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Nigerian rights activist, Ohaeri, named Desmond Tutu fellow

Nigerian rights activist, Ohaeri, named Desmond Tutu fellow
March 23
15:50 2016

Victoria Ohaeri, executive director at Spaces for Change, a non-governmental organisation on social justice, has been named one of the 24 Desmond Tutu leadership fellows for 2016.


Out of “305 top-quality nominations from 32 countries” who competed for slots in the prestigious programme, Ohaeri was selected as “one of Africa’s highest-calibre emerging leaders”.

The jury said the selected candidates “have the potential to lead the continent to a bright future”, as they were already “doing amazing things”.

The 24 candidates are from 13 different countries, including less-represented countries such as Somaliland, South Sudan and Guinea Bissau.


The fellows represent a wide spectrum of sectors, from government, business, civil society, entrepreneurs, education, etc – which provides a platform for rich dialogue and learning.

Speaking on the selection, Ohaeri said: “My work on human rights, policy advocacy, and community engagement gives me a strong sense of fulfillment, especially knowing how my work impacts the lives of the less-privileged in the society.

“This prestigious recognition simply provides additional motivation to do more.”


The Harvard University alumni, has led Spaces for Change, a non-profit that leverages on digital technology to crowdsource policy research data, facilitate public dialogues and mobilize the participation of the often-unheard segments of the population.

In her decade-long legal career and involvement in social and economic rights research and advocacy, she has traversed four continents: Africa, Europe, North America and South America.

She has led research investigations, documenting and exposing human rights violations, formulating and analyzing social and economic policy at national, regional and international levels.

She has participated in major studies and fact-finding missions commissioned by UNHABITAT, COHRE, MSI Integrity, Ford Foundation, CORDAID, IISD among others.


With over 10 years research work and advocacy experience across continents, she is currently the country team lead in the ongoing international energy sector research programme focusing on Nigeria, Bangladesh and India.

The four-year multidisciplinary research seeks to investigate the stark gender inequalities in access to energy resources and build the evidence base for developing policy reforms that can overcome these disparities in Nigeria.

Ohaneri also leads S4C’s front-line advocacy and litigation campaign to address the recurrent threats of urban violence and forced displacement in Lagos slum communities.

She is a regular commentator on national and international television and radio programmes in Nigeria and beyond.


Her fields of scholarly work crisscross energy, gender, urban governance, oil sector transparency, human rights and environmental sustainability.

Her articles and analytical commentaries on the above thematic areas feature regularly on a variety of Nigerian and international news media.


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