Dear friends,2019 was intense and fulfilling. Just like you, we are asking ourselves what did we achieve this year? How did we serve our constituency? In this edition of our newsletter, we showcase key initiatives that shaped our 2019. In 2019, we witnessed a resurgence in civic activism, political participation and social accountability through our work. We remain grateful for your support, partnership and solidarity in helping us achieve our purpose. For us, 2020 is the next decade of positive disruption in politics, governance and civic spaces. It will be defined by intentionality, resilience and civic activism. As a movement, we will continue to count on your support, partnership and solidarity as we strive to make democracy deliver development to the people.
Here’s our 2019 journey
Mobilising Citizens to Demand for Electoral Integrity
Citizens across Nigeria are demanding for electoral integrity in all phases of the electoral process. The 2019 elections came with high expectations for all election stakeholders especially citizens who expressed frustration with the decline in the quality of Nigerian elections. Through the Watching The Voteproject, we built a citizens movement on electoral integrity with structures across the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. In 2019, we recruited and directly engaged over 5, 500 citizen observers under the Watching The Vote project. They were drawn from villages, rural communities and urban centers. Each observer received high quality training on elections and the electoral process and how to use their phones as a tool for promoting credible elections, conflict mitigation and civic participation. Using the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, we ascertained the accuracy of election results, detected fraud and electoral manipulation and provided real time data on election. We also conducted the first independent Voter Register Audit in Nigeria.
Get more details of our 2019 election projects and milestones HERE.
Using Technology to Revolutionise the Electoral Landscape
The use of modern-day election technology to observe the electoral process by providing accurate and timely data has revolutionized Nigeria’s electoral landscape. Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote project continues to utilize the Parallel Vote Tabulation, the gold standard for election observation across the world, to observe elections—Nigerians now have a go-to hub for credible elections data as a result of our successful deployment of technology overtime to observe elections. This, to a very large extent, shaped public opinions and policy recommendations on the elections conducted in 2019.
Strengthening the Legislature to Protect the Future of Public Trust
In a bid rebuild citizens trust in democratic institutions such as the legislature, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the 8th National Assembly and provided facts and figures to give pointers on how the assembly fared in legislations, representation, and oversight. The assessment led by former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega provided vast recommendations on strengthening the legislature to rebuild public trust in democratic institutions. The report sets an agenda for legislative governance in the 9th National Assembly.
Advancing Political Inclusion and Purposeful Leadership
Increasing the number of young political office holders from 60 to 103 out of 1,558 elective positions, as a result of the Not Too Young To Run and Ready To Run interventions, remains a historic milestone in the history of Nigeria that we celebrate. These interventions resulted in the Ready To Run TV show, and The Convergence (Nigeria’s largest gathering of elected and unelected young politicians), which empowered young politicians with requisite tools and knowledge for providing excellent public leadership. With the Not Too Young To Run movement, we are determined to increase the number of young people in elected offices by 30% in the 2023 elections.
Enhancing State – Society Engagement
The four youngest speakers of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria are collaborating with the citizens of their respective states—Zamfara, Oyo, Kwara and Plateau— to develop a legislative agenda that will guide the activities of their four-year tenure in office. As a brand that focuses on entrenching democratic values to ensure citizens derive the dividends of democracy, we provided technical support to the speakers to organize town halls for discussions with resident citizens and deployed researchers to all the local government areas in their states, to acquire data for the development of the agenda. This is a remarkable feat as the young speakers are introducing new innovations to improve legislative governance, thereby setting the pace for other Speakers.
Building New Models of Community Organizing and Movement Building
In our continuous effort to promote accountability through collective citizens’ action, we held 2019 editions of our annual community organizing and movement building programs. 240 young people across Nigeria are making positive impact in their various communities through our Youth Organising School. Also, in the last 6 years, our annual Democracy Summer Camp—targeted at young people under 18—has educated young Nigerians on citizenship, civic activism, and fundamental human rights. This year, we held the sixth edition in secondary schools in Kogi, Bauchi, and Nasarawa states. Watch our documentary on this, “Below The Legal Line”, which was shortlisted for the #iamAfrica Pan-African film festival.
In addition, we released a music album produced in Senegal, ‘Music as a Messenger of Democracy’ and engaged youths in Ethiopia to support the democratization project in their country.
Enhancing Local Governance through Citizens Oversight
For democracy to thrive, government must be accountable to its citizens. Service delivery and public administration at the local government level has been poor owing to weak institutional mechanisms and poor citizens oversight. To address this gap, Yiaga Africa conducted social accountability trainings in local governments across six states under the Bounce Corruption project. As a result of this intervention, some local councils now release their budget for public engagement. Under the Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) project,
Promoting Data – Driven Journalism
We are super proud to have contributed to enhancing the capacity of media organizations on data driven journalism and reporting during the last general elections. We conducted a comprehensive training of over 100 journalists, editors and media executives across Nigeria on data-driven journalism to stem the tide of fake news and disinformation.
As we look forward to 2020, with a view to expanding our coast, your immense support and collaboration remains valuable to the success of our vision of empowering state and non-state actors with relevant knowledge and tools in promoting sustainable democracy and development.