About Women's Consortium of Nigeria
The Women's Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) is a grassroots human rights organization, consisting of 25 individuals and 11 organization affiliated members. We are structured by a four (4) member Board of Trustees and a six (6) member Executive Board. We have a total of of 19 paid staff and many volunteers in our three (3) office branches situated in Lagos, Ogun and Enugu states.
WOCON has been engaged in various programs and activities for the enforcement of the rights of women and children particularly the Girl-child in Nigeria since its inception in 1995. We are also strong advocates for the entrenchment of sustainable democracy and good governance in our country.
Violence against women and children
Gender violence is violence that is targeted at women or men because of their sex and/or their socially constructed gender roles. It can be physical or psychological and it disproportionately affects more women than men and more children than adults. Like in most African countries, Nigerian women and children suffer from this form of violence on a daily basis. The most pervasive form of gender violence is today the growing trade of trafficking in persons.
Special Focus on Human Trafficking
Global trafficking in persons has become one of the most lucrative illicit businesses in the world today, moving between $6 and $12 billion and two million women and children each year. Nigeria is a source country for women and children who are trafficked to Europe for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic work, and child labor. The country has often been referred to as the "most donating African country in the global sex industry." Nigerian women comprise a large percentage of the African victims of trafficking in Europe. Although the last decade has witnessed heightened awareness on the issue of trafficking, it has emphasized the trafficking of Nigerian women and girls to Europe for prostitution. This has made the millions of Nigerian children who become victims of internal and external trafficking for domestic work continue unabated and unaddressed.
WOCON has made it its mission to cater for the welfare of women and children who fall victim every year to violence and to human trafficking. One of the most effective tools against gender violence is prevention and sensitization on the issue and we do this through the use of workshops, media and various other public awareness initiatives...more.
This is the second focus of our programs and activities. Indeed, women and children rights to equality, development, and peace can only be achieved through the entrenchment of sustainable democratic rule and good governance. Nigerian women especially are often unaware of their legal rights as citizens of this country, which encourages the occurrence and impunity of gender based violence. The right to vote is particularly under-utilized by women.
Nigeria’s political history demonstrates that elections have been key challenges to our democratic system. Voters often fall victim to corrupt politicians who lure them with paltry sums of money in exchange for their votes. Thousands of Nigerian women fail to take advantage of their electoral privileges because they are either apathetic or ignorant towards the voting procedure. However, civic awareness is crucial to the advancement of women and children rights in Nigeria because the more women vote and are knowledgeable about political issues, the more their concerns and the issues that are important to them can become a greater part of the political landscape. Civic education is the first step towards inducing effective changes in national legislation, justice and social attitudes towards women.
As a result, WOCON has been involved since 1998 in the training of observers for the monitoring of national elections and has embarked on several campaigns to encourage voter awareness and participation. WOCON was also a leading member of civil society during Nigeria’s successful transition from military rule in 1999. For the 2003 general elections, our project for the Civic Education of Community Leaders, Women and Youth was held in Ogun State and supported by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP).