Queer Alliance, a Nigerian human rights organisation, is helping to train the future leaders of the country’s LGBT community.
The alliance, whose vision is to achieve respect and recognition of the fundamental human rights of LGBTIQ Nigerians through advocacy, education, research and publications, recently completed a free three-day training program for about 12 Nigerian LGBT activists.
The program, titled “Capacity Building Training for Emerging LGBT Leaders,” took place in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.
Facilitating the training sessions were Rashidi Williams, the founder and director of Queer Alliance, and Dorothy Aken’ova, the founder and executive director of the International Centre for Reproductive and Sexual Rights (INCRESE), who is a human rights activist, feminist, and a strong supporter of sexual minorities in Nigeria.
The training sessions focused on human rights systems, policy advocacy, constituency building, organizational development and proposal writing, amongst other topics. It was organised in response to the need to continually build capacity and to strengthen skills of the country’s LGBT rights advocates, said Williams, who facilitated most of the sessions.
Aken’ova, who also facilitated some of the sessions, commended participants for their openness and their ability to learn. She told NoStrings:
“It’s been a very rewarding experience to be part of the meeting that we just finished, because I can see that these dreams are being realized a step after the other.
“I am also excited about the group of emerging leaders that I saw in the meeting who are very open and receptive to inputs, to capacity building, to new understanding and open to learn to do the right things,.
“It’s not always easy to have people who take corrections but in this meeting we were able to be very frank and very open about certain things as far as constituency building and maintaining alliances is concerned, so I am really hopeful that the movement is continually getting rejuvenated and continually renewed toward greater battles that are lying ahead — because there are.”
Her statements complemented what some of the participants revealed. For example, a young man who attended the training program as a representative of his organization said:
“Before coming here I knew little or nothing about advocacy, but having participated here, I think I have enriched myself, and I have gotten more capacity to go about advocating for the cause I have. So I will say that the time I spent here is worthwhile and so, therefore, I am happy to be a part of it”.
NoStrings commends the effort put forth by Queer Alliance, especially at a time like this when sexual minorities in Nigeria are experiencing violence, discrimination, and religious oppression.
NoStrings is convinced that the training will equip participants to learn new ways to tackle the various, increasingly serious issues negatively affecting the Nigerian LGBT community.