A centre providing free legal and psychosocial counseling services was inaugurated in 1998 to address diverse forms of challenges widows encounter as a result of the demise of their spouse. These include the procurement of letters of administrations where the husband died intestate. i.e. without a will:
• Free legal counseling is given to enlighten various clients; these include couples and widows; informing them of their rights and legal status so as to protect themselves from violation and abuse of their rights.
• Mediation and conflict resolution as well as partnership with other agencies of government and legal institutions to ensure the protection of human rights.
The law and policy reform
component of HDI’s work relates to our partnership with various groups and networks to improve the law and policy in the thematic areas that we work in. For example we have initiated and successfully caused the law to be changed in Lagos State with regard to the economic rights of poor people who lose their loved ones and have to process Letters of Administration at the Probate section of the High court. Such persons are exempted from taxes and other demands of the system that aggravates their condition. In the same vein, HDI has contributed to other policies with regard to children’s rights, the improvement of the juvenile justice system, reform of the school curriculum, among others.
Human Development Initiatives also collaborates with a couple of other media agencies both print and electronic media to reach out to the wider community on important issues wthin HDI’s thematic areas. Some of these include: the Lagos State Radio Services owners of Radio Lagos & EKO FM; The Nation newspaper; other print and electronic media in Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo states. Furthermore, HDI has over 30 publications including REPRO-MAT, a bi-annual newsletter and Accountability Assessment.
HDI also works in the area of governance and accountability and specifically has a project designed and dedicated to strengthen accountability and governance at the local government area (LGA) level. The LGA is the closest to the people and the most critical level through which development may be accelerated and poverty alleviated. The LG budget-watch project introduced openness and publicity to LGA administration by publicizing at the local level budgetary allocations and monitoring its use. The project intends to reduce corruption and poverty, support the disadvantaged people, pressure the Executive to design programmes that meet the basic needs of local people, improve the quality of lives of local people and reinforce development capacity.
For more information on this project kindly visit the Budget Watch web link on this website.