Human Rights, Higher Education and Young Peoples Reproductive Health in Nigeria
January 19, 2005 | Press Release | Higher Education in Russia & Africa, Human Rights, Population & Reproductive Health

MacArthur has announced 13 grants totaling more than $9 million to promote human rights, strengthen higher education, and advance young peoples reproductive health and rights in Nigeria.

"For 15 years, the MacArthur Foundation has supported dedicated citizens taking responsibility for Nigeria's future," said Jonathan Fanton, President of MacArthur. "The grants we announce today will nurture the country's growing civil society. Whether addressing human rights, higher education, or reproductive health, these groups and institutions are helping make Nigeria's democracy stronger and more vibrant."

MacArthurs grantmaking in Nigeria began in 1989, and the Foundation opened an office in Abuja in 1994. In the past 10 years, MacArthur has made more than 250 grants totaling nearly $34 million in support of individuals and organizations working in the areas of human rights and international justice, population and reproductive health, and to strengthen Nigerias universities.

Human Rights

Six grants totaling nearly $1.7 million were awarded for human rights activities.  MacArthur seeks to help develop the human rights infrastructure in Nigeria by 1) building up select national human rights organizations and facilitating linkages with international counterparts, 2) strengthening the countrys legal architecture through support of activities to improve the constitution and national laws, and 3) addressing police reform.

  • Lagos-based CLEEN Foundation received a grant of $475,000 over three years for activities to enhance police accountability in Nigeria. Grant funds will be used to standardize procedures for dealing with complaints about police misconduct and to use data from these procedures to track patterns of complaints, to disseminate statistics on complaints to the police force and members of civil society, and to use the data to help determine and enforce disciplinary action.

  • The Nigeria Police Force received a grant of $300,000 over two years to help improve the relationship between the countrys police and the communities they serve. Grant funds will be used to create a web-based resource center to develop, collect, and update training materials for courses in community policing, a new program undertaken by the Nigerian Police Force to build greater cooperation and trust between the police and communities. The police department will also work with civil society groups to develop a strategy for educating the communities about the value of the community policing project.

  • The Legal Defense and Assistance Project (LEDAP) received $350,000 over three years for a project to improve the administration of criminal justice in the country. Grant funds will be used to train 900 state prosecutors across Nigeria on best practices, human rights standards and laws, and to improve case management skills in the prosecutors offices in 12 states.

  • A grant of $300,000 over two years was awarded to the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja to implement a national plan of action to promote human rights in the country. Nigerias plan emerged from an appeal made during the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Vienna in 1993.

  • The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, based in Port Harcourt, received a grant of $200,000 over three years to help monitor the flow of public funds in the Niger Delta region. The project is designed to make it possible for government, local communities, and oil companies to work together to make better use of financial resources available for local development in the Niger Delta.

  • Ahmadu Bello Universitys Centre for Islamic Legal Studies received a grant of $110,000 over one year for activities to develop a Standardized Islamic Criminal Procedure Code that will result in transparent procedures in Shariah courts designed to ensure human rights are not violated. In 2003, the Centre carried out a project to harmonize Shariah those based on Islamic teachings across twelve states.

  • A grant of $70,000 over one year was awarded to the Supreme Court of Nigeria to add legal databases and software to the Courts library and to train staff members how to use the new technology in their research.

  • Kano-based Centre for Research and Documentation received a grant of $50,000 over one year for a project to work with Nigerias media on conflict resolution, particularly as it relates to ethno-religious conflict in northern Nigeria. In reporting on these conflicts, the media is in a position to help prevent violence and foster greater understanding among various groups.

Strengthening African Universities

Two grants totaling $6.4 million were awarded to two universities in Nigeria, Bayero University and the University of Ibadan. This support reflects MacArthurs assumption that democracies in general, and development in particular, cannot flourish without strong intellectual, scientific, artistic, and cultural communities, and that universities are critical to the sustenance of these communities. MacArthur provides support to four of Nigerias leading universities Bayero University, the University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University, and the University of Port Harcourt to strengthen them and to bolster reforms they have initiated. This work is carried out in conjunction with the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, launched in April 2000 by the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford, Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations.

The University of Ibadan received a grant $3.4 million and Bayero University received a grant of $3 million. Both institutions will use MacArthur funds over the next three years to continue their work refurbishing and upgrading university facilities and for faculty development.  

  • Bayero, projects will include strengthening university facilities, particularly science laboratories, and increasing the number of students enrolled in science and technology programs; enabling faculty to complete their PhDs at Nigerian and foreign universities; strengthening the universitys information and communication technology infrastructure; and making improvements to the library.
  • At the University of Ibadan, grant funds will be used for faculty development by encouraging more research at the university and in collaboration with other institutions; for investments in information and communication technology, including a distance learning program and library automation efforts; for increasing international academic exchanges; and for collaboration with the private sector to align research and teaching at the University with Nigerias economic development goals.

Population and Reproductive Health

Three grants totaling more than $800,000 were awarded to help advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people in Nigeria. The Foundations grantmaking in this area helps to implement the Nigerian governments national sexuality education curriculum. Grant funds will help bring to scale model sexuality education programs in Enugu, Niger and Plateau States and mobilize support from parents, teachers, and religious and community leaders. Each grantee, in conjunction with the relevant state ministries of education, will train teachers in the curriculum, develop a workplan and teaching materials; and evaluate the implementation of their program.

  • In Plateau State, Youth, Adolescent, Reflection and Action Center (YARAC), received a grant of $324,000 over three years;

  • In Enugu State, The Global Health and Awareness Research Foundation received a grant of $300,000 over three years;

  • In Niger State, The Center for Communication and Reproductive Health Services (CCRHS) received a grant of $215,000 over two years;

As part of its population and reproductive health grantmaking, the MacArthur Foundation also provides support to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in Nigeria.

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