The Niger Delta Child Rights Watch (NDCRW) project was a 2011 initiative by Stepping Stones Nigeria to raise the capacity of Nigerian child rights NGOs
NDCRW aimed to document, investigate and monitor cases of child rights abuse across the Niger Delta, report such cases to the relevant authorities, and secure successful prosecutions of offenders. The project also provides direct emergency support to children who have suffered abuse, including medical care, food, educational support and counselling.
Additionally, the NDCRW project supports a range of advocacy activities with children, parents, communities, churches, police, government and civil society, in order to ensure better understanding of child rights law and principles and to support improved commitment to and protection of child rights in practice. All advocacy work centres around the PACT (Prevent Abuse of Children Today) campaign.
The NDCRW project brings together organisations from different States in the Niger Delta: Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (Cross River State), Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation (Akwa Ibom State) and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (Rivers State).
BHRC legal intern to support the NDCRW project
From September 2011-2012, BHRC intern Madeleine Bridgett provided dedicated support to the NDCRW project partners on documentation, monitoring and follow-up of child abuse cases with the aim of supporting domestic prosecutions. Madeleine also undertook advocacy to assist the government with the implementation of the 2003 Child Rights Act at a local and national level. The project brought about important achievements which include the first prosecution of a child abuse case at a Family Court in Cross River State.
On 30 September 2011, the PACT coalition met with the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Archibong, to discuss the involvement of the leaders of the Christian community to counter accusations of witchcraft against children by pastors across the Niger Delta Region and beyond.
On 20 October 2011, the Honourable Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Cross River State, Barr. Attah Ochinke, addressed participants at the PACT Coalition launch event, which brought together child rights NGOs from across the Niger Delta for free training and networking.
On 30 November 2011, the government issued a Family Court Practice direction in Cross River State. Chief Justice of Cross River State, Hon. Justice Dorathy N. Eyamba-Idem, OFR formally inaugurated the Family Court in Calabar, Cross River State, as part of a workshop entitled “Law & Justice in the Best Interest of the Child” conducted on 19 and 20 December 2011.
In February 2012, the Basic Rights Counsel filed the first application to the family court in the Magistrates Court, Calabar.
On 2 March 2012, the Basic Rights Counsel filed the first ever application to the family court registry in the High Court, Calabar, Cross River State.
The BHRC and SSN are currently exploring avenues to continue a second internship intake for 2013-2014.
The following materials are available for NDCRW project partners and practitioners working with children in different capacities and jurisdictions:
- NDCRW Resource: Tips for Using the Logbook
- NDCRW Resource: Sample Logbook
- NDCRW Resource: Investigation Protocol
- NDCRW Resource: Tips for Securing Evidence
- NDCRW Resource: Interviewing Children