Based in the city of Minna in central Nigeria, INCRESE advocates for the sexual health and rights of society's most disenfranchised groups, including youth, sexual minorities, survivors of sexual violence, commercial sex workers, and widowed women living with HIV/AIDS. Through education programs in its outreach center and advocacy throughout the community, INCRESE is promoting an understanding of sexual rights that is both protective (the right to say no to unwanted sex) and affirmative (the right to sexual expression)—and challenging the culture of silence around sexuality in a highly conservative environment.
INCRESE works with government representatives and policymakers on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues at regional, national, and international levels, and also provides legal services and leadership development training and conducts research related to these issues.
The 2006 National Census revealed that 33.66 percent of the total population of Nigeria, or 47 million people, are young people between the ages of 10-24 years; by 2025, the number of youth is estimated to surpass 57 million. But a lack of education and accurate information has led to a range of health problems among youth in Nigeria, including unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, pregnancy-related complications, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence.
Despite the country’s commitments in international agreements to honor the rights of adolescents and young people—including their rights to health and education—social and cultural stigma surrounding adolescent sexuality has left many young people uneducated about how to negotiate this period in their lives safely and in good health.
INCRESE is addressing these problems with its Hajara Usman Girls' Leadership Training Program, which provides at-risk girls with leadership skills, educates them about their bodies and rights, and helps them develop their ability to respond to inequalities and injustice. These are important tools that can dramatically increase a young girl's self-esteem and give her a voice in deciding her future. The program also engages parents and provides them with information about the benefits of keeping their daughters in school to advance their education and avoid child marriage.