On 17 January 2017, Voice was launched in Abuja by the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria and the Nigerian government. At global level, Voice is managed by a consortium of Oxfam Novib and Hivos while in Nigeria, Voice is implemented by the gender justice unit of Oxfam Novib in Nigeria.

The project targets the most marginalised and most discriminated groups in Nigeria, exploring innovative ways of making a difference in their lives. Voice hinges on the policy of 'Leave No One Behind' drawing from the UN call for the Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure that no citizen of a nation, community or group of people is excluded in its development.

Context in Nigeria

The relevance of the UN call to 'Leave No One Behind' has never been more apt than it is in present day Nigeria as many citizens increasingly feel that they have been left behind. Lack of inclusion cuts across the entire region and affects particularly women, children, the elderly, and the youth.

Civil unrest and community clashes have increased the rate of gender-based violence (particularly sexual violence) against women and children (the girl child and boys), and also coerced the male child into war. The elderly also bear part of the brunt. Certain harmful traditional practices still strife in Nigeria. The current economic hardship and the resultant inflation have brought untold hardship to many citizens, and the youths are stripped of vision and zeal due to the increasing unemployment. Discriminatory tax policies continually extort the majority poor while enriching the few at the top.

These circumstances have deepened inequality, discrimination, marginalisation and consequently poverty in Nigeria; contradicting the express provisions in the 1999 Constitution regarding equality and non-discrimination. Nigeria is signatory to and/has acceded to many international human rights instruments; however, domestication of these instruments has remained a huge challenge. Bills like Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill; Discrimination against Persons with Disability bill etc are still struggling in the 8th legislative Assembly. On the other hand, laws that have clear discriminatory provisions like the Anti-Gay Law excelled in 2015.

Reaching marginalised groups and getting them to voice out their feelings and believes have not been easy tasks, due to stigmatisation and the culture of silence. Voice in Nigeria is therefore looking for innovative ways to break this culture of silence, encourage the target groups to speak out and force relevant authorities to listen. Voice believes that through the act of speaking out and listening, barriers of silence and stigmatisation can be broken.

Priorities for Voice in Nigeria

The baseline assessment conducted for the implementation of Voice project in Nigeria revealed varying degrees of marginalisation and discrimination against all five target groups within Voice, but identified people living with disabilities and women facing exploitation, abuse and/or violence as the most affected. Voice in Nigeria will therefore focus on these two groups while observing intersectionalities and ‘inclusiveness’. Grantees are therefore expected to come up with innovative approaches that will ensure inclusiveness for any marginalised and discriminated persons in Nigeria, while focusing on the priority target groups.  

Voice in Nigeria will consider applications from organisations which are working in at least one of the following states:

  • Lagos (South West)
  • Enugu State (South East)
  • Port Harcourt South South
  • Federal Capital Territory North Central
  • Bauchi State (North East)
  • Katsina (North West)

Applications from other states will automatically be rejected.

Please find some suggestions for potential projects focusing on the two target groups here.

Calls for proposals

Following the launch of Voice on 17th January 2017, Calls for Proposals for the Influencing grant and Innovate and Learn grant have been opened. The deadline for the Influencing Grant was 28th of February and the team is currently reviewing the submitted proposals. All applicants will be informed by mid-April of the outcome. New calls for Empowerment grant and Sudden Opportunity grant will be opened mid-2017. Details will be provided on this page.