2020: A year of Adaptive Organising and Civic Activism 

Dear Friends,

What a year! 

2020 was indeed the year no one planned for as we watched our world battle against a pandemic that changed everything, but our spirit to remain resilient and fight together. It fast became the year when we learned to organize better and demand for justice, the year we found our voices together and realised the power in us, the year we fought to preserve our democracy.  This year marked a surge in civic activism, community organizing and review of our strategies to serve our communities despite current realities. Together, we were able to break boundaries and create an impact through our various initiatives that defined our milestones this year. Our 2020 story is one of positive disruption defined by intentionality, resilience and civic activism in politics, governance and civic spaces. Our 2020 will be incomplete without you because, despite the challenges of the year, we found strength in your partnership, solidarity and support. You made our year a success and here is our story.  

Building the Next Generation of Civic Actors 

The younger generation remains our inspiration for the present and hope for the future and Yiaga Africa invest’s in educating young Nigerians on citizenship and civic activism so that they can actively engage in participatory democracy. This has informed Yiaga Africa’s annual Democracy Camp for Secondary Schools. In the last seven years, over 1800 students from about 200 secondary schools so far in Bauchi, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau States and the FCT-Abuja, have participated in our Democracy Camps learning tenets of democracy and issues relating to the fundamentals of civic activism, citizenship, human rights, and political participation.

In the first quarter of 2020, we traveled down to local communities in Plateau, Kogi and Nasarawa States interacting, educating and learning with about 300 students from 30 secondary schools in our 2020 Democracy Camp  on democracy, civic activism, and human rights. In the course of the camp, these excited teenagers were exposed to peer learning, critical thinking and analysis that fosters active citizens participation. Nigeria’s younger generation remains a symbol of hope for the possibilities in our future and we remain committed to equipping the next generation of civic actors with the requisite skills and knowledge to participate in the political process while making an impact in their communities.

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Building Capacity of 780 Executive Directors, Team Leaders in Civic Leadership in the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Era

COVID-19 has created new realities that require adaptive learning to better survive in a Pandemic and Post-Pandemic world. Responding to this need, we brought together at least, 780 Chief Executive Officers, Executive Directors, team leaders of youth Civil Society Organisations, Social Enterprises and Community-Based Organizations to a mind-blowing and insightful Webinar on strategic thinking, organizational management, and program development in a pandemic and post-pandemic era. With two profound speakers: Professor William Brown and Amina Salihu PhD, the Webinar had in attendance young leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The interactive webinar enabled young leaders to think of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their work and how to mitigate the harsh impact of the pandemic on CSO’s and youth-led initiatives.

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Shaping Legislations On Infectious Diseases 

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the National Assembly began the process of  passing the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill and the National Health Emergency Bill into Law to provide a robust legal framework for managing national health emergencies. The proposed bills raised major concerns especially concerns of the compatibility of the Bills with human right standards, rule of law and democratic principles. This informed the Live TV Citizens’ Townhall hosted by Yiaga Africa in partnership with other Civil Society Organizations to access citizens, expert and stakeholders’ opinions on the best fit reviews to the Bills to safeguard human rights and protect public health.

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Supporting Legislative Actions in time of COVID-19

The Pandemic revealed the vulnerability in our system and demanded an active legislative arm of government awake to its role and ensures governmental actions are in tandem with democratic principles and rule of law. With the outbreak of COVID-19, Yiaga Africa engaged young lawmakers on Legislative actions in time of COVID-19 with a special guide  for the Lawmakers to guide their engagement. This was also extended to providing a study analysing legislative response in the Pandemic (See Link) and supporting the presentation of special themed motions on the floor of the House of Representatives.

 

Documenting Citizens Feedback Assessing Government Response to COVID-19

The outbreak of the Pandemic meant a review in government strategy as several actions were taken in responding to the pandemic. Working with our citizens observers across the Local Government Areas in Nigeria, Yiaga Africa provided information on Citizens Feedback on Government response to COVID-19 through both weekly and bi-weekly reports 

See Report  Here.

 

FixElectionsNG: Launched a Citizens Movement on Electoral Reform 

By the first quarter of 2021, Nigerians expect a brand new electoral act that will promote electoral integrity and guarantee sanctity of ballot. Thanks to intense online and offline advocacy with support from other important stakeholders to push for electoral reform in Nigeria. This is sequel to launching of the FixElectionsNG campaign; a movement of citizens and stakeholders to drive the conversation on electoral reform. In a historic citizens’ Live TV Citizens Town-hall on electoral reform, we extracted commitment from the Committees on electoral reform to expedite action towards passage of a more improved electoral act.  The Fix Elections campaign also engaged citizens across Nigeria on critical electoral issues and how to improve Nigeria’s electoral process with several Nigerians participating in online polls on their electoral reform agenda and sharing over 400 videos (See Link) articulating their interest in the reform process across the different social media platforms.

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Working with the National Assembly for a Citizens-Driven Electoral Reforms

The beauty of democracy is in its ability to galvanise diverse citizens’ voices into a process that supports the realisation of the demands of the people. Like other firm believers in democracy, Yiaga Africa provided support to the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC and Electoral Matters to hold a landmark public hearing on the Electoral Amendment Bill. Our support to the committees remains critical as we focus on promoting citizens’ voices in the electoral reform process and bridging the gap between the lawmakers and the people. One of the highlights of this support is the short documentary on electoral reforms in Nigeria. We believe in fixing our elections together to make our democracy work for Nigerians. 

Mobilised Stakeholders to Provide Recommendations on Voting Amidst COVID-19

Despite the ravaging pandemic, the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections held to avert constitutional crises. Being a litmus test for not just the election management body but all stakeholders due to the need to ensure citizens safety, we mobilized stakeholders who provided recommendations on voting in safety through a citizens’ town hall on voting amidst COVID-19. The crux of the stakeholders include Nigeria Medical Association, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and Civil Society Organisations. Recommendations contributed to the final INEC guidelines on Conducting Elections in the Context of COVID-19 for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. 

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Promoting Peaceful and Credible Governorship Elections in Edo and Ondo 

Under our Watching The Vote initiative we mobilized and trained 1189 citizens observers to observe the Edo and Ondo elections from the pre-election phase to the deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) on election day (Visit watchingthevote.org) and post-election audits. We remained committed by providing knowledge on the elections with our  pre-election reports , citizens perception surveys, What Data Tells us about Edo and Ondo Elections. This information also served as early warning systems, identified potential flashpoints and provided recommendation to all election stakeholders to contribute to the relatively credible and  peaceful governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. We also provided immense support to the National Peace Committee for the signing of Peace Accord to further mandate major political actors on peaceful elections. 

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Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Yiaga Africa Co-chair

Joined millions of Nigerians to demand an end to police brutality in Nigeria 

The year 2020 witnessed inspiring youth organizing and civic activism against police brutality and injustice as young Nigerians occupied major cities across states in Nigeria demanding an end to all forms of human rights violation and injustice by the Nigerian security agents. This campaign led to the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the federal government. While the demands of young Nigerians during the #EndSARS street protests are yet to be met, the establishment of the Judicial Panels of Inquiry across states in Nigeria to hear cases on police brutality and extra-judicial killings by the defunct SARS gave some hope to victims. 

Read Updates on Judicial Panels of Inquiry HERE

Bounce Corruption: Engaged  Community of Citizens Demanding Accountability 

Our Bounce Corruption young change-makers are recording successes in demanding accountable leadership at the local level and ensuring sustainable development in their communities. It is no more news that young people are taking leadership responsibility to demand government accountability especially in the areas of budget tracking, implementation and social audit to ensure that budgets are channelled to benefit citizens at the local government level. This is sequel to the consistent capacity building held in 18 Local Government Areas spread across five states of Adamawa, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kogi, Plateau and Abuja joined in enabling citizens carry out oversight functions towards open & accountable governance in the fight against corruption.

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Advocacy for Youth and Gender Responsive Budgeting and Service Delivery 

Our 2020 was also graced with the sustained effort of bridging the gap between our constituents and their lawmakers through training of lawmakers on gender and youth responsive budgeting and service delivery. Our Youth Organizing and Leadership Roundtable between Youth leaders, groups, Civil Society Organisations and Youth Development Committees in five State Houses of Assembly provided an avenue for dissecting the challenges and Impact for young People now and in the Future while also proffering ideas and direction for legislative action for youth responsive service delivery and development. Also, we created platforms to bring young people closer to their decision-makers through a live virtual citizens’ town hall on gender and youth responsive service delivery and development.

Read More HERE

Setting Legislative Agenda for Constituency Outreach, Youth Development and Women Political Participation 

In a series of retreats held during the year 2020, we supported the setting of agenda for critical committees to promote Youth Development, Women political inclusion and Constituency outreach.  In our consistent effort to bridge the gap in women political participation, we engaged critical committees of the National Assembly to ensure intentional legislative steps in the ongoing constitution review and electoral reform process to promote women inclusion in governance and politics. Also, we recommended legislative action that will ensure youth development across the country through legislative actions.

Read Communique HERE 

Women in Parliament Celebrate International Women’s Day

ReadyToRun Relaunch! Helping Young People Win Elections  

If we must make an impact, the best time to kick-off is now! We are consolidating on the relative success of the #NotTooYoungToRun Law by inspiring and supporting young women and young men to run and win elections. To achieve this, we officially re-launched the ReadyToRun campaign to enable young people between the ages of 25 and 40 to register and get necessary support to run for office. Just like we did in the 2019 elections, we will be raising the bar this time. In addition to providing technical support, we will link aspirants to political organizing & leadership capacity building opportunities and other partners as we target a change in our political system through supporting the emergence of leaders with capacity, character and the requisite competencies.

Will you be 25 by the 2023 general elections or you know anyone who wants to run for office, check out our ReadToRunNG website  HERE 

The 2021 Vision

For us, 2021 will be defined by Excellence, Leadership, Resilience and Breaking New Grounds as we begin with the Launch of two volumes of our new books; Beating the Odds, documenting the stories of young Nigerians who are changing the face of politics by contesting and winning elections. 2021 will manifest our commitment of evolving beyond our limits as we enable citizens to reclaim power through organised collective action, electoral participation and civic engagement.

Click HERE to Read our publications for the year

We created magic through storytelling in our documentaries and videos HERE click, view, comment and share!

Thank you to our Development Partners in 2020

Action Aid Nigeria 

Danish International Development Agency

European Union

Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office

MacArthur Foundation 

National Democratic Institute

National Endowment for Democracy 

Swedish Embassy in Nigeria 

United States Agency for International Development

United States Embassy in Nigeria