Photovoice Exhibition and International Human Rights Day Commemorative Activity

WHER Initiative conducted a Photovoice exhibition on the 16th of December 2018 in commemoration of the annual International Human Rights Day celebrated every 10th December. The purpose of this event is to create an avenue for LBQ women to gain knowledge on culture, human rights and sexuality and to tell the stories of violations experienced by LBQT women across Nigeria.

The event was attended by 37 participants. The occasion was centred on the need for people to stand against violations and injustice of the rights of everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. It also reflected on what culture says about human rights, and the universality of culture was discussed in detail as it relates to sexuality as well as human rights. 10 photographs of LBQT persons were exhibited and participants took time to reflect on their stories of human rights violations

Building the Capacity of Media Personnel’s in Nigeria on Human Rights and Gender Diversity

To sensitize Media personnel on the issues that concern Sexual Minority Persons and establish working relationships with Media personnel for future collaborations, WHER conducted a To sensitize Media personnel on the issues that concern Sexual Minority Persons and establish working relationships with Media personnel for future collaborations, WHER conducted a capacity building workshop on 11th – 12th November 2019. The workshop was attended by 11 media personnel and resulted in improved capacity for media personnel on issues that concern Sexual Minority Persons, established working relationships with Media personnel for future collaborations and established direct contacts with mainstream media houses.

The workshop which was interactive in nature was centred on issues such as gender and sexuality reflecting on gender serotypes and the effect that it has on the LGBT community. It also reflected on issues such as rights and laws in Nigeria with the attendees educated on the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) and other laws such as the Penal and Shari’a Law. The activity had the aim of indicating how these laws violates the basic human rights of all Nigerians and also re-educate the group on their code of practice.

At the end of the activity, strategies were developed on how LGBTQ issues can best be represented in the media by using the appropriate language and also mapping out LGBTQ friendly media houses that can be approached when we need to tell our own stories and in our own voices without the fear of it being misconstrued

RAINBOW READS BOOK CLUB

WHER Initiative kick-started a book club and named it RAINBOW READS book club. This book club was intended to further advertise both the physical and virtual resource libraries of WHER. The main objective of this project is for LBQ women who are book-lovers to gain the benefits of belonging to a book club and to create an atmosphere where book lovers can learn new things in the books they read. It was agreed that book club members would get to watch educative movies as well after discussing books in two subsequent club meetings.

 

S/No. DATE NAME OF BOOK/MOVIE NO. OF PERSONS IN ATTENDANCE
1. 11th of May 2019 Book: NAMELESS, a collection of stories 8
2. 15th June 2019 Book: NOT YET UHURU (LESBIAN FLASH EROTICA) authored by Dolar Vasani. 7
3. 20th of July 2019 Movie: BATTLE OF THE SEXES 36
4. 17th August 2019 Book: BELOVED by Toni Morrison 7
5. 21st of September 2019 Book: From “Erotic Impulse” – RADICAL FEMME (poems by Scarlet Woman); GOING PUBLIC, a story written by Betty Dodson 15
6. 19th October 2019 Movie: PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN 28

 

 

Self-Care During Quarantine

In these COVID-19 times, we understand that it is easy to lose yourself in the fear and frenzy of the pandemic. This fear makes you anxious and anxiety can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

Please try not to panic and focus on the positives: like, the recovery rate which is higher than the death rate. Also, indulge in some self-care techniques which have been tried and found effective. For those that work well with plans and schedules, you can create a self-care calendar.

This self-care calendar will include something that you will do daily to ensure that your mind and body are well taken care of. Below are some essential self-care tips that will help you to stay sane in these climes.

  1. Meditation and or Yoga: These will help to centre your mind and body and dispel any negative feelings. It also helps to relax one and it is almost like a sleeping pill for those with insomnia.
  2. Reducing how much time you spend on social media: There is so much information but facts and lies on the internet these days. Reducing how much you interact with said information can go a long way in keeping you away from anxiety.
  3. Checking in on friends and family: Many times, we forget to check on some friends and family members as a result of our busy schedules. Now is the time to check up on everyone and know how they are faring.
  4. Learning something new every day: Online courses, blogs, essays and theses are a great source of educating yourself. Now is the time to acquire a new skill. Come out of quarantine as a guru in a field that you are interested in.
  5. Maintaining a good sleep routine: Knowing how easy it is to mess up your sleep pattern in these times, the discipline has to be applied in this area. Try to maintain a healthy sleep routine and ensure to get enough rest.
  6. Regular exercise: Working out for 30 minutes in the mornings or evenings offer a wide range of benefits to the body and mind. In these times, with enough time in our hands, we can be more fit than ever!
  7. Healthy eating: We recognise that in the absence of activity, it is easy to get carried away and overindulge in food. Please do your best to ensure that you don’t over eat or binge on junk as it does no good for the body. Try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible as boosts the immune system.

