As part of its effort to inculcate democratic values in the new generation of Nigerian Citizens, YIAGA AFRICA has conducted a comprehensive democratic discourse with secondary school students in Bauchi, Kogi and Nasarawa states, for the 6th edition of its Democracy Summer Camp. A total of 18 schools participated with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
During the camp, YIAGA AFRICA’s Senior Program Officer, Ibrahim Faruk, said through the Democracy Summer Camp, YIAGA AFRICA continues to build an engaging community to stir issues on democratic participation and active citizenship among teenagers across various levels of education, for the purposes of peer learning, solidarity and intergenerational dialogue.
According to him, “the camp is important for the high school teenagers as young people who are in the transitional stage of both physical and psychological development, and thus will begin early to imbibe the right mindset of integrity and patriotism as young Nigerian citizens”. The core topics of discussion included the role of an active citizen in government, peace and conflict resolution and youth radicalization, he said.
In the three states, Bauchi, Kogi and Nasarawa, students were immersed in democratic knowledge through lectures pertaining to governance and civic education, pop quizzes, debates and break out sessions. The students were taught that their voices and opinions are important because young Nigerian citizens are key actors of democracy. All students in the three states interacted and brainstormed on ideas for their group presentations, while the debate competition was the penultimate segment of the two-day young citizens’ engagement program across the three states. “A youth who is 18 years old is eligible to vote and is also eligible to be voted for,” proposed a student from Government College, Keffi in the final debate session of YIAGA AFRICA’s Democracy Summer Camp 2019.
The debate covered the central questions—“What are the arms of government? Why are elections important? As students and from your experiences, which human rights do you think are the most abused and what recommendations would you make? What is good governance? Who is an active citizen?”
Citizens’ engagement such as this, which YIAGA AFRICA has organized with dedicated support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) prevents Youth Radicalization and encourages Peace and Conflict Resolution —two topics the facilitator educated the students on. The summer camp has become an annual tradition of YIAGA AFRICA, who has organized it for teenagers in highschool since 2013, with National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
In Bauchi, seven schools participated in the summer camp including Bakari Dukku Secondary School, Climax International Secondary School, Dolphin Maria Secondary School, Government Girls’ College, Bauchi, International Secondary School, Jibril Model Secondary School, and Sa’adu Zungur Secondary School. All schools in Bauchi were housed by Sunshine International School (SIS). In Nasarawa, the participants were students from Federal Government College (FGC) Keffi (which housed all the participating schools), ECWA High School, Danset International School and Government College Keffi.
While In Kogi state, St. Monica’s College, Kabba housed the six other participating schools: Wise Virgin College/Group of Schools, St Augustine’s College, Kabba, Local Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Kabba, Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Okedayo, Bishop Mc Calla Comprehensive High School, and Christ Anglican Secondary School.
The principals and school representatives in the three states also gave opening speeches to kick off the 2-day activities. Vice Principal (Academics) of Federal Government College, gave an opening remark on the importance of democracy and the need to inculcate the habit of “practicing and advocating for true democracy in young citizens, who will proceed to become more active in electoral processes,” he stated.
The students who participated in the Democracy Summer Camp had no trouble assimilating how young citizens should play their part in Nation Building. This was very evident in the debate sessions and group presentations as the student representatives delivered well-informed ideas.
Through the Democracy Summer Camp, YIAGA AFRICA continues to build an engaging community to stir issues on democratic participation and active citizenship among teenagers across various levels of education, for the purposes of peer learning, solidarity and intergenerational dialogue.