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OSIWA: How we strengthened Nigeria’s response to COVID-19

OSIWA: How we strengthened Nigeria’s response to COVID-19
May 21
09:55 2020

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) says it has so far provided support worth over N165 million to strengthen Nigeria’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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In a document shared with TheCable, Udo Jude Ilo, the organisation’s country officer, said the support was rendered through advocacy measures and making grants available to OSIWA partners, public institutions, the media and civil society groups.

He said the interventions during the lockdown are already having impacts, adding that though the lockdown measures were meant to contain the spread of COVID-19, the institution of curfews, stringent restriction of movement, and lack of access to adequate information created a scenario where human rights were arbitrarily violated.

He detailed the organisation’s intervention efforts as “strategic communication to rural and fringe areas, support for human rights monitoring and documentation, communication and access support for persons living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, engaging policies and promoting collaboration.”

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“OSIWA has provided support to COVID-19 programming on television, print media and radio stations across the country. We were strategic with the radio stations we partnered with because a critical mass of citizens needed to be reached,” he said.

Ilo said OSIWA’s support to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) strengthened monitoring, documenting and reporting of human rights abuses.

“As a result of this support, the NHRC released a report on the rate of violations by law enforcement officers against citizens since the lockdown began,” he said.

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“This report became an advocacy tool which prompted the Presidential Task Force to engage the Commission and led to the House of Representatives making a declaration against gross rights violations by public officers and passing a motion for investigation of violations by law enforcement officers.”

In providing help to victims of gender-based violence, he said OSIWA gave grants to Project Alert and Partners for Justice – organisations protecting women against violence .

The organisation, which operates in 10 West African countries, is also driving coordination for funding by hosting the bi-weekly coordinated philanthropic response to COVID-19 in Nigeria.

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