 

Dealing with Anxiety While Social Distancing

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has increased the level of anxiety among all of us. Everyone is worried about the virus and wondering if they are already infected with the virus without knowing it.

The stressors of the average person have increased because everyone is worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. Due to the self-isolation mechanism to curb the spread of the virus, our eating and sleeping pattern has changed. Also, a lot of people have turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress like alcohol, tobacco and various substances, therefore, increasing their anxiety.

 However, there are various healthy ways to cope with stress like taking a break from watching, listening or reading the news on coronavirus. This also includes reducing the time spent on bloggers sites and platforms which can contain a lot of fake and unverified news.

Another form of coping with stress and anxiety is by taking care of the body. This involves eating healthy, exercising regularly and practising deep breathing.

Self-isolation should not be a prison sentence, take out time and do things you enjoy like seeing a movie, reading a novel or baking a cake.

To ensure you don’t cause both yourself and others to get anxious avoid spreading fake news or unverified news and information to others. When you spread verified facts, you help keep people properly informed.

Do things with your family. Look at the whole experience as a bonding opportunity with family. Play indoor games engage in quiz and dance competition with your family. The important message is to practice togetherness while isolating.

Writing helps some people cope with anxiety. If writing is your thing, you could start a journal and document your quarantine journey. You could also use this opportunity to learn a foreign language or a new skill.

Engage in self-care by cleaning out your closet, enjoying a relaxing shower, learning yoga or even giving yourself a facial.

Finally, you can care for other people too by reaching out either by calling or texting. you can also reach out to people who do not have cannot afford shelter or care like the homeless people. You can assist them with vitamins, masks, gloves and food “from a distance”.

Strengthening The Social-Economic Status Of Lesbian Bisexual And Queer Women.

WHER Initiative conducted a Psychological Empowerment and Life Skills Building Workshop, and also Planning and Maintaining Small Income Generating Enterprise Workshop from 18th – 24th October 2019 and 26th – 1st November 2019 respectively. The workshop which held in Abuja saw 35 participants in attendance.

The psychological empowerment workshop covered topics on understanding SOGIESC and gender equality, personal and life skills including self-awareness and self-acceptance, negotiation and communication skills, effective time management, stress management, personal development and development of personal vision board. For gaining and maintaining employment, participants were taught on choosing a career path by understanding oneself and personality, understanding job roles and tailoring job search, and dressing for success.

Of the total participants in attendance, there was 78% increase in knowledge gained after the first batch of the workshop and also 89% increase in knowledge gained after the second batch of the workshop as assessed by the pre and post-workshop questionnaires in both workshops.

CREATIVE WRITER’S WORKSHOP

Inspiration can come from many sources. Our senses can be enlivened. Thought patterns invigorated and our sense of creativity brought to life. Do you have a story in your heart you have been yearning to share? Then come and be part of our creative writing workshop.

The writing journey offered to you in Our Creative Writer’s Workshop shows you how to unleash your creativity, ignite your imagination, explore creative writing, unearth story, connect to figurative language, and write your own story.
We’ll encourage you to:

  • Ignite the spark of creation
  • Seek creativity
  • Delve into story
  • Explore genre

and weave your book, story or article into being!
To join us,
please call 09092845190 to reserve a spot for our up and coming creative writing workshop on or before 29th January 2020
Date: 1st February 2020
Time: 2:00pm
Venue: WHER office
Come and get your creative juices flowing!

We are Now Hiring for a Program Officer, Advocacy & Human Rights

Job Title: Program Officer, Advocacy & Human Rights

Directly Reports to:     Director of Programs

Indirectly Reports to:  Executive Director

Works with:                      Programs Team

 

Job summary

This is position requires the candidate to work with the entire WHER team to protect and promote the rights of LGBT people and women especially lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women in Nigeria. The PO supports the design, implementation, monitoring and documentation of WHER’s advocacy and human rights program activities. The PO will also serve as a liaison between WHER and external stakeholders and partners.

NOTE: This job requires knowledge of and willingness to work with the LGBT community. Homophobia and Sexism will not be tolerated.

Job Responsibilities

Program Specific

  • Devise advocacy priorities and strategies, identify advocacy opportunities, and undertake lobbying and advocacy directed at influencing governments, intergovernmental organizations, and human rights bodies and experts
  • Undertake policy research and analysis in the areas of law, and human rights
  • Draft advocacy documents including petitions, shadow reports, policy briefs, briefing papers, internal memorandums, and other campaign documents
  • Promote a rights-based approach in programming work on sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Engage policy makers and other civil society organizations on human rights issues including keeping abreast with relevant issues in the field;
  • Develop and implement programme proposals, work plans, budgets and project reports
  • Investigates and documents human rights violations and discrimination experienced by LGBT persons in Nigeria
  • Ensure that the service users are involved in all decision making by providing them with the information, knowledge and skills to make decisions for themselves.
  • Collect data and contribute to reports to demonstrate the impact of the service.
  • Recruit, train and supervise a team of motivated volunteer advocates who will support with service delivery by having their own caseload.
  • Develop and submit weekly and monthly activity plans in time for review and prior to implementation.
  • Build the technical capacity of programme staff in advocacy skills relevant to the implementation of the programme, through training and continuous mentoring. Submit a clear capacity building plan for this process.
  • Ensure quality control for all centralized and community level trainings organized for programme participants at all levels.
  • Compile field reports ensuring evidence based out puts on advocacy are reflected and submitted in time for inclusion into the main programme reports: Compile and submit a monthly summary of evidence-based highlights/ success stories on advocacy sector.
  • Support the development of activity indicators, monitoring and data capturing tool that relate to the sector.
  • Schedule and conduct regular field monitoring visits to identify, review and recommend relevant indicators for the successful delivery of the programme; monthly, quarterly and annual
  • Develop and analyze content for programme use.
  • Provide technical and sectoral inputs to/ during planning, organizing and coordination of programme assessments, surveys and or researches
  • Represent the programme on forums as and when delegated. 
  • Perform any other duties as required.

General

  • Work together with his/her team lead to design and implement programs & campaigns while ensuring all designed interventions remain compliant with donor, operational, finance, procurement and administrative systems.
  • Assist direct lead in strengthening systems for reporting on program progress against stated objectives and monitoring, according to all donor guidelines.
  • Where applicable, oversee content development and production of project information. This will include drafting content, interfacing with staff members to develop progress/success write-ups, sharing photos and even summaries as needed.
  • Liaise with other relevant key stakeholders within the LGBTQ community in and out of Nigeria.
  • During all project activities, monitor adherence to budgets, grant agreement, donor policies and procedures, and relevant external rules and regulations.
  • Resolve stakeholder problems as needs arise.
  • Meet with the government, civil society, security, donor, media, and private sector on a regular basis to collect necessary information and carry out required networking.

 

Support other team members to:

  • Work with partners/consultants/team to ensure that all projects are delivered on time, target and budget.
  • Support documentation of lessons learned and coordinate learning activities

 

Person specification

  • Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in Law, International Relations, Development Studies, management, social sciences, international development or other relevant field.
  • A minimum of 2 years of progressive work experience
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English required, including report development, writing and editing.
  • Experience in designing and implementing successful human rights programs, campaigns and initiatives.
  • A strong commitment to, and passion for, the principles and practice of human rights

Remuneration
Salary for this role is commensurate with experience and education

Application Closing Date
30th of September 2019. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

Method of Application
Send an application letter and curriculum vitae in PDF format to [email protected] clearly state the position title for which you are applying and your full names – starting with the surname first, then other names in the subject area of the email. Example: Program Officer, Advocacy & Human Rights (ABUJA) – MBU, Sisi Eko. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

 

Improving lives: Empowering Sexual Minority Women in Nigeria

Women’s Health & Equal Rights Initiative [WHER] has kicked off the first part of its ‘Pathways to Empowering Sexual Minority Women in Nigeria’ project with two workshops held in Abuja. The project aims to strengthen sexual minority women by psychologically empowering them and enhancing their capacity to become more financially stable.

Photo caption from the training in Abuja.

The workshops tagged ‘Psychological Empowerment and Leadership/Life-Skills Building Workshop’ were held on the 11th – 13th and 15th – 17th of August 2018 respectively with 45 women (aged 18 – 35) in attendance.

The project was focused on building self-esteem, self-confidence, self- acceptance and learning about sexual orientation and gender identity/expression through interactive training sessions.

Participants also learned about life skills such as negotiation, stress management and interpersonal communication.

Currently, similar workshops are being held in Lagos, and details will be provided at its conclusion.

We are now hiring for a Finance and Accounting Officer

Job Title: Finance & Accounting Officer
Location: Abuja
Reporting To: Executive Director & Director of Programs
Collaborates with: Entire Project Team

About WHER:
The Women’s Health and Equal Rights (WHER) Initiative is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established with the aim of promoting a deeper conceptual knowledge of sexuality, gender identity, and sexual orientation; providing access to health and other support services to sexual minority women through research, education, advocacy, empowerment and other direct services. Our goal is to advance and promote the well-being and equal rights of sexual minority women in Nigeria by addressing the health and psychosocial effects of the dual discrimination (homophobia and sexism) faced by sexual minority women and their underrepresentation in the LGBTQ and women’s movement in Nigeria.

