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Promoting Good Governance.

ICIR awards first batch of grants to curb human rights violations

THE International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has announced the first set of successful grantees for its human rights project which includes journalists and civil society organisations (CSOs).

The announcement was made on Thursday at a round-table meeting of participants at Bolton White Hotel, Abuja.

The long-term initiative tagged ‘Human Rights Accountability and Justice Project’ is sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).

Beneficiaries of the first batch include Evelyn Okakwu from PremiumTimes, Ameh Ejekwonyilo from Authority Online Newspaper, and ‘Kunle Adebajo representing The ICIR.

Also on the list of awardees are two CSOs: Devatop Centre for Africa Development and the Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation (SOAR) Initiative.

While the journalists are expected to investigate and report stories ranging from human trafficking to prison reforms, the CSOs will be implementing advocacy projects to create awareness around child labour and boy-child rights violations.

Speaking to The ICIR, Cynthia Ozioma Ifeanyi, a social worker at the Devatop Centre, said her organisation is delighted to have been given the opportunity.

“We hope to utilise the grant to reach a greater number of people,” she said, “create more awareness, and sensitise people via the Talk Am Radio Show we are trying to set up.”

She added that, with the money, Devatop Centre hopes to reach and sensitise remote communities who are more vulnerable  to trafficking.

Cross-section of participants during one of the training sessions

According to Rosemary Otohwo-Olufemi, ICIR Senior Programme Officer, the selection was based on pitches earlier submitted by various participants. She admonished the various participating media and civil society organisations to collaborate and share resources to make the project a great success.

Also at the meeting were Funmi Ajala, travel storyteller and journalist, and Peter Nkanga, media consultant and former West Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They trained participants on effective messaging for audience engagement and online security respectively.

The first meeting was held in May and was followed by a two-day training where Thomas Baker, IWPR Programmes Coordinator, urged participants to make investigation the core of their work ethic.

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