This profile was prepared when Josephine Effah-Chukwuma was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Josephine is the first person to formally address issues related to violence against women in Nigeria. By establishing the country's first shelter, telephone hotline, and newsletter for battered women, she is not only providing valuable services to beleaguered women in need of immediate assistance, but also working to deconstruct the taboos that prevent efforts to fight domestic and sexual violence in Africa and around the developing world. Josephine has developed an effective holistic approach to helping battered women: she provides a safe space and accommodations for victims and their children, and she offers group and individual counseling, resettlement services, legal advice, and advocacy. She plans to launch similar initiatives in every city in Nigeria and would like to spread her model to other regions of the developing world.