By Akoro Joseph Sewedo
The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) has taken up the challenge to develop advocacy skills amongst NGOs in the field of LGBT rights across the West African sub-region.
TIERs recently issued a call for interested persons willing to develop skills in LGBT rights advocacy and able to work with organizations working to protect the rights of LGBT persons in their respective countries. The NGO made the move in an effort to fill a gap in the LGBT rights advocacy movement.
Selected applicants will be engaged in an intensive one-week training on human sexuality, gender, advocacy and organizational management. In addition, they will be attached to LGBT organizations in Anglophone West-African countries for at least a year of service.
According to the findings of an assessment conducted by TIER:
“The average annual financial turnover of organizations assessed is less than $50,000. Only three donor organizations all based in the United States provide direct financial support to LGBT rights organizations in the sub-region and they provide funding of not more than $15,000."
“This funding limitation has frustrated and shifted many of the organization’s focus from LGBT rights to MSM/HIV programming. Only one of the six organizations assessed in the sub-regional has an on-going LGBT human rights program albeit an inconsistent funding.”Thus, TIERs is responding to these gaps, “ensuring the effective operation of organizations that respond adequately to the needs of LGBT persons at the grass root.” said Olumide Makanjuola, the TIERs Programme Director
“TIERs shall work with local organizations to conduct a comprehensive community consultation that will clearly define the issues face by LGBT persons at the grass root and how they can be addressed effective."This initiative is a project of Global Equality Network (GEN) coordinated by Heartland Alliance for Human needs and Human Rights. GEN is a consortium of four organizations from the global south. Member organizations represent the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America.
“In addition, TIERs will work with regional partners in reviewing strategic plan, update capacity building plan and seek new partnership and collaborations.”