Alumna champions bill for disabled persons rights

With a passion for social justice and the drive to make tangible contributions in her community, Australia Awards – Africa Fellowship Alumna, Eni Ayeni, founded Community Action against Injustice (CAAI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Nigeria, which is devoted to ensuring the human rights and socio-economic wellbeing of women, children and persons with disabilities.

Not just a figurehead, Eni also coordinates the organisation’s core programs, which include support for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), advocacy (policy and media), the promotion of accountability and transparency, women empowerment, capacity building, human rights education network and coalition, and alliance building, outreach and celebration of excellence.

As an Alumna of the Organisational and Employee Development course delivered by the University of Queensland, Eni acknowledges that “the knowledge and skills I gained in Australia provided me with a deeper insight into program planning and implementation. I was able to hone my understanding of the fundamental principles of running and coordinating an organisation.”

Eni received a grant to the value of AUD8,314 from the Australia Awards Small Grants Scheme in 2013 to implement a project that would focus on enhancing independent living and the self-reliance of community women through economic empowerment for sustainable development in Osun State, Nigeria.

The project was officially launched on 20 June and was attended by national and international dignitaries. Eni also introduced the Family Support Program (Pick and Train, [PAT]) for OVC as part of the launch.

“This was a mini-project as part of my Work Plan on Return, which required me to raise funds for the support of OVC. Prior to this launch, I met with individuals, corporate bodies and government agencies for support,” says Eni. Her efforts paid off, with 20 OVCs receiving nutritional support and others being adopted; a feat that earned her organisation a nod from Hope World Wide and the promise of further partnership on future programs.

Since her return home, Eni has continued to lead an advocacy group, Community Advocacy Group (CAG), to present the International Convention of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill to be passed in Osun State, Nigeria. “Through this group, we were able to advocate for National Youth Service Corp members who specialise in HIV/AIDS peer education to be posted at both primary and secondary schools for the handicapped in Osun State,” explains Eni.

“Once the Bill is passed in the state, persons with disabilities in the state will have the right to seek redress should there be any violation of their rights.”

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