FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Thank you for walking with us through a most trying year! Despite global lockdowns and recessions, we saw our impact and influence expand as a result of the trust we cultivated over the years with survivors and national/global leaders. There is a lot to be thankful for, particularly as Pathfinders turned SEVEN amidst a global pandemic!
Like most CSOs, we were initially blindsided by the extensive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in us initially having to scale back our direct services at a time when they were most desperately needed for survivors. However, we efficiently and successfully pivoted, innovating through government mandates, lockdowns and quarantines in a manner that ultimately resulted in our survivors emerging and continuing to thrive. We were glad to have been able to continue to offer shelter at The Anchor to survivors who were desperate for housing support.
Amongst other innovations, we launched Each One, Reach One, a ‘my sister’s keeper’ initiative that paired our survivor advocates with at-risk women whose economic desperation was leading them to seek smuggling outlets from Nigeria, to provide sustainable economic support. Our COVID relief drives, which provided immediate basic needs to our beneficiaries, emerged as a life saving resource, along with mental health services which we ensured were consistently available to address triggers and trauma. Our adaptive business trainings also presented opportunities for our beneficiaries to adapt their small businesses to include the sale of goods/services that were in-demand as a result of the pandemic.
We also pivoted to create PALI (Pathfinders Adult Literacy Initiative), our free adult education classes for women and girls who were unable to return to school post-COVID (due to financial hardships) and were privileged to publish Pathway to Prevention, our ground breaking research on recruiters of sex trafficking from Nigeria, whereby contributing to the growing database of evidence that substantiates the face of trafficking in and from Nigeria. Our street outreach program, The Redemption Project, also launched in 2020 to serve women who are voluntary in prostitution but desperately seeking a way out.
As consultants and contributors on the global stage, we continued to amplify the voices of survivors and share learnings at the C20 Summit speaking on legislated disempowerment, at CPA UK’s Modern Slavery Conference 2020 and at IJM’s Conference on Cross Border Trafficking: Ghana-Nigeria.
And so, as much as the world shut or slowed down, we were, with your support and partnerships, able to continue to do our structurally transformative work that is not only changing the narrative of African women and girls, but also disrupting the economic landscape across the continent. As part of the critical minority, I am certain that you will conclude, as you review the full Annual Report, that there was certainly much to be thankful for in 2020- the year that afforded us all the opportunity to build back better!
Until all are free,
R. Evon Benson-Idahosa
Founder and Executive Director