Being and Becoming Advocates Project (B.B.A) 2.0

INTRODUCTION

The Initiative for Gender Equality and Sexual Reproductive Health (IGE-SRH) embarked on the “Being and Becoming Advocates Project 2.0” to further its mission of empowering LBQTI individuals through enhanced advocacy, sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and legal awareness. This project, unfolding in the South-South and North-Central regions of Nigeria, including targeted interventions in Akwa Ibom, sought to build upon the foundational efforts established in its first phase. The primary objective of this project was to elevate advocacy, SRHR knowledge, and legal awareness among LBQTI rightsholders, healthcare facility heads, and IGE-SRH staff and volunteers.

METHODOLOGY

Specific goals include:

  1. Creating awareness about the project among IGE-SRH rightsholders and stakeholders.
  2. Enhancing the capacity of 30 LBQTI rightsholders in advocacy, SRHR, and the VAPP Act.
  3. Increasing knowledge on VCAT and SOGIESC among Akwa Ibom healthcare facility heads.
  4. Building the capacity of IGE-SRH staff and volunteers in resource mobilisation and fundraising.
  5. Amplifying the ability of LBQTI individuals to make informed decisions on their SRHR and advocate for accessible services.

PROJECT IMPACTS

The project employed a multi-faceted approach encompassing:

  1. Inception Meetings: To set the stage for project activities and goals.
  2. Capacity-Building Workshops: Focused on advocacy, SRHR, VAPP Act, VCAT, SOGIESC, and resource mobilisation.
  3. Pre- and Post-Assessments: To measure knowledge and capacity improvements.
  4. Stakeholder Engagements: To foster collaboration and support for LBQTI rights.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E): Implementing a structured M&E framework to track progress, impact, and areas for improvement on their lives.
  6. Enhanced Knowledge and Advocacy: Significant improvements in SRHR and legal awareness among LBQTI rightsholders are evidenced by assessment scores.
  7. Increased Capacity: IGE-SRH staff and volunteers demonstrated enhanced skills in resource mobilization and fundraising.
  8. Strengthened Partnerships: Fostered collaborations with healthcare facilities for improved LBQTI healthcare services.
  9. Community Empowerment: Empower LBQTI individuals to advocate for their rights and access essential services.
  10. Recommendations Sustainability Measures: Develop strategies for the long-term sustainability of project outcomes, including continued funding and partnership development.
  11. Scalability: Explore opportunities to replicate and scale successful interventions in other regions.
  12. Capacity Building: Continue investing in the training of staff, volunteers, and rightsholders to maintain momentum in advocacy and SRHR education. Policy Engagement: Increase efforts in engaging with policymakers for the advancement of LBQTI rights and inclusion.

DETAILED ACHIEVEMENT

Knowledge Enhancement and Capacity Building: The project saw a remarkable 30% increase in knowledge among participants across essential areas such as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Advocacy, and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. This significant leap reflects the effectiveness of our training programs and our unwavering commitment to raising awareness and expertise in these critical domains.

Resource Mobilization Skills: Employees gained comprehensive insights into resource mobilization, mastering proposal writing, engaging innovative donors through modern platforms like podcasts, and leveraging online tools for funder searches. The innovative use of ChatGPT across organizational departments has underscored its utility in enhancing program management, monitoring, evaluation, learning (MEL), communications, advocacy, compliance, and finance operations.

Partnership and Coalition Building: Our strategic approach to partnership and coalition building, emphasising identification, trust-building, negotiation, capacity enhancement, and sustained collaboration, has laid the groundwork for successful partnerships. The adaptability of ChatGPT to various organisational needs further supports our mission by facilitating continuous learning and process optimization.

Awareness and Inclusivity in Healthcare: This training facilitated a platform for healthcare workers to exchange ideas, leading to the dissolution of biases and a deeper understanding of gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. Participants acknowledged learning about the LBQTI community’s needs, challenges, and the discrimination they face, fostering a sense of empathy and commitment to inclusive healthcare practices.

Advocacy and Empathy: The project instilled in participants the importance of advocacy, empathy, and non-judgmental support for the LBQTI community, emphasizing the humanity of LBQTI individuals and the need for understanding, love, care, and inclusive healthcare approaches.

Values and Clarification (VCAT) Session: The VCAT session underscored the need for respectful and inclusive spaces for discussions, shedding light on the challenges faced by young sexual minorities in Akwa Ibom and the impactful role of personal experiences shared by LBQTI rights holders.

CONCLUSION

“Being and Becoming Advocates Project 2.0” has marked a significant milestone in IGE-SRH’s journey towards empowering LBQTI individuals and advocating for their rights. Through targeted interventions, capacity building, and community engagement, the project has laid a solid foundation for future advocacy and empowerment efforts. As we move forward, the lessons learned and successes achieved will guide our continued commitment to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for LBQTI individuals in Nigeria