International Human Rights day is observed annually on the 10th of December every year, this is a day set aside by the United Nations to reassert that Human rights are the foundation for human dignity, and the cornerstone of a peaceful, inclusive, fair, equal and prosperous world. The global theme for IHRD 2022 as released by the UN was Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.
Women’s health and equal Rights Initiative adopts this global celebration to hold an educative event for the LGBTQI+ in Nigeria, especially Abuja to discuss issues mitigating the free and liberal existence and well-being of the community in Nigeria, proffering solutions for them and tasking the appropriate bodies to take adequate actions when and where needed.
WHER Initiative organised a Symposium with the theme: Championing Change. This theme was motivated by the need to trigger individuals and stakeholders to become the champions of the change we preach. The Symposium which began in the mid-morning of the 10th of December, 2022 in Abuja was attended by members of the community, Executive Directors of different LGBTQI+ organisations from across the country, policymakers and influencers and representatives of donor organisations. In all, the event was attended by over 100 participants.
Some of the most outstanding events of the day included two (2) panel sessions which discussed issues thus: Vulnerable and Outside the Margins: The Need for Informed inclusion, moderated by WHER’s Programs officer on Inclusivity and Diversity, Oyewole Oyedayo Benedicta with Akom Nya, Maline Oluchi, Juliet Ulamo, Alexander Abochi, Aleeya Baana Ibrahim as panellists. They discussed extensively on intentional inclusion of different diverse minorities inherent within the LGBTQI+ community in organisational programming and activities, which they continuously mentioned will ensure that no one is left behind and that everyone will be attended to in the way they really need to be attended to. It was an engaging and extensive session that highlighted most of the neglected areas where donors, individuals and especially organisations need to do better. This session concluded with quick questions and answers.
The second session began after a dance interlude performed by Nixe with Akudo Oguaghamba, the Executive Director of WHER Initiative as the moderator. The topic for this session was Resourcing the LGBTIQ Movement: The Donor’s Perspective. The panellists in this session were representatives from different funding organisations supporting the LGBTQI+ movement in Nigeria. The point of this discussion was around funding the movement, donors’ perspectives in assessing funds and project implementations from the perspective of the primary and secondary funders after an extensive dissection of the topic, like the first session, this also ended with a Q and A session.
Guests were served a soirée of an assorted buffet. People ate, networked, and took pictures in the beautiful backdrop background we created for that purpose. And that brought the Championing Change Symposium to an end.
To complete a day that began with learning and expository conversations around pressing issues the later part of the day began at around 9 pm on the same date. The ambience and decorations oozed fun, dance and a great mood.
The night was saturated by party-ready participants adorned in neon party props and fun activities including different dance activities by three different groups and individuals alike.
The highlight of the evening was a music performance by the popular Zainab Sule, a musician whose speciality is singing covers of different genres of music there was also a Rap performance by an individual who initially attended the event as a guest.
Considering the conversational nature of the morning event, the After Party event had very minimal talks and speech times as the priority of the After Party was to dance, drink, eat, and network, and basically all-around enjoyment.
After the different designated performances for the night, it was dance…..dance….dance till dawn.
Bearing in mind how important every IHRD celebrations are to us at WHER Initiative we felt both pride and relief after yet another successful day of bringing together queer persons of different cadre and designations, and stakeholders, even allies to share opinions and space with one another, especially with us. It was also even more eventful for us as International Human Rights Day is usually our last event of the year. So one would be right to say we end every year at WHER Initiative with a home coming.