News / Africa

Nigerian NGO Fights Customs that Harm Women

In Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers fights to end cultural practices discriminating against widows

MRS. FLORENCE FIBERESIMA
MRS. FLORENCE FIBERESIMA

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), is working to eliminate cultural traditions that affect women in Rivers State in southern Nigeria.

The FIDA chairperson for the state, Florence Fiberesima, says widows are forced to drink water used to wash their dead husband's body.  Some say a woman who refuses has likely killed her husband.   

Some widows are denied the right to inherit property owned by their late husbands.

''We have tried to reach out to several communities on these harmful cultural practices against widows,” says Fiberesima.

Slow progress

''About two years ago, we carried out a campaign on what we called ending the culture of silence.  We saw that a lot of times, women were silent about these problems they were facing; they didn’t want to speak up,'' she says.

''So we wanted to tell them [to] break this culture, because you are not only trying to stop [it], but you are [also] encouraging the younger ones coming up, [telling them], ‘Don’t keep quiet and continue to suffer under these kinds of practices that do not allow you to [realize] your potential as a human being.’''

Sometimes, a family or community drives a widow from her home, saying she has no right to the property.  

In that case, she says, “We try to use mediation to see if we can settle within the family.  Where that is not possible, we go to court.  We have a case in court now of a woman who was [stripped] of all her possessions once her husband died.”

As a result of FIDA’s efforts, Rivers State has laws banning harmful practices, including female circumcision.  

FIDA was formed in 1944 by a group of seven women lawyers from Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.  The Nigerian branch of the group was formed in 1964 and has 29 state branches.

Its main objectives are to enhance and promote the welfare of women and children, realizing that the happiness of the home and the strength of society depend on their wellbeing.  It also works to promote the principles and aims of the United Nations in their legal and social aspects, including the rights of women.


You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid