Mobilizing for Change: MCLD-Nigeria’s 2023 Recap

Embarking on a journey of impactful initiatives and transformative engagements, MCLD-Nigeria presents a recap of our highlights from the dynamic year of 2023. From spearheading sensitization campaigns against electoral violence to fostering partnerships and empowering marginalized groups, join us as we showcase the pivotal moments that defined our commitment to positive change and community development.

Sensitization Against Electoral Violence in Nigeria

MCLD-Nigeria conducted sensitization efforts against electoral violence in various communities across Nigeria. The 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Election took place on February 23, 2023, while the State Governorship and State House of Assembly Election occurred on March 18, 2023, across 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. Our organization, Strategic Action for Community Development (SACD)-Nigeria, collaborated with 30 member organizations to carry out sensitization activities. These included advocacy, awareness campaigns, and visits to stakeholders such as community leaders, churches, youth groups, motor park unions, and radio jingles for eligible voters. The aim was to create awareness of a violence-free pre and post-election environment, considering past violent experiences and indicators of potential violence in the current election. These efforts covered approximately 210 communities across Nigeria, directly reaching over 1 million people during the sensitization.

The focus was on sensitizing youths to discourage all forms of violence, ensuring a peaceful 2023 election. The campaign urged voters to reject vote buying/selling, emphasizing that accepting money from politicians influences decision-making and opens the door to manipulation. Voters were advised not to carry weapons to polling units or vandalize Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities. Instead, they were encouraged to address grievances through appropriate channels. Many voters were enlisted as ambassadors to extend awareness to their homes and institutions.

Gender-Based Violence in Elections

The electoral process in Nigeria is not immune to violence, with women facing significant gender-based vulnerabilities. Gender-related abuses, including physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, socio-economic, and harmful cultural practices, pose a threat to the integrity of electoral and democratic processes. Women actively participating in politics reported injuries, threats of divorce, and even rape due to their involvement or that of their relatives in the electoral process.

Sensitization against election violence specifically targeted men, who were identified as the primary perpetrators of Violence Against Women In Elections, often aided by societal structures such as security personnel, husbands, and youth.

Partnership with Nigeria Police, National Human Rights Commission, Religious Leaders, and Community Leaders

Collaboration against electoral violence is crucial. Violence during elections can lead to loss of life, property destruction, and undermine the democratic process. To combat electoral violence, a strong partnership between the government, civil society, and the electorate is essential. Our sensitization campaign facilitated partnerships with the Nigeria Police, National Human Rights Commission, Religious Leaders, and Community Leaders. The objectives include a commitment to peaceful elections, promotion of civic education, and the strengthening of democratic institutions. The partnership aims to foster dialogue and cooperation among government officials, civil society organizations, and representatives of the electorate.

Monthly Zoom Meetings 

We conducted monthly Zoom meetings to address workplace challenges, provide collaborative spaces for expressing opinions, update members on current tasks, boost energy levels, and encourage a culture of collaboration. Updates on the international status of MCLD were provided, and members brainstormed new ideas for advancing the organization.

Election Of Youth Task Group

During one of our monthly meetings, a youth representative was elected, and a youth task group was formed. This group helps young people gain self-confidence and self-esteem, providing leadership opportunities that they might not otherwise receive.

Empowerment/Graduation Of Widows And Orphans From Member Training Facilities.

The training and empowerment of widows and orphans aim to improve health, education, protection, and socio-economic outcome of widows and orphans was cried out across various communities.

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Sixteen Days of Activism And Protection.

Our members engaged in the Sixteen Days of Activism against gender-based violence from November 25 to December 19, 2023. The public was sensitized on the importance of uniting to prevent violence against women and girls in Nigeria. The campaign aimed to end violence against women and girls by mobilizing youth groups, women groups, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Collaboration with law enforcement agencies ensures that perpetrators of violence are brought to justice, preventing the recurrence of such incidents.

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The session began with market women, who constitute the backbone of many households but are often unaware of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Questions were encouraged, leading to a woman expressing her intention to educate those who were not present. Another woman, initially expecting monetary assistance, realized the value of the knowledge gained, and over 27 women and two men reported SGBV cases during the session.