Strengthening civil society engagement

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have the potential to be an important driver of pro-poor change in Nigeria’s justice sector. The focus of our work is to demonstrate the benefits of a bottom-up approach in delivering local justice services. 

We aim to improve the capacity of CSOs to engage more effectively in the sector. We also ensure that CSOs have a credible and respected voice that enables them to influence justice sector reform and policy development, and monitor processes and the delivery of services.

What people say about J4A's work

'A total of 124 victims of sexual assault were attended to in the first five months of operation of the Mirabel Centre for Rape Victims, the first sexual violence and referral centre in Nigeria.'

- 'Vanguard', 26 November 2013

'We welcome the support of J4A to establish a Sexual Assault and Referral Centre as an integral part of hospital-based intervention to provide a high-quality, confidential treatment and service, by trained professionals, to support the recovery of victims and survivors of sexual assault without discrimination and stigmatisation.'

- Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, PhD

Our aim

  • Improve the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to engage more effectively in the sector
  • Ensure that CSOs have a credible and respected voice that enables them to influence justice sector reform and policy development, monitoring/oversight processes and the delivery of services
  • Increase opportunities for CSOs to work with formal and informal justice organisations
  • Demonstrate the benefits of a bottom-up approach to delivering local justice
  • Develop the skills and capacity in the justice civil society sector
  • Facilitate the coordination of groups, including CSOs, that give users of the justice sector the opportunity to contribute to justice policy and practices
  • Enable CSOs to improve their evidence-based research activities to improve their oversight capacity
  • Support gender-focused CSOs to build the level of public awareness of justice gender issues, support the implementation of gender-sensitive laws and regulations and assist service delivery agencies to effectively address gender-based crimes

Who we work with

Justice-focused civil society organisations (CSOs): 

  • Non-governmental organisations that work to strengthen the voice of citizens who engage with justice sector actors to increase access to justice for all

Advocacy focused groups:

  • CLEEN Foundation
  • Legal Defence and Assistance Project
  • Access to Justice
  • Legal Resources Consortium

Service delivery focused groups:

  • Nigerian Bar Association
  • International Federation of Women Lawyers
  • Partnership for Justice, Lagos (Sexual Assault Referral Clinic - SARC)
  • WACOL Enugu (Sexual Assault Referral Clinic - SARC)
  • Community Safety Partnership, Enugu
  • Agege Safety Initiative, Lagos
  • Legal Support Scheme
  • CIRDDOC, Enugu

Delivering results

  • Seven civil society organisations (CSOs) with approved grant concept notes trained in developing full grant proposals
  • Summary of CSO views on constitutional reform published
  • Legal Advice Scheme in Lagos extended to 13 police stations
  • Co-operation between service delivery organisations and CSOs on the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice
  • 12 occasions when CSOs have substantially influenced justice-sector policy as of August 2013

Spotlight on gender

  • 171 cases handled by the Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC) in Lagos between July 2013 and January; 66% of these victims are girls 15 years old and younger
  • J4A has awarded 73 million naira to Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL) to establish a second SARC in Enugu State

Our Approach

  • We offer training in organisational development and mentor CSOs on how to engage effectively with users of their services and government agencies
  • We give grants to support specific demand-focused initiatives (e.g. domestic violence) and the introduction / enhancement of gender fo-cused justice initiatives
  • We coordination groups with service delivery agencies and CSOs