundtable/Dialogue with representatives of the electronic and print media during which we run training workshops on Human Rights, Gender and Human Rights Reporting.
2. Radio and television have been identified as effective tools for mass dissemination of information. CIRDDOC makes effective use of them to sensitise citizens on issues of democracy, Governance, Human Rights, Gender, Women’s Rights and Violence against women. CIRDDOC organises and participates in radio and TV phone-in programmes to address these issues.
The Democratic Institution Building Project
This is a program aimed at building the capacity of democratic institutions i.e. the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. This involves capacity building training Workshops on democracy, law making, Leadership, Human Rights and gender for elected officials, Judiciary, legislative staff, Prisons Wardens, police, law officers, civil servants, professional bodies etc. CIRDDOC organises judicial colloquia for judges and magistrates on the domestic application of International Human Rights Norms. This project also includes building and strengthening the resource base of those institutions.
This involves training of leaders of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), community and grassroots groups in citizenship, leadership and governance; democracy, and human rights. Preparatory to any transition to civil rule, CIRDDOC engages in an aggressive civic education program particularly for the rural/grassroots men and women and for schools to sensitise them on their civic duty to vote and participate in the transition program. Soon after elections, CIRDDOC organises civic education workshops for elected officials and citizens to keep them abreast of issues of governance and developments therein.
This consists of a Paralegal training and the provision of legal aid services, including legal representation in court, to indigent persons. The paralegal training is a two-week residential training program to provide legal skills to non-lawyers to enable them to offer ‘first aid’ legal services to the indigent in the society. This project is to train selected members of the communities who enjoy the confidence of their communities and build their capacity in the law. They are able to offer legal advice and provide simple legal services such as drafting of affidavits, tenancy agreements and leases. They are available to provide bail services to the community and act as a check to police illegality. Apart from these tasks, paralegals are capable of working in law firms to assist lawyers. CIRDDOC legal aid clinics are located in 15 communities – Ajalli, Awka, Nri, Nteje and Nnewi in Anambra State, Akpofu, Ugwogo, Ehalumona, Owelli, Enugu in Enugu state; Afikpo, Ezza, Amaezu, Abakaliki and Ikwo in Ebonyi State.
Moot Court Competitions
Moot courts are mock trials or competitions organised for law students to debate legal issues. Under a project supported by Macarthur Foundation, the goal of which is to integrate reproductive health and rights into the curriculum of law schools, Moot courts were conducted in eight universities on reproductive health and rights. They generated comprehensive research by the students and lecturers leading to indepth knowledge and understanding of the issues and legal provisions in this area. One of the objectives of this program is to entrench the culture of moot court into the Faculties of Law. It was an effective means of creating awareness on reproductive rights as each competition attracted over 200 students and teachers.
Tracking The overall objective of this project is to build the capacity of the communities we are working in, to effectively participate in budget tracking and monitoring of government spending in education for the benefit of the poor and marginalised children to enable them enrol in and complete good quality primary education in Enugu, Anambra and Rivers States of Nigeria.
Under the project, the communities are equipped with the knowledge and skills for budget tracking, budget monitoring and corruption monitoring in the education sector. The projects are supported by Commonwealth Education Fund, Heninrich Boll Foundation and USAID/PACT/ADVANCE.
Judicial Colloquium/Judges’ Training
CIRDDOC organises Judicial colloquia annually to engage judicial officers on the domestic application of international human rights instruments and standards in Nigeria. CIRDDOC collaborates with the National Judicial Institute and different state judiciaries in this project. CIRDDOC also invites Judges and Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to participate in these colloquia to ensure that the Nigerian judiciary is also well informed on the workings of the ICC because Nigeria is a State Party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC.
Training of Peer Health Educators on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS
The objectives of the workshop to train peer educators and ensure that there is improved communication on sexuality and reproductive health issues and rights among adolescents. This will in effect reduce the consequences/risks associated with pre-marital sex. CIRDDOC has organised several training programmes for in-school and out – of -school youths.
Community Information Centres
The objective is to provide access to information to community-based citizens who otherwise would not have had access. The Community Information Centres are located in three senatorial zones each of the three states: Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi. In line with CIRDDOC’s commitment to open up political spaces in the rural areas and encourage political participation among the marginalized groups, fifteen Community Information Centres have been put in place. This project is supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation of Germany. The five centres in Anambra State are located at Ajalli, Orumba North LGA, Awka, Awka South LGA, Nteje, Oyi LGA, Nri, Anaocha LGA, and Umudim, Nnewi South. In Ebonyi state, they are in Oriuzo, Ezza North LGA; Amaezu, Ishielu LGA, Echialike, Ikwo East LGA; Ugwulangwu Mgbom, Ohaozara LGA and Afikpo, Afikpo Afikpo North LGA; while in Enugu state they are in Umuhu Umuabo, Ehalumona Nsukka LGA, Umudioha, Imeziowa, Owelli, Awgu Mbanabo South LGA; Ugwogo Umunameze Inyiukwu LGA and Umuiba, Nara Nkanu West LGA. The centres are open to the public and CIRDDOC seeks local partnerships to take over the project.
Under this project, Civic educators and Development Information Officers were trained to run Community Information Centres (CICs) and to serve as Development Information officers (DIOs) in their communities. Most of the trainees are retired civil servants and teachers because experience is needed to run the kind of institution we envisage. Each trained civic educator has returned to his/her community and has since organized community members into groups or linked up with existing groups who meet weekly during the duration of the project. Topics covered in the discussions are budget monitoring, gender, democracy, civic rights and responsibilities etc. A glaring result of the Civic Forum Project has been the setting up of forums at the community level, which in turn has turned out to be a meeting point for the communities to discuss issues of governance. The people at that level are able to understand the issues and are now willing to put up a challenge to hold their elected representatives accountable in governance.
Under a grant from the PAS of the US Embassy, the civic forum project was extended to the 9 states of the old Eastern region
Monitoring and Evaluation
During the year also, CIRDDOC set up a Monitoring and Evaluation team headed by the Programme Officer (Legal) for continuous and regular monitoring and evaluation of the projects particularly for the supervision of Development Information Officers (DIOs) who run the 15 Community Information Centres spread across three states; Civic Educators and Paralegals working in the field. Evaluation workshops are held at the end of every year for the evaluation of the Civic Forum, Paralegal and CDC projects.
Election Monitoring and Mandate Protection Project
CIRDDOC is a Coordinating Committee member of the Transition Monitoring Group, a coalition of Nigerian NGOs committed to the strengthening of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. As part of the activities of the TMG, CIRDDOC trains electoral observers and through them, monitors elections. Under the Electoral Reform Network, CIRDDOC monitors elections as well. In collaboration with Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) with support from UNDP, DFID, EU and CIDA (Joint Donor Basket Fund) CIRDDOC organized series of workshops on Mandate Protection for selected representatives of Community Based Organizations and other stakeholders in the South East towards the 2007 election. One of the outcomes of the workshop was the emergence of a group called “South East Mandate Protection Working Group (SEMPWG). The group’s mandate is to protect the mandate of the people of the South East through the monitoring of pre – election activities, elections and post election activities.
In March – May 2007, CIRDDOC served as the South East Hub for the WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF) in their Media Monitoring Project. CIRDDOC’s staff on the project received training on Media monitoring and reporting. The objective was to monitor political activities in the zone. This was done through monitoring of publications in the daily newspapers, television and radio stations on electoral and political process.
Stand Up against Poverty Campaign
CIRDDOC is a member of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP). CIRDDOC organizes an annual campaign “STAND UP and SPEAK OUT against poverty” in schools across the country. It is part of a worldwide call that result in more than 23 million people all over the world standing up in all countries of the world’s poorest of the poor to speak out and make poverty history and to meet to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over 2000 students waving white handkerchiefs denounce poverty and call on the government to eradicate poverty from the land.
Affirmative Action and CEDAW and AU Protocol Domestication Project
We are committed to the domestication of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which provides for women’s human rights. Our activities include mass producing and wide distribution of the texts to make them available to citizens. The texts are also simplified, illustrated and translated into native languages. Over the past three years, CIRDDOC worked with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA) and other partner NGOs on advocacy for domestication of CEDAW, otherwise known as the Women’s Convention. The CEDAW bill was presented to the National Assembly by the Presidency as an executive bill. While the national bill was pending, CIRDDOC in collaboration with the National Coalition on Affirmative Action targeted the state Houses of Assembly for the domestication of CEDAW.
CIRDDOC is a steering committee member of the Gender and Affirmative Action (Issue Based Project) of the C4C/DFID project as well as the National Coordinator of the National Coalition on Affirmative Action under which umbrella the Gender and Equal Opportunities Law was passed in Imo and Anambra States and is pending in 23 other States Houses of Assembly in the federation.
UN Trust Fund To End Violence Against Women/Bridges To End Violence Against Women
CIRDDOC is a grantee of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. CIRDDOC is collaborating with Actionaid International Nigeria and Ministry of Women Affairs Ebonyi state and Ministry of Women affairs Cross River state to implement the three year project, the goal of which is to reduce stigma and discrimination arising from the twin pandemics of HIV/AIDS and Violence against Women. The theory of Change is that reducing discrimination and stigma arising from VAW and HIV/AIDS – and building the capacity of health and legal aid providers to understand their obligation – will improve women’s demand for, access to and use of services. A baseline study was conducted to establish the baseline against which success and impact of the project could be measured. Other activities are capacity building, advocacy, and outreaches.
Nigeria Social Forum (NSF)
CIRDDOC is the coordinator of the South East Social Forum and the immediate past chair of the NSF. The Nigeria Social Forum (NSF) is an open meeting place where groups and movements of civil society opposed to neo-liberalism and a Nigeria dominated by capital and liberal thinking or by any form of imperialism, but engaged in building a Nigerian society centred on the human person, come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, to formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. The NSF proposes to debate alternative means to building a Nigeria, which respects universal human rights and those of all men, women, girls and boys, grounded in democratic African and International systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples.
Women in Governance Project
CIRDDOC partnered with Heinrich Boll Foundation and Ministry of Women Affairs (under the MDG grant funds) to build the capacity of female political aspirants in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States to compete favourably with their male counterparts in the field and assist them with their media engagement. Among the women supported, three of them won elections as Local Government Chairpersons and Councillors. These are Dr. (Mrs.) Nwozor Chairperson Ebonyi LGA, Ebonyi state, Joy Uzobuenyi Anulika, Councillor Amansiodo Ward, Ezeagu LGA, Enugu state, and Mrs. Ebere Chibuisi Councilor Awha Ward in Ezeagu LGA of Enugu state. Mrs. Nkem Chukwu was appointed secretary to LG after the Chairmanship was zoned out of her community.
Accountability Sessions/Town Hall Meetings
Under the HBF project, CIRDDOC Community Information Centres (CICs) organise organize Town Hall meetings also known as accountability sessions for political aspirants and political office holders to hold them accountable. Before the 2007 elections the Town Hall Meetings provided a forum for aspirants to meet with their potential constituents and show case their workplan for the people if elected. Citizens were assisted to distinguish between serious and unserious aspirants and to make their choices of whom to vote for. Although the elections have come and gone and they have been adjudged by both local and international observers as flawed, citizens were mobilized and they really came out en masse to exercise their franchise in favour of candidates of their choice. It also sent out serious signals to politicians that it was no longer business as usual; accountability was imperative. After the elections these forums are created for office holders to meet face to face with their constituents and give account of their stewardship.
Challenging Patriarchy Campaign Project
CIRDDOC is participating in the Actionaid initiated project which seeks to build capacity of women at the grassroots by assisting them to be financially independent and knowledgeable in order to challenge patriarchy and enforce their rights. CIRDDOC organised a round table campaign on challenging patriarchy at Ehalumona community in Enugu state on the 13th of October 2007 with the objective of identifying patriarchal norms, creating awareness of their evil effects and mobilizing women’s groups, stakeholders, CBOs to effectively challenge them. The meeting was well attended by Traditional leaders (Igwes), Religious bodies, men and women and the youths of the community.
Reproductive Health and Rights
Under the Macarthur grant, CIRDDOC is implementing a project on improving maternal health and reproductive rights through the legal system. The goal of the project is to integrate reproductive rights education in the curriculum of the Faculties of Law in Nigerian universities. Activities designed to achieve this goal are Moot court competitions, judicial colloquia, training for lawyers and prosecutors, Media training, Tribunal on the Violation of Reproductive Rights, Documentation and publications.
CIRDDOC organises annual tribunals on violations of human rights of women or violence against women. A tribunal is a forum organised in an informal court setting where victims of human rights or women’s rights abuses give testimonies of their real life experiences. Tribunals have been found to be compelling for documenting and making visible violations of human rights as well as an effective mechanism for challenging government and demanding accountability for the protection of women rights. While tribunals are not legal proceedings per se, and the judges’ or panel of experts do not have the power to enforce recommendations, tribunals nonetheless have effected significant changes in attitudes and policies concerning women including on GBV. By having victims of the violations speaking publicly about these abuses and linking them to their feelings, they bring out the violations of human rights involved in the actions.