WACOL was established in 1997 as an independent, non-political, non-governmental and non-profit organization; registered in 2000 as a company limited by guarantee i.e., as a charitable organization (RC: 388132) with the Corporate Affairs of Commission (CAC), Nigeria. WACOL’s vision is a democratic society free from violence and abuse, where human rights of all in particular women and young people are recognized in law and practice. Its mission is to assist in the education, social, economic and political development of women and young people through a wide range of services: training, research, advocacy, shelter, free legal and financial aid, intra-familial/community conflict resolution, and information and library services. The organization works throughout Nigeria and in the West African sub-region and beyond. WACOL has established itself as a credible and committed organization whose work is well recognized beyond the shores of Nigeria. It has since 2001 an observer status with the African Union, African commission on human rights, and being also an NGO Special Consultative Status with the United Nations approved in 2010 by ECOSOC. WACOL is a formidable organization that can now boast of institutional capacity for sustainable work in the field of advancing human rights, gender equality, democracy and good governance.
WACOL programme and projects are wide and varying and include: Research; Advocacy for law reform to benefit the disadvantaged, including women, children and persons with disability; Capacity building on legislative advocacy for CSOs; Promoting women’s rights and access to justice under Sharia and Customary law; Legal education and awareness, including the training of paralegals; Provision of free legal aid and assistance to women and children whose human rights have been abused; Running of shelter for battered women; Establishment and running of one stop holistic Centre for sexual assault cases called TAMAR Sexual Assault Referral Center (TAMAR SARC); Engaging law enforcement officers- police, prison officers, prosecutors on human rights and the rule of law; Promoting domestic implementation and monitoring of international human rights law and access to justice; Training of administrators of justice, including judges, magistrates, sharia and customary courts officials; Campaign to eliminate discrimination and violence against women, Campaign to end human trafficking, forced labour and unsafe migration; Integrated assistance to women’s victims of State torture and violent conflicts; Moot Courts on human rights and women’s rights; Curriculum development and building local jurisprudence for the teaching of gender, reproductive health and rights in universities/law faculties in Nigeria; sexual and reproductive rights advocacy, peer health education, Family life education, Publication of legal literacy series (over 20 on different subject) and other simplified and reader friendly public enlightenment books and IEC’s numbering over 30 on Electoral Law, Constitution, Civic Education, trafficking, rape, women’s rights, children’s rights, widows rights, family life/sex education, etc. Publication of training manuals on advocacy, gender, election monitoring, international human rights law, law enforcement and human rights; popular participation in constitution-making, training manual for the judiciary, training health practitioners on gender –based violence, engaging traditional and religious leaders etc. WACOL deploys the media and new technologies to promote awareness on human rights, gender equality and violence against women and girls (VAWG)/SGBV.