Zamani Foundation in Nigeria – Peace, Development, Poverty Eradication and Good Governance through advocacy

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with with Philomena Zamani-Henry of the Zamani Foundation, operating in Nigeria and covering Peace, Development, PovertyEradication and Good Governance through advocacy. Would like to thank Philomena for her time and the photos she sent us.

 1What are the main social and economic issues faced within Nigeria’s civil society?

The main social and economic issues Nigerian civil society faces is funding and poor public perception.
Funding: The government is overstretched trying to provide infrastructure, policies and other key indices for the economic and social wellbeing of the citizens of Nigeria and is often in competition with civil society organizations for foreign funding.
Poor Public Perception: Public perception of civil society organizations is often poor because there is a generalperception that civil society organizations are trying to change the general way of life of people.

What are the focus area of your organization and how would you define its approach?

Zamani Foundation’s operations cover Peace, Development, Poverty Eradication and Good Governance throughadvocacy.
PeaceZamani Foundation has been on the forefront of providing relief and basic services to victims of violence and displaced persons. We are also involved in countering violence and violent extremism through advocacy. We are currently working in the North East of Nigeria where millions of people have been displaced by activities of the terroristgroup known as Boko Haram.
Development: Zamani Foundation has several programs targeting development. Advocating for government policies that will bring about lasting development and helping build the capacity of communities to sustainably develop themselves.
Poverty Eradication: We have several skill acquisition programs and funding programs to help people in poorer communities rise out of poverty and improve the general standard of living of the entire community. These programs are turnkey solutions created to suit each community and has been proven to have better results than blanket solutions that do not take into account the ethnic and religious background of the target demographic.
Good Governance: Good governance is critical for the overall development of any society. Zamani Foundation is very passionate about helping to improve citizen engagement in political affairs in the following ways:
®      Choosing their leaders
®      Articulating their needs to their lawmakers and leaders
®      Keeping their lawmakers accountable

In what ways do you promote women’s rights and empowerment? And how do you address the issues ofgender-related violence?

Zamani Foundation has several projects specifically tailored to women and girls. Women and girls are one of the most vulnerable demographic around the world and are often targets or unable to access critical basic human needs. ZamaniFoundation has the following projects for women:
®  Skills acquisition trainings for women
®  A cooperative specifically for women so they can access funding for their small businesses
®  Access to legal identification for women so they can gain access to public and private sector benefits such as healthcare, banking, travel documents etc. We recently just empowered 7500 women in Kaduna Nigeria in collaboration with UNWomen and Mastercard.
®  Access to healthcare for women and girls so they can live healthier and more productive lives
®  Women in Agriculture project
®  Women engagement in public service, politics, civil society and the private sector through trainings, mentorship and support groups
®  Women and Youth training on ICT
®  Financial Inclusion training
How do you promote poverty eradication?
Zamani Foundation has the following poverty eradication projects:
®  Skills acquisition training including ICT skills to aid in drivingsmall businesses
®  Access to funding through cooperatives, small loans and grants
®  Mentorship programs and support groups to help small businesses and sole entrepreneurs to grow and thrive.
®  The Zamani Foundation sports program to keep youth engaged and help promising youth sportsmen and women to get into professional sports.
®  Education projects for children in rural areas and poor communities as a foundation for gainful employment or to acquire required skills to start their own business.
®  Agriculture project.

Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?

We cooperate with local Authorities and have a long standing relationship with them because of the nature of our work. Our involvement in advocacy and our work with women empowerment usually requires security and other regulatoryrequirements. We also build and maintain relationships with key individuals and groups in public office and politics as we embark on advocacy projects for peace and development.
Some of our activities like trainings, advocacy, election observation etc. also require the knowledge and permission of the authorities. We often do such projects in partnership with the authorities. The “One Woman One ID Card” project we recently concluded was in partnership with UN Women, MasterCard Foundation and the office of the Presidency through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) of Nigeria.
We also partner with the Ministry of Women Affairs in several of our projects. For instance we organized a Women’sEconomic Summit and partnered with the Ministry of Women Affairs to do so.
Finally, we are very proud of the relationship we have with the security agencies in Nigeria starting from the Nigerian Army with whom we have carried out several Peace Keeping projects and Counter Violence/Violent Extremism Projects and the Nigerian Police with whom we have carried out several projects in Peace building and peaceful elections.