Outdooring the AHRAP

SSHRC funded Research/Dissemination Network on the Development of the African Union’s African Human Rights Action Plan (AHRAP-NET) undertook and disseminated relevant research/analysis that enhanced the capacity and ability of the Pan African Lawyers Union or PALU (and in the end the African Union) to develop and adopt an optimal African Union’s African Human Rights Action Plan (AHRAP), while allowing Canadian/African foreign policy and human rights practitioners to learn significantly more about aspects of the challenges, accomplishments, and prospects of Canada’s human rights role in Africa. AHRAP-NET allowed the two partners, i.e. York and PALU, as well as the team members, to expand and deepen joint research, knowledge mobilization and training activities, in significant and innovative ways towards the African Union’s effort to develop and adopt the AHRAP.

This proposed series of outreach activities are a sequel to AHRAP-NET, which built on existing collaborative relationships and undertook the dissemination of relevant research/analysis that greatly enhanced the capacity/ ability of the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU) and the African Union to develop and adopt an optimal AHRAP. This collaboration is allowing Canadian/African foreign policy and human rights practitioners to learn significantly more about an important aspect of Canada’s human rights role in Africa. This remains the first ever partnership to be focused on the development and adoption of the AHRAP.

The “Outdooring AHRAP” is designed to initiate several connection outreach activities on the AHRAP. The objective is to extend the current knowledge produced through AHRAP-NET by engaging key strategic stakeholders (and also a targeted section of the public) to mobilize Canadian research on the AHRAP across states in Sub-Saharan Africa and vice versa. By initiating six connection outreach activities (see below), these activities are engaging PALU, human rights NGOs within several African states, African governments (and their National Human Rights Institutions), the African Union (Human Rights Unit), strategic media personnel and the development of new online digital tools. The countries where the “outdooring” is taking place includes (but is not limited to) Kenya (in the East of Africa), Nigeria (in the West), South Africa (in the South), and Congo (in Central Africa). The last phase of this project will take place at Osgoode Hall Law School of York, Canada.

Project Directors

Prof Obiora Okafor

Professor Obiora C. Okafor is one of the world’s top human rights scholar-practitioners. With nearly thirty years of experience as a world class human rights scholar and practitioner, he holds the highly prestigious York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies (Senior Tier) and is a tenured Full Professor of Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto, Canada (Canada’s top law school).

Prof Okafor has served as a human rights and/or International law consultant for the World Bank, the ECOWAS Parliament, and the House of Representatives of Nigeria. The General Editor of the international journal, the Transnational Human Rights Review, and editorial board member of a number of other academic journals around the world, he has held the Gani Fawehinmi Distinguished Chair in Human Rights Law at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and served as a Visiting Professor at a number of universities and institutes around the world (including Harvard, MIT, the Rene Cassin Institute in Strasbourg, and Kent Law School). He was conferred the Award of Academic Excellence of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers in 2010 and the Gold Medal for Exceptional Research and Major Contributions to Jurisprudence of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2013.  His PhD Thesis at the University of British Columbia (1998) won the Canadian Governor-General (Head of State’s Gold Medal). Professor Okafor has published six books (with two others forthcoming) and nearly 100 journal articles and scholarly writings. He has also won over 19 highly competitive grants.

Prof Sylvia Bawa

Dr. Sylvia Bawa is a global sociologist and tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at York University in Canada with expertise in human rights, development, gender and globalization. With immense experience working with international and local organizations and groups on development, social justice and human rights issues, her expertise in these areas have been recognized through numerous research awards. With over 15 years of experience in conducting exceptional qualitative research on the aforementioned areas, she has led and currently co-leads international collaborative research projects on human rights, truth and reconciliation and gender and development.  She has also organized, facilitated and participated in international policy-oriented workshops, roundtables and conferences for diverse audiences. Her publications appear in top-ranking journals such as Third World Quarterly, African Identities, Qualitative Research Report, Development in Practice, Canadian Journal of African Studies as well chapters in the International Human Rights of Women, (Part of the International Human Rights Series and the The Palgrave Handbook of African Women’s Studies (Springer Major Reference Works Series).


Project Coordinator

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh

Okechukwu Effoduh has a demonstrated history of working in the private law sector; the executive branch of government; and, the media industry. He is skilled in litigation, human rights and regional community law. He has also gained robust media and communication expertise.

Effoduh has gained several years of experience as a private legal practitioner. He also served as the Assistant Director of the Council on African Security and Development (CASADE) for 4 years where he convened the first ever Summit on National Security in Nigeria (involving 200 top security experts from 40 countries to develop a security strategy for the Nigerian government). He worked as legal officer of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) a think tank set up by the Nigerian President, before proceeding with his keen pursuit for academics.

For eleven years, Effoduh anchored 2 of Nigeria’s most popular radio programmes which aired on over 150 stations with more than 35 million Nigerians tuning-in weekly. Effoduh earned 4 national and international awards for his work on radio and has held fellowships at the Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Cape Town’s Mandela School of Public Governance. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and has been designated a World Economic Forum Expert on Human Rights

AHRAP Development Implementation Lecture

This Development implementation Lecture focuses on a wider dissemination of the SSHRC-funded partnership knowledge to the wider Canadian academe and key stakeholders.


Publications in both print and online medium. Including:

Transnational Human Rights Review, Canada 

Council on African Security and Development (CASADE) 

The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 

Pan African Lawyers Union 

Media Outreach

The rationale for conducting a series of media events on AHRAP (and AHRAP-NET) is two-fold: First, to reach a much wider (general) audience that would not have been reached via the lecture or other academic platforms (such as citizens and publics in the target countries that utilise the media as a source of knowledge acquisition). Second, to mobilize and translate knowledge on AHRAP (and AHRAP-NET) into less technical formats for public understanding.

Hackathon: Developing an interactive Web Portal on AHRAP.

A 2-day digital hackathon: computer programmers and other experts in the tech community will collaborate on developing an interactive web portal for mobilizing knowledge on AHRAP (and AHRAP-NET).

AHRAP Speaker Series

The AHRAP Speaker Series is a two-part exchange dialogue where human rights practitioners will come to the academe in the first part, and the academe will go to the practitioners in the second part. The first part of the series will engage African Union officials and key government representatives at the Pan African Lawyers Union in Arusha, Tanzania, whilst the second part will engage the applicants, co-applicants, collaborators (including PALU) and our stakeholders from Canada and the other target states at the AU office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This AHRAP Speaker Series as a knowledge exchange exercise will expand the understanding and outcomes of AHRAP and AHRAP-NET by engaging on the following key issues: How Human Rights have been conceptualized and defined, and perhaps classified; what areas of human rights have been identified as constituting Key Results Areas – in terms of both substance (class of human rights) and strategies (approaches to promoting and protecting); Implementation monitoring and enforcement mechanism of the AHRAP; and, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting frameworks put in place for the AHRAP.

TEDx at York!

TEDx is an international community that organizes TED-style events anywhere to celebrate locally driven ideas and elevate them to a global stage. TEDx events are produced independently of TED conferences, as each event curates’ speakers on their own, but based on TED’s format and rules. Due to COVID-19, the proposed TEDx at York University may not be able to bring together the hundreds of students to engage on AHRAP and AHRAP-NET, highlighting Canada’s role in this process and presenting the academic community’s input to the development of AHRAP. This will however take place online but still involving the avant-garde youth focused audience at York, speakers will comprise of experts from the field presenting key insights on the AHRAP’s engagement on issues such as free movement of persons, goods, services and capital; peace, security and conflict prevention; Women’s rights and economic integration and development; and democratic elections and political power succession.


A set of films is produced to mobilize and disseminate knowledge on AHRAP to the public within some African countries. This will also translate knowledge on the AHRAP into cinematographic forms by using the film medium to reach specific non-academic and a much wider audience. This is in partnership with leading and award-winning film makers in Africa such as Emil Garuba, Bem Pever, and others.

Training the Trainer Workshop

This AHRAP Training the Trainer workshop is to improve effectiveness, efficiency and productivity towards realizing the goals of the AHRAP. This activity involves key players/representatives from several government institutions (that are responsible for implementing/enforcing the AHRAP in the various states). This workshop is to facilitate knowledge-sharing and experiential exchange.