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The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) - Nigeria

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Introduction

The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) was founded by a group of young human rights activists in July 2005 in response to human rights violations occurring in Nigeria that targeted sexual minorities. TIER empowers sexual minorities and strives to challenge the infringement of their rights through several initiatives and strives to create a society that ensures that all people fully attain, without discrimination, their fundamental human rights for a stronger and healthier nation. With this in mind, TIER‘s key objectives include:
1. Recognizing and addressing the health and social needs of sexual minorities in Lagos State, particularly through provision of HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and treatment services prevention, treatment and care services as well as psychosocial counseling and by offering a safe place for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGTB) people.
2. Meeting the vocational skills needs of sexual minorities in the Lagos State, recognizing that economic dependence and poverty are major issues impeding the growth and well-being of many young sexual minorities.
3. Meeting the social needs of sexual minorities by offering a safe space for people to be themselves.
4. Reducing stigma and discrimination among sexual minorities themselves and with the general public and collaborates with various stakeholders to advocate for the fundamental rights of these marginalized groups at both, state and national level..

The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) was established in 2005 by a group of young human rights activists in response to human rights violations against sexual minorities. TIER empowers sexual minorities and strives to challenge the infringement of their rights through several initiatives. The organisation works to meet the health and social needs of sexual minorities in the Lagos State through the provision of HIV/STI prevention, treatment and care services as well as psychosocial counselling and by offering a safe place for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGTB) people. In addition, TIER strives to reduce stigma and discrimination among sexual minorities themselves and in the general public and collaborates with various stakeholders to advocate for the fundamental rights of these marginalized groups at both the state and national level. Building the capacity of human rights lawyers, TIER provides legal support for sexual minorities who are being legally persecuted. Since its establishment, the organisation has strategically formed partnerships with other civil society organisations as well as government entities to amplify their demand for inclusive HIV programming for sexual diversities. This work has allowed a 25 percent increase in HIV-prevention programming among men who have sex with men in Lagos and slowly broken the silence around issues of sexual minorities. 

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Successes

Profile in Brief
Organisation
The Independent Project for Equal Rights
Region
Africa
Classification
Non-Governmental Organisation
Field of Work
Gender
Legal Assistance
Prevention
Human Rights
Stigma and Discrimination
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Populations Served
Sexual Minorities
Founded
2005
Staff
15 volunteers, 6 full-time and 1 part-time
  • TIER was the first organisation to undertake HIV prevention work within the men who have sex with men (MSM) community and has successfully increased MSM inclusion in HIV prevention programming by 25% in the last three years in the Lagos state and nationwide through direct service and advocacy. 
  • Sparked national discussion about LGBT rights.
  • Established a community center, which, in addition to HIV prevention education, provides safer sex material, psychosocial counseling as well as HIV counseling and testing. MSM are also provided with behavior change communication materials. 
  • Because of its credibility and deep knowledge of the issue, the organisation was invited to participate in the recent review of the Lagos state HIV prevention strategic plan to ensure the inclusion of MSM in the state HIV policy. 
  • At the national level, TIER has provided input to the UNAIDS country office as well as the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, ensuring that the needs of MSM are considered. 
  • LGBT rights are now receiving greater attention in Nigeria. While public discussions of LGBT rights are still mostly negative in tone, TIER believes that this public debate is a positive sign of change and that the silence around the issue is finally breaking. 
  • In 2007 and 2009, TIER mobilized civil society members to protest against a bill prohibiting same-sex marriage in Nigeria, resulting in the bill being halted.
  • Contributed to an increase in the inclusion of MSM in HIV programming through their direct advocacy efforts targeted at the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and other related development partners.
  • TIER‘s referral services have also assisted in increasing MSM's access to anti-retroviral therapy within LGBT-friendly sexually transmitted infections' clinics.


Partnerships

  • Heartland Alliance - Chicago
  • Population Council
  • International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
  • International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights
  • Legal Assistance Project
  • Global Rights

Contact

Website: http://www.ysm-rightsorg.page.tl/
E-mail:
  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone: +234-7066622191
Address:  
Suite F35
Matoil Business Complex
Isolo
Lagos State
Nigeria

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