Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria) has called for a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to development and women empowerment in Nigeria.

The organization made this demand in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital during an “Individual Plan Implementation for Putting Global Rights Connection (GRC) Learning Experience into Action with One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta”.

(Cross Section of participants at the program with the Executive Director, Fyneface Dumnamene speaking)

The program which was organized by Advocacy Centre for its Executive Director, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface to share the learning and experience gained from participation in the Equitas, Canada’s International Human Rights Training Program online version tagged “Global Rights Connection (GRC) 2021” concluded on December 10, 2021 saw the participation of youths, men, women and persons with disabilities from Rivers and other States in the Niger Delta.

Speaking during the experience sharing session, Fyneface Dumnamene graphically presented the learning experience with other participants from around the world during the 10 weeks program which started on October 4 and concluded on international human rights day on December 10, 2021 saying “In week 1, we learned about ground rules development in human rights work, spiral learning model as adopted for the training by Equitas, Canada as well as ways of recognizing how to give and receive feedbacks for human rights education and advocacy works.  In week 2, we learned and compared our personal concept of human rights with those of other participants from around the world; essential elements of building human rights culture in our society and complementarity of our role as a human rights educators and activists.

(Cross Section of participants at the program with the Executive Director, Fyneface Dumnamene speaking)

In week 3, we learned and reflected on the universality of human rights, our values and approaches as well as a productive discussion of conflicting perspectives of human rights. In week 4, gender issues, some gender inequalities were learnt. These were followed by learning on the role of human rights education in working towards equality as well as some tools to fight against gender inequalities. In week 5, human rights education in building a culture of human rights, broader context of influencing human rights education and defense in our countries and ways of situating our human rights education in the broader context of our human rights work were learnt. In week 5, we learnt about identifying opportunities to increase the quality and effectiveness of human rights education work as well as efficient use of available resources to achieve results.

(Cross Section of Participants with the Executive Director, YEAC, Fyneface Dumnamene speaking)

In Week 6, learning was based on Human Rights Standards and Instruments. Under this learning, all standard human rights instruments and mechanisms were identified, listed, presented and learned about. In week 7, the learning was based on the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA). The Elements of the foundation of HRBA, rationale for implementing HRBA and the value it adds to development in a society were learnt. The week’s activity concluded with identifying opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the HRBA. The week 8 learning was a critical part of the human rights training program. This is because it presented opportunity for the application of the human rights-based approach by working through case studies. The case study presented for analysis, the “Summerland” is a typical situation where a company, supported by the government comes to set up development project, a sugar factory without adopting the human rights based approach and social inclusion in community engagement thus resulting or leading to the violations of human rights and eruption of crisis.

(Mr. Fidelis Fidel, a participant asking question on whether Advocacy Centre is able to relate with the UN Human Rights System as a result of participation in the program and whether such relationship can be leveraged upon to address human rights abuses in Nigeria)

In Week 9, Educational Evaluation in the context of Human Rights Education was learned in details with practical class works and assignments carried out by participants.

(Charles Assissi Obomadu, a Board of Trustee Member, speaking and making contribution at the event)

In the final week of the training which was Week 10, we learnt how to apply the participatory approach and spiral learning models in the design of human rights education initiatives, key components of effective human rights monitoring and advocacy as well as the role of monitoring and advocacy in human rights education among others.

(A participant, Nwibakpo Golden commending YEAC and Equitas for the training which he said is enriching)

This simulation was typical of what is obtained in Africa and particularly in the Niger Delta with oil companies and the crisis we experience and live with today because they did not adopt the human rights based approach and social inclusion to development. The module practically demonstrates concerns between development and human rights in development projects and how to apply the elements of human rights-based approach in development through stakeholder mapping and different contexts for inclusivity.

(Miss Lekova Gbereva, a University of Calabar student participant asking question on whether there are available documents that outlined the various existing human rights and ways of seeking redress when such rights are violated)

Dwelling more on Gender and Human rights-Based approach, Mr. Fyneface said “Gender” being a social construct should not be seen as solely referring to women alone but men as well. Explaining further he said gender in the “women” category refers to girls, young women, the elderly, the blind, deaf, dumb and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community as well as those with other disabilities and the physically challenged with same thing applying to the male folks on the other hand.

(Frank Karikpo, a participant making contribution at the program)

Fyneface also said of both sexes in the context of gender, the COVID-19 pandemic affected women and girls more than men, making especially the women to lose their jobs and sources of livelihoods.

(Roseline Precious making contributions

Mr. Fyneface who backed his arguments on gender equality and these impacts of COVID-19 on women with short videos of the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres and former Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called on the government to create more job opportunities for women to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on their families and households. Adding that the gender assigned to us at birth should not dictate who we are, what we think we can do and what we think we cannot do because of our sexes and that gender equality is fundamental.

(Bere Letam Noble, a participant making contribution at the program)

On the other hand, he said peaceful and serene environment would be achieved in the society if the human rights-based approach is which ensures inclusion and ensure that no one is left behind is adopted in all development projects. Adding that, the crisis in many Niger Delta communities is as a result of the neglect of the human rights-based approach to development which does not prioritize total inclusion including the physically challenged and persons with disabilities.

(Helen Ayes, a physically challenged making contribution at the program)

Different participants among the over 35 persons in attendance took time to ask questions, made contributions and commented on the training. They also expressed appreciation together with Advocacy Centre for the opportunity offered by Equitas for more innovative ways of human rights education and defense.

(The facilitator, Fyneface Dumnamene and a cross section of female participants at the program)(The facilitator, Fyneface Dumnamene and a cross section of male participants at the program)(Group photograph at the end of the program)

The event PowerPoint Presentation is available and downloadable here: Fyneface_YEAC_IP Implementation Presentation May 13, 2022

Some Media Publications from the event: