The Advocate (Q1-2020): Why Aid Should Complement Advocacy
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSWN) is a human rights organisation specialising in freedom of religion or believe, and we stand with everyone facing injustice because of their religion or belief.
What is Aid?
Aid is money, equipment or services that are provided to people/victims, countries or organizations that need them but cannot provide them for themselves. It can also be the act of helping those who do not have the wherewithal to provide for themselves the basic necessities of life.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is giving a person support to have their voice heard. It is a service aimed at helping people understand their rights and express their views; it can also mean taking action to create the desired change. Advocacy seeks to ensure that all persons in the society are able to have their voices heard on issues that are important to them, protect and promote their rights and have views genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their life.
In light of the above definitions, CSWN seeks to promote religious freedom and belief in Nigeria which is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (sec 38(1)) as amended as well as article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There is widespread pattern of systemic and widescale discrimination on religious grounds in most of the communities where we work. CSWN is not only concentrating on violations of religious freedom but also engaged in trying to meet community’s immediate needs while building the capacity of the community to use rights-based approach to advocate for their religious freedom.
CSWN has supported ten communities in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe and Nassarawa state with safe and portable water. We have trained over three thousand widows/orphans (through Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen attacks) who have acquired skills of their choice in Adamawa, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Yobe states. Other aid work carried to complement our advocacy for religious freedom include the construction of a clinic in Asso town, provided relief materials to the internally displaced persons in the various IDP camps in the north and central states.
In CSWN, we believe that both aid and advocacy are needed to empower communities, alleviate poverty and promote human rights. This twin-track is embedded throughout our work. We believe that community people are best placed to identify, understand and fulfil their own needs and that they should be at the helm of key issues that are mitigating their quality of life. The communities where we have given aid are those that have suffered from protracted conflicts, oppression, systemic marginalization, human rights abuses and entrenched poverty. ⨀