International non-governmental organisation, OXFAM, through The Voice Nigeria project, has awarded grants of 100,000 – 200,000 Euros to 15 NGOs, CSOs and other volunteer groups; in order to mobilise and empower skilled and talented young Nigerians.
The grants are also to strengthen the capacity of CSOs representing rights-holder groups and to enable them improve their access to resources and employment.
The Project Coordinator, Voice Nigeria, Ijeoma Okwor, revealed this at a workshop Tuesday in Abuja to officially launch the extension phase of the Voice in Nigeria programme and first phase of grantees under the extension phase.
She said the workshop was organised to provide information about the interventions of the Voice Programme in the past five years and also promote transparency and accountability of the programme by providing information about the granting process for the Voice extension phase.
According to her, “The projects being implemented under the consortium, Oxfam and Hivos, have in the past five years impacted on the lives of Nigerians through grants to NGOs for different projects affecting youths, persons with disability, women and other vulnerable Nigerians.
“Voice is implemented in 10 countries and Nigeria. Since 2017, we’ve been giving out grants in Nigeria and this year, we are giving out 15 grants ranging from 100,000 Euros to 200,000 Euros and above.
“For instance, in the ‘Influencing Grant’, we have eight grantees, including YIAGA Africa, Connected Development, Street Project Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disability, Network of Youths for Sustainable Development, Centre for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment, among others.
“Under ‘Sudden Opportunity’, we have six grantees, where you have Integrity Technology, among others; we also have the ‘Innovate and Learn’ grant.”
Okwor further explained that funding for CSOs and NGOs was dwindling, because a lot of donors were concerned about Nigeria and how NGOs utilise money meant for projects.
“Let’s be transparent and accountable in the way we do things. Let’s coordinate better and leverage on what others have done, so that we don’t duplicate interventions.
Also speaking, Controller, Correctional Centre, Mr Francis Enobere, hailed the organisation for the good job it is doing, adding that correctional centres in Nigeria have benefitted from a number of projects implemented by the team.
“I appreciate the good work done by the Voice team. A gender sensitive manual was developed sometime ago and is now part and parcel of our training operational code. We have been able to bridge the gaps in dealing with females in our centres.
“There is a project we are looking to bring on board. Hopefully, it will be implemented in our centres. If our dreams come true, inmates would be able to exercise their franchise hopefully before 2023.
“Youths can now engage their grievances constructively in a positive manner, while also showcasing their capabilities to lead tomorrow,” he added.
The Voice Nigeria is supported by Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OXFAM and Hivos People Unlimited.