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Fyneface Dumnamene’s ‘Fynefaceism’: The Fight Against Injustices

Fyneface Dumnamene has been working in the human rights field for over 10 years. Growing up in the Kabangha community in Ogoni, of Rivers State, Nigeria, Fyneface witnessed both human rights injustices and human rights action. Joining Global Rights Connection – Equitas’ newest online human rights training program – was an opportunity Fyneface was motivated and excited to partake in.

“I decided to apply to participate in Global Rights Connection because it is a specialized and prestigious international human rights training program that would enable me to gain more knowledge about human rights, human rights advocacy, human rights defense and innovative ways to train others as human rights educators.”

Equipping himself with more tools to tackle human rights injustices is of great importance to Fyneface’s life mission “to make society a better place than [when] we met it”. Growing up, Fyneface learnt from and participated in various human rights campaigns. Most notably, he recalls attending community advocacy events around Ogoniland that were led by Ken Saro-Wiwa a Nigerian environmental activist – who became a significant influence and role model in Fyneface’s life. It is through this exposure as a young child that Fyneface noticed that his passion was to advocate for the human and environmental rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Niger Delta. His vigor for environmental and human rights is seen through the countless proposals that he has created against environmental pollution by oil companies and crude oil refining, including the “Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative” that serves as an alternative way to address concerns over pollution and the violation of environmental rights.

Fyneface’s passion for equality was fostered at a young age and was further nurtured during his time at the University of Port Harcourt. During this time, he was confronted with a system where cheating, drug abuse, cultism and gender inequalities were all prevalent. Having also experienced similar forms of injustices in his secondary school, Fyneface decided to create a campaign on his university campus where he advised students against these practices. Noticing that his fellow peers were responding well to his messages, Fyneface realized that he needed a platform to take his campaign to the next level in order to create a larger impact. Soon enough, “Fynefaceism” was coined as a term to fight against the injustices taking place on campus.

“With the Fynefaceism ideology, I printed messages like ‘stop cheating, examination malpractice, sorting, cultism, sex for marks, etc.’ and pasted it in hostels and other places on campus for both students and lecturers. From then, I became more known for these campaigns and people started nicknaming me ‘Fynefaceism’.”

As his platform grew, Fyneface was elected by hundreds of students on campus to lead them as President for their academic year. Because Fyneface had led a significant change in the way his fellow peers respected themselves and others, word got to Celestine AkoBari a human rights and environmental activist who invited him to work at his organization, Social Action, where he gained invaluable experience in human rights advocacy. Working for Social Action, Fyneface visited and spoke to secondary, college and university students, along with appearing on various radio and television programs to engage individuals in a conversation around human rights, environmental rights and climate change across Nigeria.

With role models like Celestine AkoBari and Ken Saro-Wiwa, Fyneface was encouraged to found the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) while completing the International Visitor Leadership Program in the United States, a program he was nominated for by the US Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria. YEAC is now the principal platform that Fyneface uses to frontline his human rights campaign against environmental and human rights violations, where he partners with other organizations and activists both domestically and globally. Through YEAC, Fyneface has recently launched a new campaign called “One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Right Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta”, a project that mobilizes and trains youth volunteers to become environmental, human rights, and peace advocates. It is with this new campaign that Fyneface will implement gendered perspectives, a human rights-based approach, participatory approach and human rights instruments, amongst other trainings and techniques he has learnt during Global Rights Connection. Fyneface’s experience with the program will allow him to better train these youth volunteers in becoming more effective human rights defenders.

“My improved knowledge of human rights education, training, defense and promotion from Global Rights Connection will impact my new campaign.” […] First, I will be organizing a training program to stepdown my knowledge from this program to members of my organization and members of this network and then the larger community.”

With the knowledge that he gained through Global Rights Connection, Fyneface will be able to organize a program for the staff at YEAC, along with members of the Human Rights Network. While this program is still in the early stages of development, Fyneface has the tools and passion to monitor, document, report and defend human rights across the Niger Delta.  Fyneface has always, and will continue to be, an avid human rights defender, a passion that he wishes to share with future generations of human rights advocates who will continue his mission to contribute to a “better society where everyone is treated equally and human rights are respected.”