Human Rights & Democracy

Friends of Africa International (FAI) seeks to bridge the gap between State institutions and the civil society using a human rights framework in order to promote the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in Africa. By studying the role of international assistance in promoting and sustaining democracy in post-conflict and conflict-prone settings, FAI projects ultimately support the development of credible and efficient electoral process and assist in building public confidence by ensuring the professional management of elections and by increasing the level of access and turn out of voters. FAI conducts training on Human Rights and democracy focusing on countries in conflict, post-conflict and conflict-prone countries in Africa. Human Rights Education is an important and a recurring theme on the agenda of the organization's activities. This is based on the belief that human rights can truly be achieved in a sustainable and irreversible democracy.

Project Activities

 

Women's Rights

Increasing the level of female representation and participation in decision-making processes requires a clear cut approach and information on which measures have worked successfully in different countries with different political systems. FAI is committed to collaborate with policy makers, regional and international institutions to design training programs that will enable women participate in decision-making processes and to develop economic resources and build their self-confidence.

FAI supports equal participation of men and women in public life and offers training on gender and political awareness with the goal of women's full and equal representation in government. FAI is also committed to research, advocacy and education on legislation pertaining to violence against women and children in Africa. This includes trafficking in women/children for the purpose of prostitution. FAI conducts an in-depth study on legal regime on trafficking as well as advocacy for documentation of violations. This happening albeit for children by way of the United Nations Secretary General's Report on violence against children.

Project Activities
  • Women Leaders Intercultural Forum
  • United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

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Youth & Development

Great change requires great vision. African youth - those who believe in the ability of the continent to live up to its full potential - have the vision necessary for meaningful change in Africa. And in order for change to be effectively initiated and continually sustained, the youth of Africa need the knowledge, resources, and training that are crucial to ensuring that their visions can become a concrete and lasting reality.

The Youth of Africa today are faced with innumerable challenges stemming from poor socio-economic status of much of the continent and the inability and or apathy of governments in fostering youth representation in policy making processes. African youth represent a majority demographic in many African nations yet are excluded from political representation. The AIDS pandemic, severe unemployment rates, gender inequality, inadequate nutrition and health care, ravaging wars, and poor access to education all characterize the present challenges faced by African countries. A systematic and long term plan for Africa is absolutely essential for the future; the mobilization of Africa's youth is imperative to its inception and execution.

Once every year, FAI conducts a Pan African Youth Leadership Forum prior to the Summer Session of the African Union Summit. This forum creates an opportunity for Africa's young people to engage in discussions with leaders and policy makers on the continent in order to present their recommendations and plans of action to address the many challenges that face Africa's greatest resource - the youth.

Objectives
  • To encourage youth engagement in continent wide initiatives in order to strengthen their commitment and understanding of development structures, and promote their meaningful participation in development alternatives.
  • To further strengthen and sustain the ongoing dialogue between young future leaders and current African leaders on renewing and strengthening democracy in Africa in order to put it beyond reversal.
  • To provide these delegates with strong practical and theoretical knowledge and the skills needed to promote and strengthen democratic values.
  • To draft action plans, implementation strategies, and monitoring and evaluation strategies involved in tackling issues faced by African youth. These action plans will draw upon the first Pan African Youth Leadership Forum, held in Accra, Ghana in 2007, as well as from information obtained during subsequent forums, and the expertise of the youth delegates.
  • To create a platform for assembling some of Africa's dedicated, promising, and most proactive young individuals who are well informed in order to promote dialogue among them and foster exchange of information and perspectives on common problems faced by African youth and create constructive resolutions.
  • To enable networking among delegates, facilitating the exchange of productive human and material capital.
  • To integrate the African Union's Year of African Youth's theme of peace and development into dialogue and panel discussions.
  • To review progress in the ratification of the African Youth Charter as well as implementation efforts.
  • To establish a forum where young people will analyze and evaluate the progress made in realizing the Millennium Development Goals in Africa in order to engage in activities towards the realization of these goals.
  • To review progress reports on the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Project Activities:
  • Pan African Youth Leadership Forum
  • Africa Youth Internship Program
  • African Youth Charter

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HIV / AIDS & Peace and Security

The increasing rate of HIV infection among the military is a great cause for concern. Research studies have shown that the Military personnel are two-to-five times more likely to contract STIs including HIV than the civilian population. African militaries are worse hit by this epidemic due to their increasing peacekeeping operations within the African continent. ECOMOG, the most prominent peacekeeping body on the African continent is not left out either. Nigeria as a major troop contributing country to this body is severely affected by the AIDS pandemic.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS among Nigerian ECOMOG troops increased from less than one percent in 1990 to about 10 percent in 1999. Compared to the 5% prevalence of HIV infection of civilian adult population in Nigeria, it was 11% among Nigerian peacekeepers who returned home from duty in Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2000. This is no doubt a public health threat to Nigeria particularly and Africa as a whole. The military could serve as a core transmission group for HIV, but from the Eritrean and Ugandan experience, we learnt that the Nigerian military could actually reach lower prevalence rates than the civilian population if they are equipped with the right information, tools and knowledge.

Therefore, FAI is engaged in research on prevention programs from other countries in Africa and the policy issues on HIV, detailing some of the challenges to effective programs such as weak infrastructure, lack of political will and geographical spread. The result will be a tool kit for effective HIV prevention programs for any military population in Africa including military commanders and planners, researchers, the Nigerian government, and other African troop contributing countries.

Further, FAI makes submissions by way of paper presentations and/or poster exhibitions at every international AIDS conferences to support the ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment initiatives. FAI was present at the 2006 AIDS Conference in Canada. Click here for the report.

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Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights

In June/July 2006, FAI participated at a women’s leadership program in Dakar. At the same time, the organization visited two settlements of some of the 2005 flood victims in Senegal, as well as Medina Gounass. During the months of August and September 2005, the Senegalese capital Dakar and its impoverished suburbs were devastated by the heaviest rains seen in two decades with 5,600 people displaced by floods and thousands still living in water around their ankles. FAI visited these sites as well as the makeshift settlements. The purpose of this trip was central to the mission of FAI – to promote social justice and human rights. These displaced families see themselves as "the forgotten," partly because they were not news anymore and the government seems to think that their case was settled.

For more information, please click HERE.

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