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IWD Spotlight: WILPF Nigeria Submits Joint Shadow Report to CEDAW on Status of Women in Nigeria

1 March 2018

Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, WILPF will be publishing a series of articles spotlighting some of the efforts of our member groups to create a more sustainable, peaceful future for women around the world. Follow these publications and support International Women’s Day by sharing with the hashtag #IWD2018.

Nathalie Wokam Foko (on the left) from WILPF Cameroon, Isi Ikhimiukor and Dorothy Njemanze, in the middle, from WILPF Nigeria and Heidi Meinzolt (on the right) from WILPF Germany

This past year, the WILPF Nigeria member group rallied to concretely affect the trajectory of women’s rights in their country. As International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8, it is important to galvanise behind those groups that are working to bring women’s rights to all women.

The Committee on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) conducted a review in July 2017 in Nigeria to evaluate the implementation record of women security initiatives as described under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. To push for concrete efforts to create feminist peace in Nigeria, WILPF Nigeria, along with seven other peace organisations, submitted a joint shadow report to CEDAW in order to provide clarity and recommendations to the committee.

Their comprehensive review included specific recommendations under the umbrella areas of women in political and public life, rural women, and education. Their commitment and contributions to this comprehensive report were key in imparting a sense of urgency to CEDAW on the status of women’s rights in Nigeria.

Two outstanding women, Isi Ikhimiukor and Dorothy Njemanze networked and presented the report at the formal committee session and at two additional informal meetings. They imparted their expertise on women’s rights in Nigeria during their expositions, speaking passionately on the herdsman crisis, National Action Plan funding shortfalls, the proliferation of arms, universal human rights, police violence, and the inaccessibility to legal services.

Deeply committed to feminist peace, WILPF Nigeria has long fought for proper implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in their community, and their efforts in this instance were simply another step forward in this ever-present undertaking.

Ikhimiukor and Njemanze provided vital context on the realities of gender-based violence in Nigeria, presenting stark evidence on HIV-infection levels, pregnancy and health complications, food insecurity, displacement, domestic violence, inheritance laws, poverty, and agriculture investment.

Workshop in June held by WILPF Nigeria to validate the shadow report before formal presentation in July.

Operating deftly in a diplomatic setting, where advice is often vague and muddled by political motivations, WILPF Nigeria provided clear and feasible recommendations to the committee. Among other programmes, the women called for clarification in the constitution of primary education requirements for girls, including the enforcement of legal ramifications for school systems who fail to comply with minimum equality measures. They called for the establishment of family planning services for rural women and the abolishment of discriminatory inheritance laws.

WILPF Nigeria also stressed the importance of funding for the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Nigeria. Their contributions to the session were invaluable to the progression of feminist peace in the country, and from the initial steps of information-gathering, to compiling and analysing the data, to conceiving effective remedies, to presenting all these elements at the session, the WILPF Nigeria women took up the mantle of feminist peace. The process in itself was a demonstration of the effectiveness of feminist collaboration, and their efforts will be felt widely. For International Women’s Day, we thank WILPF Nigeria for their tirelessness in fostering peace in their community.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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