In 2013, Nigeria accepted 10 recommendations relating to civic space with a view to strengthening the Nigerian civil society.


LAGOS, Nigeria, June 6, 2018–The Nigeria Network of NGOs, NNNGO engaged CSOs in an advocacy strategy to appraise the implementation of past recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and contribute to Nigeria’s submission in the forthcoming review.


The first human rights mechanism to ever achieve 100% participation, twice, by United Nations (UN) member states, the UPR was established in March 2006 by the Human Rights Council (HRC) with the aim of improving current human rights situation in each of the 193 UN member states.


It allows a review of the human rights situation of all UN Member States every 5 years with 42 States undergoing the review each year during three Working Group sessions dedicated to 14 States each.  The result of each review is reflected in the Final Report of the Working Group, which lists the recommendations the State under Review (SuR) will have to implement before the next review.


What makes the UPR especially unique is the inclusion of the civil society such that CSOs are allowed to advocate and take part in implementation of human rights obligations. Thus, a workshop was necessary in order to share outcomes of findings on the 10 recommendations on civic space, the contributions of civil society actors and recommendations as submitted jointly by CIVICUS and NNNGO.


Participants who comprised seventy-one Nonprofits dialogued at the UPR advocacy strategy workshop in view of examining the Nigerian Government’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society.


“Specifically, we analysed the Government of Nigeria’s fulfillment of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression as well as unwarranted restrictions on human rights defenders since its previous UPR examinations in October 2013 and noted gaps in the implementation of these recommendations” noted Ms. Chidinma Okpara, the resident UPR researcher for NNNGO.


In light of providing action-oriented follow-up recommendations, participants at the break-out session during the workshop identified areas of concern, broad goals and specific objectives founded on realities and challenges faced by nonprofit organisations in Nigeria.


According to one of the participants, “one of the challenges we face in the clamour for the implementation of these recommendations is inaccessibility to decision-makers, especially as the submission comes up around the same time as the primary elections.” Another participant also identified challenges of inadequate funding and unavailability of concrete data on human rights situations in the country as obstacles to the actualization of the goals.


However, many participants affirmed that the upcoming 2019 elections may serve as a veritable opportunity that civil society actors could leverage upon to assure that the challenges are mitigated.


Broad goals, targeted at ensuring that the Federal Government of Nigeria implements the 10 recommendations by October 2023 with the ultimate aim of achieving the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights in compliance with the international human rights obligation were aligned with specific objectives.


These objectives were identified as key to the actualization of the goal; such as, creation of public awareness on the 10 recommendations through the media and local community outreaches, strengthening the Nigerian UPR coalition by actively engaging civil society actors in the review process, liaising with the human rights committee at the legislative arm to ensure the amendment of relevant bills and ensuring that CSOs are engaged in the UPR process before the government submits its report.

Strengthening Civic Participation around the Globe: Methods of Effective Campaigning.

On May 9, 2017, the Civic Charter stakeholders’ workshop began in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. The three-day workshop which was facilitated by Burkhard Gnärig of the International Civil Society Centre, Germany and Uyga Özesmi from Good4Trust.org in Turkey was aimed at developing a joint Civic Charter campaign to strengthen civic participation around the globe.


Organized as the starting point for a long term campaign for civic participation, the workshop brought together 25 campaigners from 13 countries that deliberated on issues relating to the shrinkage of civic space while exchanging information on how it is experienced at the local level in their different countries.


Participants at the workshop were introduced with particular emphasis on their work on civil rights and involvement with the Civic Charter while a brief history and glimpse ahead of the Civic Charter movement with view to further development was presented.


The workshop also featured a presentation by Uyga Özesmi of Good4Trust.org on the methods of effective campaigning which focused on developing action for tangible outcomes. Participants were thereafter divided into Country/National groups to design a national campaign by using the Civic Charter; problems as well as areas where concrete change can be made were identified and a power analysis of all national stakeholders with regards to the problem identified was undertaken in view of and identifying targets and developing a campaign.


During afternoon sessions, participants were involved in activities which highlighted the importance of using the Civic Charter as a basis for campaigns and making best use of the Civic Charter in civil activities.


Another highlight of the workshop was a meeting held by participants where they discussed what a “global” Civic Charter promotion campaign should look like, identified tactics that need to be further explored and precautionary measures to be adopted to ensure their own safety. It was agreed that:

  • The International Civil Society Centre (ICSC) will take forward the idea of a viral global campaign in conjunction with other digital ideas for promoting the Civic Charter internationally. The Centre will bring in activists from a range of countries to provide advice on the best approaches for reaching a global community.
  • The Centre will choose a date for a “Civic Charter Day” and communicate plans for that day to the community.

Some of the outcomes of the workshop include the acknowledgement of the capacity of the Civic Charter to be used as an empowerment tool to tackle local issues and as an advocacy instrument during engagements with local and National authorities


A recurring message at the workshop is the need to protect and expand the civil society as an important local, national, regional and global movement to combat corruption in all the countries of the world.  Development partners and the civil society organizations were also advised to resist the deliberate encroachment by various national governments on the civic space by the introduction of obnoxious bills which are meant to curtail CSOs freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of assembly & freedom of association.


Students of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan and Civil Society Organizations were in attendance at the Nigeria Network of NGOs/Center for Sustainable Development seminar, themed Development in Practice: Advancing your career in sustainable development which was held on Friday, 26th May, 2016 at Bodija, Ibadan.


Guest speaker at the seminar, Ms. Crystal Chigbu noted that sustainable development is about giving everything of oneself to society as often as the society requires it. She debunked the notion that sustainable development is simply about charity, saying that there have been misconceptions about sustainable development such that many individuals erroneously think working towards the sustainable development goals simply involves charitable deeds or revenue-making for the purpose of funding NGOs. She noted the importance of disabusing this belief, claiming that it encompasses much more. According to her sustainable development is about innovation and transforming your society in your own way to make impact.


Ms.  Chigbu said impact can be effectively made when a practitioner finds a focus within the SDGs and diligently pursues it. She elaborates on this by stating the importance of adopting four sustainable keys for practice which she labelled, ‘the Irede Model’; Passion, Picture, Pursuing and Impact. The place of passion, she said, cannot be overemphasized as it is the driving force of one’s career and it is through passion that a picture can be effectively pursued to make impact.


She lauded the effectiveness of these keys and attributed the success of her practice to them while noting they help in building and advancing one’s career in development practice. She further added that to build a successful career in sustainable development practice, it is imperative that a practitioner finds a firm placing within the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals as there is the need for practitioners to familiarise themselves with the goals and join the work towards ensuring an orange (happy) world by 2030.


An interactive session followed where participants tabled problematic areas in development practice.


The seminar featured a panel session by volunteers of the Nigeria Network of NGOs who presented reports of their experience with the Network, answered questions pertaining to their areas of expertise and generally gave updates on the projects handled by the Network while they commended the Network for the opportunity it presented in the area of capacity building. The four outgone interns who now serve as volunteers for the Network also noted the importance of being well informed about the civil society sector and enjoined CSOs to take it upon themselves to find out as much as they can about the sector in order to better protect it against unfavourable laws and practices.


The seminar is the second in the series organized by a joint effort of the Nigeria Network of NGOs and the Center for Sustainable Development and focuses on enhancing human capacity development for achieving sustainable development.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organisations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 3495 organisations ranging from small groups working

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