NOTE: This job requires knowledge of and willingness to work with the LGBT community. Homophobia and Sexism will not be tolerated.

Job Purpose
• To create, implement and maintain strong financial systems, processes and controls that ensure accurate and transparent record keeping and transaction processing.
• This role requires the individual to take responsibility for all financial operations and lead on the organization’s auditing requirements.
• This role has a strong emphasis on setting and following robust processes and controls with a commitment to integrity, transparency, learning and continuous improvement.
• You will ensure that WHER’s financial performance is correctly measured on a monthly basis and help to coach WHER staff to understand the financial life cycle of their projects from the start to conclusion.

Key Areas of Responsibility

Financial Management
• Support the review and development of financial policies and make sure they are implemented to maintain integrity and transparency throughout the organization
• Ensure organization complies to grant conditions and internal financial policies and highlighting areas of concern when the time comes
• Take responsibility for the posting of financial transactions into the accounting software in an accurate, timely and transparent manner
• Ensure the Chart of Accounts and Project Codes structure is adhered to for recording transactions within the accounting system
• Oversee the processing of payroll and all relevant pension, taxes and other associated costs
• Monitor staff advances and send monthly report for review
• Ensure monthly controls and reconciliations are performed with petty cash and bank accounts
• Ensure that our paper filing records for accounting transactions, banking and taxes are fully documented, well structured, transparent and easily accessible
• Ensure that documentation for all accounting transactions are complete, transparent and robust
• Ensure consultants, vendors and other stakeholders are paid on time
• Maintain a fixed asset register and ensure alignment between the accounting system and inventory
• Produce and review balance sheet, income statement and other financial statement reports and send monthly summary reports highlighting issues and trends
• Conduct financial risk analysis and recommend risk management strategies.

Project Accounting, Budgeting and Financial Reporting

• Ensure fund requests, advances, payments and retirements fulfil all requirements as per grant conditions and organizations policies and ensure that payments are supported with adequate valid receipts and documentation
• Ensure that advances are retired promptly and completely
• Prepare the organization’s cash flow projections, monitor variances in actual results and highlight important issues as relevant
• Complete monthly project cash reconciliations and bring any discrepancies to a resolution in order to fully account for donor funds
• Prepare timely and accurate budget and financial reports as required
• Provide all necessary financial documents and information fundraisers to prepare funding requests including budgeting
• Be responsible for monitoring the budget utilization and communicate any issues supervisor
• Manage the day to day finances, including processing invoices and following up on recharges and payments

Financial Support and Monitoring

• Provide information and ongoing training to WHER staff to ensure the financial success of projects
• Flag any material issues and variances and propose and monitor actions.
• Respond to donor financial queries and recommend actions to the Executive Director as required

Audit and Control

• Maintain relationships with banking, tax and regulatory authorities to ensure that the organization is up-to-date
• Lead on all of the external statutory and programmatic audit processes by preparing the accounts and providing all required financial information, documentation and analysis.
• Review, propose and implement solutions for taking corrective actions for all audit recommendations and findings
• Manage the external audit and ensure audit requirements are monitored throughout the project life.
• Ensure that all financial documents are properly stored and archived for referencing and verification during internal and external audits
Other
• To shadow and understand the work of the program staff and support/help them in their tasks when necessary.
• This role holder is expected from time to time to carry out any other duties that are within the scope of the organization including administrative functions.

Qualifications & Skills

• A University degree in accounting, finance or a related field.
• At least three years of experience in financial and accounting work, solid experience budgeting, planning and reporting on internationally funded projects.
• Experience of delivering financial transactions through strong internal processes and controls
• Experience of maintaining a control environment through following policies, processes and internal controls
• Experience in financial reporting, audit coordination and liaising with regulatory bodies (e.g. tax)
• Experience of managing funds requests, disbursements, retirements and managing cash operations
• Experience of managing an accounting system and maintaining transparent and appropriate transaction processing Ideally a track record in NGO financial accounting
• Good working knowledge of computerized accounting software packages (ideally QuickBooks) and high-level of proficiency with Excel is an added advantage
• Commitment to instilling a culture of integrity, transparency, learning and continuous improvement
• Ability to prioritize own workload and work with minimal supervision.
• Experience of working in a team and managing and developing staff
• Excellent English language skills in both writing and speaking.

Remuneration
Salary for this role is commensurate with experience and education

Application Closing Date
Friday, 25th May, 2018. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

Method of Application
Send an application letter and curriculum vitae in PDF format to [email protected] clearly state the position title for which you are applying and your full names – starting with the surname first, then other names in the subject area of the email. Example: Finance & Accounting Officer (ABUJA) – MBU, Sisi Eko. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.