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Oxfam marks five years of ‘defending women’s rights’ with VOICE project

Oxfam marks five years of ‘defending women’s rights’ with VOICE project
April 07
23:29 2021

Oxfam International has marked the fifth anniversary of its VOICE project, aimed at defending the rights of women in society.

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At the anniversary celebration held on Wednesday in Abuja, the organisation also promised to continue to defend those who are marginalised, and whose rights have been trampled upon.

The VOICE project, which is being implemented with support from the Netherlands, focuses on Nigerian women who are victims of abuse.

Constant Tchona, Oxfam country director in Nigeria, said the organisation believes that the country’s sustainable development depends on “the collective effort we make to recognise the different levels of disabilities in the society”.

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“What we are doing is to be able to recognise different levels of abilities; we don’t call it disabilities. Recognising people that are marginalised — people whose rights have been trampled upon — those are the people we’re working with, and we hear different stories from the celebration of the fifth year of VOICE,” Tchona, who was represented by Olumide Ojo, a project manager with Oxfam, said.

“We see how much encouragement a lot of people get from the testimonies of the people that are encapsulated in our projects. You hear about how Oxfam is leading the way in challenging negative social norms and cultural practices that are holding women back in the society.’’

Ijeoma Okwor, the VOICE project coordinator, said the organisation has, through the initiative, recorded some strides, including ensuring gender-sensitive training is compulsorily taken as a course in various correctional facilities.

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Okwor also said a gender sensitisation manual has been developed and adopted by prisons, while affordable sanitary pads are being produced by female inmates inside Suleja correctional facilities.

Antonia Ede, one of the project beneficiaries from Enugu state, said the initiative helped to abolish cultural practices such as widows being required to stay indoors and not combing their hair for one month.

She also said the project has given women in her community in Umuode access to inheritance, adding that for the first time in the community’s history, two women have become cabinet members of the igwe-in-council.

Below are pictures from the event.

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Ijeoma Okwor, the VOICE project coordinator

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