The Dutch Embassy in Nigeria in partnership with two non-governmental organizations, OXFAM and HIVOS, have launched ‘’VOICE Nigeria’’ with a grant of 35 million pounds to assist low income earners in Nigeria.
The Country Director of OXFAM, Mr. Jan Rogge, in his opening speech said the project, promoted by the policy of the Netherlands government, is to help a class of people in the society such as the disabled, low/middle income earners, ethnic minorities, women facing discrimination and vulnerable people (young and old).
He said the policy is being implemented through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Rogge added that the project is intended to help these categories of individuals to exert influence in accessing productive and social services and enhance their political participation.
According to him, “Voice Nigeria forms an integral pillar of the ministry’s overall dialogue and dissent policy framework, which aims to strengthen the capacity for lobby and advocacy of civil society organisations in low and lower-middle-income countries to enable the participation of the most marginalized and discriminated groups in mainstream development processes.
‘’OXFAM, as part of our mission to promote a world devoid of injustice and poverty is committed to this global call to leave no one behind and is actively raising the quality of life for every person.”
He said OXFAM, in conjunction with another Dutch NGO, HIVOS, are the executors of Voice Nigeria project following a successful tender.
The acting Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Otti Ovrawah, promised to assist Voice Nigeria.
Also in attendance was the Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Dr. Samuel Ankeli, a physically challenged person.
Ankeli praised President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the physically challenged a voice in his government.
He assured his audience that his office will cooperate with Voice Nigeria to “give a voice to the voiceless at all times”.
Mrs. Ijeoma Okwor, the Nigerian representative of Voice Nigeria, said officials of the organization had visited at least one state in all the six geo-political zones of the country and had seen the extremely poor and deprived in the society, explaining that those were the people Voice Nigeria was established to assist.
The Voice Nigeria project was officially launched by the Dutch Ambassador, His Excellency John Grofen, who said it was the wish of the Netherlands through its Foreign Affairs Office to help fight injustice, poverty, and discrimination and bring back into society those whom society had rejected such as women who are living with Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF).