Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Woman (COSUDOW)



COSUDOW is a non-governmental organization in Benin City, Edo-State, Nigeria which strives to uplift the lives of young girls and women irrespective of tribe, race and religious affiliation. The name COSUSOW officially came to lime light in 1999.

COSUDOW is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2005, Ministry of Youth and Sport Edo State 2004, and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development 2012.

The dehumanizing nature of the sexual exploitation of trafficked girls and women in Africa particularly in Nigeria informed the decision of the Major Superiors of Nigeria under the umbrella of the Conference of Women Religious (NCWR) towards the formation of the Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW).In 1998, the Committee felt a strong need to put up a fight to liberate women from the shackles of their slave masters and they also investigates cases of threat to lives of families of victims who have decided to abandon exploitative prostitution for a more decent living.

As the result of this decision the following persons were appointed; Rev. Sr.Blandina Ryan, MMM, Rev. Sr. Florence Nwaonuma SSH, were the first to bring together all the responsibilities and activities of the early life of COSUDOW. They were also assisted by two devoted Catholics who have the zeal to join in the fight against human trafficking, Barrister Eric Okojie and Barrister Victor Ehizogie now the Enogie of Ogwa.

The choice of Benin City as the principal location of operations was not a mistake as available data has it that majority of trafficked victims to Europe for sex trade were young girls and women who had hailed from Benin City, Capital of Edo State, Nigeria.

The Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Italy, Caritas Italian donated the funds for the purchase of the land upon which the shelter was built, the MissioAchen, Germany and SRTV, Netherlands fully furnished the shelter.

COSUDOW is well organized and recognized institution as a leading organization in preventing, protecting, rehabilitating and reintegrating, reconciling and monitoring of victims of trafficking (VOT) giving them hope of recovery and self-reliance with rediscovery. Since the inception of COSUDOW we have reintegrated 378 victims of human trafficking. From January this year 2016 till date we have reintegrated economically and educationally 32 victims of human trafficking from Europe countries.

Mission Statement:
To promote the dignity of young girls and women through education on their dignity, rights, sex, family and responsibilities and advance the wellbeing of the down-trodden womanhood exposing them of their equal opportunities in the social-political sphere.

Vision Statement:
A society where young girls and women are liberated become empowered, active, valued and protected and rise above cultural nuances that mitigate against their dignity.

Core Values:
Respect, Compassion, Charity, Integrity, Trustworthiness with the mercy of God as our guiding principle.

Objectives of COSUDOW
  • To reintegrate and rehabilitate young women who have voluntarily or involuntarily returned from Europe involved in sexual exploitation.
  • To educate and enlighten families and the young people of the hazards or danger involved in travelling to Europe or elsewhere for greener.
  • To ensure that victims and their family members are securely protected after they have opted out of exploitative prostitution.
  • To provide counseling services and spiritual direction to enable the girls regain their self-dignity and worth.
  • To work in collaboration with Government agencies and non-Governmental agencies involved in the fight against human trafficking
  • To find ways of giving victims of trafficking marketable skills and help them set up ventures that will enable them have a source of livelihood.

    Major Activities:
    The activities of the COSUDOW are widespread and all-embracing towards the dignity of women vulnerable or who have become victims of trafficking. The activities of COSUDOW cut across:

  • Enlightenment/Sensitization Program through media, prints papers, posters to thegeneral populace with particular preference for the rural populace.
  • Engage young women in acquiring vocational skills within their locality.
  • Reintegration of Victims of trafficking: This involves family tracing and reconciliation of victims with their families which is an important step towards the successful reintegration process.
  • Individual Counselling Sessions which aids the recovery process of the victim.
  • Reintegration assistance and Monitoring of victims
  • Market surveys/action plan prior to reintegration exercise.

    Challenges:
  • Insufficient enlightenment Program materials: Media and Print.
    Office up-keep
  • Communication Materials during outreaches in schools and rural areas.
  • Inadequate funds to run the shelter.
  • Family interference in the reintegration of the victims.

    The Office Complex is located at number 6A Ehaekpen Street, Off Igbesanwan Street, Off Akpakpava Road, Benin City.

    The Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Italy single handedly built the office complex while Caritas Italian donated the funds for the purchase of the land upon which the shelter was built, MissioAchen, Germany and SRTV, Netherlands fully furnished the shelter. The building was officially opened by the then Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria President, Most. Rev. Dr. Alaba Job and handed over to the Nigerian Conference of Women Religious (NCWR), in 11 July 2007. This made COSUDOW a sole property of the Major Superiors of Nigeria Conference of Women Religious (NCWR) with its Board of Trustees members.

    Achievements:
    Since the inception of COSUDOW, a total number of 378 VOT’s have been fully reintegrated with small scale businesses set up to improve on their livelihood.

    Enlightenment Campaign carried out in majority of the rural areas of Edo-State where internal and external trafficking appears to be high. And this created a conscious awareness in the mind of the people to be on the alert of the tricks of the traffickers.

    Awareness creation in schools and church outreaches on the ills of human trafficking to the human person and society at large.

    Family tracing which is an important aspect of social reintegration continue to be a foundation block for victims upon return for those willing for such relationships to be established.

    One of the victims has successfully completed her secondary education

    Some of the victims and the children of the victims have been baptized, while some are undergoing catechism.

    Many of the victims have been reconciled with their families.

    Scholarship awarded to victims of trafficking and their children by Benin Archdiocese and Unione Superior Maggiorid’Italia (USMI)-Italy.

    The Office Complex is located at
    No. 6A Ehaekpen Street,
    Off Igbesanwan Street,
    Off Akpakpava Road,
    Benin City.