Netherlands unveils Voice Nigeria Project to support marginalised groups

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has unveiled Voice Nigeria Project designed to provide special support to the most marginalised and discriminated groups in the country.

The platform is aimed at exerting influence in accessing productive and social services by such marginalised groups.

Marinke Riet, the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, made this known at the National Launch of the Voice Project Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the Dutch Ministry of Foreign and Trade Development Cooperation launched the new programme called Voice.

According to him, the Dutch foreign ministry noted that too many groups still experience discrimination and violence worldwide.

“With all the international programmes and projects for support of civil society, we still experience difficulties in reaching out to the groups that are marginalised and discriminated against.

“Voice programme seeks to rectify that situation by helping the unheard to be heard and the invisible to be seen,” he said.

Mr. Riet said the voice programme is implemented on two continents and in 10 countries, focusing on five groups such as the people with disabilities and women facing exploitation abuse or violence.

He added that others are the lesbians, gay transgender queer, and intersex and sexual minority groups; the vulnerable groups facing age discrimination; and indigenous people and ethnic minorities.

The envoy said the support enables civil society organisations to mobilise and strengthen the voice of citizens and defend their interests.

He added that it also encourage organisations to voice dissenting views and to hold government and private sector to account.

“The idea is that in this way, civil society organisations contribute to the overall goal of the policy framework, which is sustainable and inclusive growth development and reduction of poverty and inequality,’’ he said.

Jan Rogge, the Country Director, Oxfam Nigeria, said the Netherlands ministry of foreign affairs has designed a special fund to strengthen the capacity for lobby and advocacy of CSOs in low and middle income countries.

He said the special fund was to enable participation of the most marginalised and discriminated groups in mainstream development processes.

Mr. Rogge said Oxfam in consortium with Hivos, another Dutch NGO, are the executors of the project in Nigeria.

He said the focus of Voice in Nigeria will be women facing extreme exploitation, abuse and violence and persons with disability, while recognising the global standard value of leaving no one behind.

Evelyn Mere, Associate Country Director, Oxfam Nigeria, said there was an innovative grant facility that supports the most marginalised and discriminated people in Nigeria and some project countries.

She disclosed that about 35 million Euros have been earmarked for the project in various countries, adding that the proposal submitted by countries may determine what each country will get from the grants.


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