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26 Apr
0

Citizens Feedback on Government Response to COVID-19

Summary of Findings

Based on reports from 600 LGAs, there is a minimal distribution of relief materials to citizens in the majority of states with either partial or full lock-down.

1. Economic Hardship: Citizens complained that the lockdown brought untold economic hardship. Most workers whose subsistence
is dependent on daily wages were grossly affected as their lifeline was cut short by the lockdown. This was worsened by the sudden hike in food prices In places where relief materials were distributed, they were either inadequate to cater to the target beneficiaries.

2. Discrimination in Distribution and Diversion of Palliatives: In some locations citizens monitors reported that relief materials were diverted by politicians or distributed to party members and supporters as opposed to poor and vulnerable in the society. None of our observers in the 600 LGA’s either received or heard of cash transfers to anyone in their community, ward, or local government area.

3. Possible Exclusion of Women: In locations where the distribution of relief material was conducted, women were excluded. The distributing teams failed to use an inclusive template to ensure women have equal access to the palliatives. In most cases, the distribution of palliatives is done according to households and given to the head of the household which in most cases are men.

4. Violation of Physical Distancing: Across all LGAs monitored, Yiaga Africa monitors, reported disregard for social or physical distancing guidelines. Most people are concerned about eking a living than observing physical distancing guidelines.

5. Public outreach on preventive measures: State-based organizations, community associations, and religious bodies are taking notable steps in sensitizing citizens and distributing protective materials like sanitizers, facemasks, and soap. The multi-stakeholder approach adopted for public sensitization is highly commendable.

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26 Apr
0

780 Executive Directors, Team Leaders Exposed to Civic Leadership in Post-Pandemic Era

At least, 780 Chief Executive Officers,  Executive Directors, team leaders of youth Civil Society Organisations, social enterprises and community-based organizations have been exposed to strategic thinking, organizational management, and program development in a post-pandemic era during a webinar hosted by Yiaga Africa and United States Embassy. 

The webinar facilitated by Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo had young and old leaders interact with experts on how to respond to a pandemic like COVID-19 by building solidarity with their communities and planning effectively for the post-pandemic era. 

According to Itodo, the webinar hosted with the support of the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy, was aimed at promoting strategic planning on organizational management and program development with Executive Directors, Team leaders of youth civic organizations, social enterprises, and community-based organizations.  The goal according to him was to get the 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 groups. 

The discussion was led by Prof. William A. Brown is a professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and Dr. Amina Salihu who is Senior Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation Africa Office. 

During the presentation by Prof. William A. Brown, urged these leaders to evaluate their financial situation and organizational risks while evaluating demand for their services in the short and long term. Similarly, he encouraged organisations to reach out to their constituents saying “inform your constituents about how your organization is doing and how you are adjusting to serve them. Assure them your organization is assessing and adapting to the situation”. 

According to him, “if your mission had purpose before COVID 19, it will still have today” thus it is necessary to consider funding that will meet the needs of your community during this crucial period. He encouraged community engagement, creation of awareness, and showing commitment and support during this period.

In relation to organizational sustainability, Professor Brown who serves as the Director of the Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy, tasked organisations to consistently reach out to donors with valuable proposals during this challenging time. “Over communicate with your donors. Pick up the phone and call to check on them. Ask if you can help serve them. Thank them for their support”, he said. 

Also, Dr. Amina Salihu, a Senior Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation Africa Office during her own presentation called on young Chief Executive Officers to wear their strategic thinking caps and come up with transformative agenda this period.  According to Dr. Salihu, strategic thinking is a process that defines the way people think about, assess, view, and create the future for themselves and others. This process must bring forth solutions rather than just proposals as money always follows good ideas.

She stressed the importance of developing crises management tools while also encouraging the use of technology to connect and educate the community. She also highlighted the importance of holding the government to account during this period and countering fake news and disinformation. 

Dr Amina who was a gender technical team member, for the Nigerian government Vision 20 2020 process, and for the review of the National Gender Policy for Nigeria, 2006 and a gender strategy for Nigeria’s National Assembly said, there is also need to pay attention to gender based violence referring to the United Nations #Heforsheathome campaign. “Radio stations are offering psychosocial support to women who are locked in with abusers”, she said.  

The webinar is available to be watched here:

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26 Apr
0

How Female Lawmakers are Taking Legislative Actions Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

As the world battle the novel Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, women and children remain vulnerable to effects of the virus especially the economic hardship that comes with lock-down in most part of Nigeria. In this vein, it becomes imperative to advocate for Legislative Action on COVID-19 from an inclusive women perspective.

This informed the webinar hosted by Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement with 6 female legislators from state houses of assemblies to discuss taking legislative action on COVID-19. The meeting provided an opportunity to get insight into the actions taken by female legislators and the importance of a balanced gender perspective amid the crisis.

Female lawmakers at their respective assemblies supported passage of legislations to protect its citizens and state from the spread of COVID-19. One of such decisions is the closure of borders to prevent entry into or exit out of the state. They also embarked on massive sensitization of their constituents and distribution of hand sanitizers, washing buckets and detergents while some lawmakers took step further by reaching out to elderly and vulnerable with food and monetary palliatives.

Speaking during the meeting hosted on zoom, Hon. Binta Mamman from Niger state made a clarion call saying, “we are representative of the people; they came out to vote for us. This is the time we need to show our constituents that we care about them.” Lawmakers need to provide relief materials for constituents before even commencing sensitization because citizens have been violating the social distance regulation due to need to make ends meet.  She called for collective effort between both legislative and executive arm of government to provide support for citizens while also calling for legislations that will improve lives of citizens.

Hon. Nwachukwu Chinwe Lillian also shared the effort made by the legislative arm of government in Ebonyi state saying legislators have passed a law to backing all the COVID-19 precautionary measures and regulations to combat the pandemic. The law also criminalizes artificial hike and hoarding of essential food and services to stem the economic effect of the pandemic. “This is in addition to submitting our April salaries to the fight against the pandemic”, she enthused

Similarly, Hon. Regina Anyogo revealed that the Cross-River state house of assembly had also passed similar legislation to provide legal backing to regulations by National Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organisation. This is amongst other efforts to reach out to constituents with relief materials and sensitization activities.

For instance, Hon. Atinuke Christianah Bello, Chief whip of Ogun state house of assembly went back to her community to sensitize them on precautionary measures and distributed T-shirt with education messages inscribed to create awareness. During the meeting with Yiaga Africa, she said “I raised a billboard in my constituency with information that covid-19 is real, showing symptoms, precautionary measures and numbers to call for information. I also distributed a total of 4,000 pieces of sanitizers to market, churches, mosques and individuals.” “I have identified elderly vulnerable people and gave them at least 10,000 to stem the effect of economic hardship”, she said.

Some of the female lawmakers with support from the executive were able to provide food stuffs like Rice, beans, yam, noodles among others to as many as 500,000 households as revealed by Honorable Atinuke Bello of Ogun state.

The tale is similar with the only female lawmaker in Ondo state house of assembly Hon. Tomomewo Favour Semiloore who revealed that all members of the state assemblies returned to their constituency to sensitize them on the dangers of the pandemic. According to her, state lawmakers distributed face masks and hand sanitizers to communities within their constituents.

Not too Young To Run strategy team members led by Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu, Chioma Agwuebo, Nana Nwachukwu,Bella, Yetunde Bakare, Anne Ndubuisi Ibrahim Faruk urged the lawmakers to document and amplify the impact they have made in this period. The female lawmakers were also urged to distinguish themselves by being intentional in their interventions especially targeted at women as women remain more victims of the pandemic.

They reiterated that, providing educational content to students via TV and radio should be done across all states to continue the disruption in the educational sector. According to Anne Ndubuisi, leaders must reinstate the confidence of their people by constantly communicating and remaining connected with the people. The female lawmakers were further urged to reach the communities that are often ignored so that people will feel part and parcel of this process.

Cynthia also urged female lawmakers to take a step further to fight against gender-based violence in this era where women are confined with their potential abusers. She advised that hotlines where citizens can reach out to in case of any form of human rights violation of violence, should be made available.

Another participant at the webinar, Dr Ernest Ereke, Program Manager, of Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement urged lawmakers to continue their oversight functions on the executive to ensure accountability and transparency in all expenses related to COVID-19. He said, lawmakers must begin to engage the executive by asking for documentations on funds allocated and the various measures taken to fight the pandemic.

Senior Program Officer, Yetunde Bakare further shared important guidelines on taking legislative action on COVID-19, urging lawmakers to educate their constituents on the symptoms of the pandemic and preventive measures to reduce the risk of getting infected. According to Mrs Bakare, it is important to regularly check on the health and wellbeing of constituents during this difficult time. The guidelines also include the procurement and distribution of protective equipment and basic relief materials to alleviate economic hardship as constituents remain lock-down.

She advised legislators to reach out to their constituents via sensitization messages using various platforms like Television, Radio and social media platforms. Lawmakers were also urged to leverage on technology to share short videos to inspire hope and encourage constituents to follow preventive measures.

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25 Apr
0

COVID-19 Pandemic: Stakeholders Chart Pathways to Credible Elections

Election Stakeholders have expressed concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on upcoming elections and the extent to which decisions to hold or postpone elections are in tandem with legal frameworks on electoral governance. This is crucial because such decisions can strengthen or undermine the sustainable management of COVID-19 and its attendant contradictions. Governance of the pandemic must not in any way endanger constitutionalism, rule of law, and overall wellbeing of citizens.

 It is against this background that Yiaga Africa organized a webinar on 6 April 2020 to explore how best the country could respond to the COVID-19 pandemic vis-à-vis Nigerian elections. The webinar drew participants from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), academia, development partners, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The webinar provided an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on elections and devise mechanisms for averting any constitutional crisis that  could impact on the conduct of the Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections in the months of September and October 2020, and that may be prompted by the pandemic and government’s response.

Specifically, participants identified a lot of issues for consideration that can help in deciding whether to postpone the coming elections or not. In his opening remark, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Yiaga Africa’s Board Chair said, it was important for Yiaga Africa and election stakeholders to see the nexus between COVID-19 and elections, and to reflect on how it will impact on electoral activities going forward.

According to Dr. Abdu, the world needs to start planning for post-pandemic just as it planned for post-second world war by designing economic recovery frameworks and systems that can lead to a quicker recovery from this pandemic. He said financing elections will become a huge challenge. “Nigerians are already asking questions on how much is being spent on elections and the next couple of elections in the country will be affected terribly”, he said.

He further warned that the economic implication of the COVID-19 pandemic will see pockets of conflicts which can also impact on elections as the current lockdown is not allowing some of the stakeholders that are involved in response service to act while the government is not doing much to deal with these issues. “What happens post-pandemic should occupy minds, elections will play a very important role because people are questioning the economic framework that has governed the world in the last 40 years, people are calling for radical reforms”.

Another key speaker at the webinar, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, also shared his thoughts on how Covid-19 impacts the Elections and the role of stakeholders moving forward. Prof Ibeano cautioned that it will be a huge mistake to focus on the impact of COVID19 on the election without considering its impact on the democratic process generally. He said it is becoming apparent that unconstitutional powers are being assumed by government executives and administration in the name of fighting the pandemic leading to the increase in human rights abuses across the board which impacts democracy.

On how the pandemic has impacted elections, he said across Africa, several elections that have been postponed due to the pandemic. “In Nigeria, 4 senatorial elections have been postponed in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States as well as all local council elections across the country”, he said. According to him, it is not just about the longer-term impact but the likelihood of more postponement of elections in the future either because of the logistical issues arising from the aftermath of the crisis or just because governments do not want to hold elections.

“The cost of postponed elections and other elections for that matter; in the aftermath of this especially if countries like Nigeria takes a major economic hit from this, the cost of money will rise, the dollar will rise, the cost of imports will become very high and the initial projections that the Nigeria 2023 general elections will be a 250,000 billion naira election will fail if the country take a major hit from the pandemic”, he further warned.

Speaking from a legal perspective, Dr. Sam Amadi decried that the legal management of the crisis has been poor in terms of a clear legal framework. He warned that cynical leaders could destroy elections in the guise of dealing with the pandemic and more to this is the creeping authoritarianism which is almost intertwined with the management of pandemic.

“Nigerians are complaining about the illegality of some of the policies or interventions such as constraining movements and shutting down activities around the issues of democracy. We are going to see increasing crippling authoritarianism in which leaders will be compelled to govern without recourse to the law which will further erode democratic qualities of governance”, he said.

Director of Programs Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu called on the electoral commission to review its guidelines for the conduct of elections, leveraging on technology and taking the pandemic into cognizance. She said INEC must redesign its activities in collaboration with health sector experts.

Also speaking at  the event, Democracy and Accountability Coordinator of  the Nigerian office for Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), Catherine Angai said the conversation is critical, timely, and important as it will feed into what OSIWA will discuss with the heads of the West Africa electoral commissions. She said stakeholders must be practical and pragmatic within the given context, looking at what has happened in other places and taking into consideration some of the health requirements to hold elections within this circumstance.

Funke Baruwa, a good governance advocate, urged INEC to develop a strategy for engaging the elections, saying the commission must have an interim plan for upcoming elections during this pandemic. According to her, there is already the negative narrative that the government is using the pandemic to delay the democratic process and the commission needs to change the narrative.

Other contributors to the webinar include Journalist, Seun Okinbaloye who said, ahead of the Edo and Ondo Elections, Nigeria needs to start thinking about digitizing elections and using technology as a lot will no longer be the same after the pandemic.

COVID-19 offers opportunities for redressing noticeable contradictions in Nigeria’s governance architecture generally and the electoral processes. The Webinar on COVID – 19 and  the future of Nigerian Elections has established solid foundations for the provision of social services, which includes revamping grassroots governance, improving trust/confidence in the electoral processes and outcomes, addressing the usually high costs of elections, promoting sustainable electoral reform to consolidate democracy.

This requires adapting lessons from comparative international experiences, sustainable electoral reform in key areas such as the adoption of e-registration and e-voting, deeper collaboration between INEC, CSOs and other stakeholders, improve the quality of voter education, rethink federal-state relations with greater emphasis on consultation, cooperation, and collaboration, etc. All these must be done within a human rights perspective to governance and development.

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13 Apr
0

Webinar on Civic Leadership in the Post Pandemic Era

At the moment, the world is focused on reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Countries globally have instituted measures to curb the spread of the virus and to protect their citizens. Several countries have instituted mandatory lockdown and stay at home measures in a bid to minimize crowds and contain the spread of the virus. Hospitals are overwhelmed with cases of COVID-19 patients, and at the same time, they lack resources to manage the overwhelming numbers of cases. Globally, more than 1.3 million cases have been recorded with over 100,000 deaths. Economies around the world are struggling. People are losing their jobs, and governments are forced to come up with stimulus packages to minimize the economic impact of the situation on citizens.

Nigeria is not left behind, with over 300 cases confirmed so far. The Federal government has imposed cessation of movement in four cities including Nigeria’s capital, Abuja and Lagos the commercial capital. Only essential business is allowed to operate within a specified period. The majority of Nigerians operate in the informal market economy and rely on daily economic activities to thrive. The pandemic has no doubt led to a disruption of activities for both the private and public sectors. CSOs and well-meaning citizens are taking responsibility by using their platforms to amplify the directives of the Health institutions like NCDC and also to mobilize humanitarian support for less privileged.

No doubt, the pandemic will have grave outcomes for youth-led CSOs that rely on support from donor communities to thrive. It is against this background that Yiaga Africa in partnership with the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy is hosting host a virtual conversation on Civic Leadership in Post Pandemic Era for leaders of youth civic organizations. The objective of the conversation is to promote strategic thinking in organizational management and program development in a post-pandemic era. This conversation is for young CEOs, Executive Directors, Team leaders or leaders of youth CSOs, social enterprises and community-based organizations. Prof. William A. Brown from The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University will deliver the lead presentation.

REGISTRATION CLOSED

Only selected participants will be contacted. 

For more information, contact: programs@yiaga.org 


SPEAKERS


WILLIAM A. BROWN

Professor, Director of the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy, and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

William A. Brown is a professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and holds the Mary Julia and George Jordan Professorship. He serves as the Director of the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy. He teaches Nonprofit Management, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, and Capstone courses. He received a bachelor of science degree in education from Northeastern University with a concentration in human services. He earned his master’s and doctorate in organizational psychology from Claremont Graduate University. He has worked with numerous organizations in the direct provision of services, consulting, and board governance. He served on the board of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) from 2007-2012 and chaired the Education Committee from 2009-2011. His research focuses on nonprofit governance, strategy, and organizational effectiveness. He has authored numerous research articles, technical reports, and several practice-oriented publications. Examples of his work include exploring the association between board and organizational performance and developing the concept of mission attachment. Publication outlets include Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, International Journal of Volunteer Administration, and Public Performance and Management Review. He has completed an edited volume entitled Nonprofit Governance: Innovative Perspectives and Approaches (Routledge, July 2013) with Chris Cornforth. A textbook entitled Strategic Management in Nonprofit Organizations was published in March 2014 (Jones & Bartlett).

AMINA SALIHU Ph.D

Senior Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation Africa Office.

A consultant, farmer and feminist, Amina was a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Program Coordinator at the Centre for Democracy and Development, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and Coordinator, DFID / UKAid’s Coalitions for Change (C4C) Programme. She has been a consultant on communication, inclusion, gender and policy to numerous government and development partner and civil society organizations including INEC, Ministries of Women Affairs, Finance and Budget & Planning, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies; DFID, UN, EU; ActionAid International, International Alert, and FEMNET.  She was a gender technical team member, for the Nigerian government Vision 20 2020 process, and for the review of the National Gender Policy for Nigeria, 2006 and a gender strategy for Nigeria’s National Assembly.

Amina is a serial social entrepreneur who has created ideas and opportunities for accountability and human rights strategies in agro-enterprise, voice and advocacy for women, young people, and persons with disabilities. Amina is a past Chair of the Kaduna State Rehabilitation Board for Persons with Disabilities and is an honorary adviser to numerous governmental, private sector and civil society organizations on gender and policy. She was the FCT Chair, Advisory Group of the DFID Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) program. Amina was the pioneer co-Chair of the Board of Directors, and technical designer of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund for political participation. She is a member of the Governing Council of Ekiti State University (EKSU).

Amina writes regularly and has moderated, facilitated and participated in several panels and conversations on accountability and effective use of resources, women’s and girls’ rights and the environment both nationally and internationally including at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Amina received her B.Sc. and M.Sc from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Ph.D. from the University of Abuja. Amina has spent time at Aspen, the Universities of Cape Town, Sussex and Liverpool.  She is a mentor, keen volunteer, and traveler.

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29 Mar
0

House of Representatives commits to reforms in the youth development sector

As part of measures to invest more in youth leadership and development, the house of representatives committee on youth development has also vowed to take legislative action to provide a legal framework for youth development to fast-track the implementation of the new national youth policy. Through legislation and oversight, the committee will ensure the constitution of the National Youth Development Council, National Council on Youth Development as well as promote legislation focused on the Strategic Thrusts and Policy Benchmarks of the National Youth Policy 2019.

This was revealed by Chairman of house committee on youth development Honorable Yemi Adaramodu during a two-day retreat organized by Yiaga Africa with support of the European Union. During the retreat aimed at understanding the mandate of the committee as well as youth development in Nigeria, the chairman disagreed that youths were not in leadership positions because the country’s politics was monetized.

According to him, “power is never served a la carte. You cannot sit at home and expect leadership to fall on your laps. Leadership itself is not about legislation, it is about preparedness.”  He explained that youths could endear themselves to their communities by contributing to development.

“If as a youth you have been participating in community development activities and people have been seeing you mentoring the younger ones, when the time comes and you want to become a councillor or a chairman, it is those people that will queue behind you.

“But if you sit down somewhere and you have never been involved in community development and nobody knows you, you will pay to buy yourself identity. Nobody collects money from you if they know you,” he added.

The retreat also witnessed the presentation of finding of the 2020 Appropriation Act from the youth perspective and addressing the strategies and tools for effective legislative oversight on youth development policies and programs. During the presentation by Dr. Terfa Abraham from Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), he said that, leaving the budget to create jobs for youths as an auto-pilot will not work unless it is done through deliberate intervention i.e using programs to monitor and evaluate. Dr. Terfa further highlighted ways to ensure youth responsive budgeting.

Similarly, Dr. Jake Azumi, Senior Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) highlighted strategies and tools for effective Legislative oversight on Youth Development Policies and Programs. In his presentation, revealed that one of the most important things to note when dealing with youth development is that, youth have right and should not be trampled upon. He stated that, oversight is about checking, examining, criticising, ensuring, challenging, questioning and calling to account which makes it important to youth development.

In the wake of biting unemployment and poverty affecting youths, the House of representatives committee on youth development also called for the declaration of state of emergency on youth development in Nigeria. In furtherance of this, the committee has also resolved to take legislative actions to resuscitate Youth Development Centers across the country and promote vocational training to encourage youth entrepreneurship in the country.

This was contained in a communique released to the press at the end of a two-day legislative retreat in Lagos where the committee reiterated its commitment to fulfil its mandate of ensuring youth development across the country through legislative actions.

According to the communique released on Thursday, the 9-man committee chaired by Hon. Yemi Adaramodu Hon. Ari Mohammed Abdulmumin, the discussion focused on the fact that national development and integration is predicated on the youths who are the bedrock and building blocks of development, thus the committee will henceforth, deploy its legislative powers and functions to ensure that all national development  programmes, policies and projects accord priority to issues of youth development.

The committee also recommended an urgent need to ensure political inclusion of Nigerian youths in electoral and political processes as a catalyst for social transformation and national development. “To this end, the committee will leverage on the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act to advocate for amendments that guarantee the political inclusion of Nigerian youths”, it reads.

“That while noting the progress achieved through the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ law, there’s an urgent need to ensure political inclusion of Nigerian youths in electoral and political processes as a catalyst for social transformation and national development.”

“To this end, the committee will leverage on the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act to advocate for amendments that guarantee the political inclusion of Nigerian youths.

Particularly, the Committee may propose legislation for further reduction in the age requirement for the positions of governorship and membership of the Senate which were not reduced in the previous constitution review process amendment.”

They also lamented the unemployment and poverty rate saying it remains a huge problem affecting Nigerian youth. In this vein, the committee calls for an urgent declaration of state of emergency on youth development in the country. In furtherance of this, the   committee will take legislative actions to resuscitate Youth Development Centers across the country and promote vocational training to encourage youth entrepreneurship in the country.

 

Read Full Communique HERE

 

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29 Mar
0

Young Changemakers Write SUBEB, LGA Chairman Over Poor State of  Schools

Young Changemakers under Bounce Corruption have commenced monitoring of government projects in their communities to ensure budget impacts positively on the citizens. Having been trained on social audit, budget tracking and implementation, a cohort of young people under Kaduna Youth and Community Development Volunteers (Kaycdev) have written to the Chairman of  the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)  and Chairman of Kaduna South Local Government Area about the poor state of some  Local Education Authority Primary schools in Sabon Gari.

Kaycdev in partnership with Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and better health initiative (E-caph) lamented that the LEA school which served the community lacked furniture as pupils sit on the floor to learn. They also revealed that the school has leaking roofs and dirty environment which exposes pupils to environmental hazard.

In the letter sent to SUBEB the group consisting of young people in the community decried the state of the school calling for authorities to give it immediate attention. “If the contract has been awarded to whom and how much was awarded for the contract and when is the contractor intending to kick off with the project”, the group quizzes.

The Young cohort trained under Yiaga Africa’s Bounce Corruption project have also held a meeting with traditional leaders, religious leaders and youth groups in the community concerning the worrying situation of the schools. They have also escalated the situation on radio, calling on government at that level to provide a solution to the poor state of the schools. So far, as a way of feedback a Director at UBEC office Abuja, Alhaji Hassan, has visited the school to ascertain true situation of things for possible response to the situation.

Similarly, another group, Positive Youth Transformative Initiative in Yola North LGA Adamawa state have quizzed the budget of the local government saying it was designed in such a way that tracking and monitoring is difficult. This according to the initiative does not comply with International Public Sector Accounting Standards which is the acceptable practice of budgeting globally.

The team mainly consisting of young people subsequently met with the Director of Budget in Ministry of Finance and Budget, Mr. Barry A. Shaida to discuss on how to start the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards across the all 21 LGAs of Adamawa State. After the meeting, the Director asked for the duration of 4 weeks to enable him consult with his colleagues and subsequent action.

As part of effort to expand the scope of citizens demanding accountability, Kaduna Youth and Community Development  Volunteers (Kaycdev) in partnership with Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and better health initiative (e-caph) conducted a step down training for Civil Society Organisations, traditonal and religious heads amongst other groups in Kaduna state. Groups like Network for Community Advancement Empowerment (NCAE) and Ultimate Youth Forum of Ibaji of Kogi state have also conducted step down training for citizens.

 

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20 Mar
0

Covid-19 Amidst Shutdown of Nigeria’s Fragile Educational System by Ovinuchi Ejiohuo

As the world faces the global health crisis necessitating quarantines, self-isolations and shutdown of borders, businesses and educational institutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic threatening global economies and infrastructures, serious concerns begin to emerge about Nigeria’s already fragile educational sector.

According to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Nigeria, there are 13.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria. With 69% of the country’s out-of-school children in the northern part of the country according to the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the region is among the first to carry out the preventive measure of shutting down schools’ due to the global health crisis.

It is also important to note that 75% of the out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls, widening the gender gap further, frustrating girl child education and efforts to bring them to par with their male counterparts thereby trampling years’ worth of efforts to ensure gender equality and equity. Many of these girls now stand the risk of being married off in other to fend for their family and with the illusion that it will make them ‘useful’ in these lonely and isolated time if the pandemic continues.

There is also the concern of the written, graphic and audio visual contents on the preventive measures being shared on various mediums and channels by national and international relevant bodies such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and media outlets if it is understandable by children in primary and junior secondary levels in the country, let alone those in communities where tutelage in some percentage is carried out in their native parlance.

Following the announcement of the shot down of schools by the Abuja Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) due to the corona virus pandemic which takes effect on the 20th of March 2020, children at the community primary school in the suburban area of Kugbo where dismissed as they chanted the words;

corona virus’

‘we no go gree’

There has since been a nationwide shutdown of educational institutions at all levels including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme only eight days in.

The concern here is, how well do students in primary and secondary institutions understand in the simplest form what a virus really is? How to safe guard themselves from contracting the Covid-19 virus, what to do and who to talk to if they experience any of the symptoms? Where their teachers before time trained on how to disseminate such critical and sensitive information to them in an understandable manner to evade panic and mass hysteria?

There is also the greater concern for children who require special education such as those with autism.

Many international institutions and online learning platforms have transitioned to teaching and learning online. On the bright side, young people in different parts of the world especially those in places with high occurrences such as Italy are turning the situation around by learning life changing skills online and making efficient use of technology since many of these platforms have become free now that global understanding and solidarity is needed the most. But however promising this maybe, it poses several levels of challenges for young Nigerians.

First, there is the challenge of epileptic power supply or none at all in some regions to provide electricity that will power homes and learning devices such as smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. Tied to this is the issue of high cost of internet data and poor service by network providers in the country who now might be forced to reduce the quality of service due to the outbreak.

The crown of it all is the existing poverty situation in the country. Many families and students will not be able to afford basic needs such as food and clean water let alone the expensive gadgets or resources to sustain them for proper learning.

Following all these concerns, there is never more a time for Nigeria to look to sustainable means of providing quality education and well-meaning individuals, organizations and policies across sectors that will ensure the continuation of learning in the country, ensure gender equality, protect human rights and safe guard human health for posterity’s sake.

Ovinuchi Ejiohuo is a writer, filmmaker, photographer and activist currently working as a Media and Communications Officer/Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador for Yiaga Africa with a background in Microbiology. He tweets @oviidaniel

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20 Mar
0

Lawmakers Commit to Youth Leadership and Development

A Communique Issued at the end of a 2-day Legislative retreat of the Committee on Youth Development, House of Representatives held at Legend Hotel, Lagos state from 18th-19th March 2020.

Members of House of representatives committee on Youth development after a 2 day retreat in Lagos

The House Committee on Youth Development organized a 2-Day capacity and agenda setting retreat on the 18th -19th March, 2020 in Lagos State. The retreat highlighted the mandate of the Committee which includes: ensuring youth development across the country
through legislative actions, liaising with appropriate Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for youth development, monitoring the effective implementation of the national youth policy and providing oversight on all agencies responsible for youth
development. At the end of the retreat the Committee resolved as follows;

Hon Makwe making a remark during the legislative retreat

1. That national development and integration is predicated on the youths who are the bedrock and building blocks of development. On this note, the committee frowns at the negative perception and stereotyping of young people. Against all odds, Nigerian youths are making very useful contributions to national development. With this in mind, the committee will henceforth, deploy its
legislative powers and functions to ensure that all national development programmes, policies and projects accord priority to issues of youth development.

2. That there is no legislative framework for the implementation of the new National Youth Policy 2019. Therefore, the committee will take legislation action to provide a legal framework for youth development to fast-track the implementation of the new national youth policy. Through legislation and oversight, the committee will ensure the constitution of the National Youth Development Council, National Council on Youth Development as well as promote legislation focused on the Strategic Thrusts and Policy Benchmarks of the National Youth Policy 2019.

3. That unemployment and poverty remains a huge problem affecting Nigerian youth. Accordingly, the committee calls for an urgent declaration of state of emergency on youth development in the country. In furtherance of this, the committee will take legislative actions to resuscitate Youth Development Centers across the country and promote vocational training to encourage youth entrepreneurship in the country.

4. That the committee will ensure the inclusion of Nigerian youth in the design of youth development policies, programmes and projects.

5. That while noting the progress achieved through the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ law, there’s an urgent need to ensure political inclusion of Nigerian youths in electoral and political processes as a catalyst for social transformation and national development. To this end, the committee will leverage on the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act to advocate for amendments that guarantee the political inclusion of Nigerian youths. Particularly, the Committee may propose legislation for further reduction in the age requirement for the positions of governorship and membership of the Senate which were not reduced in the previous constitution review process amendment.

6. That the committee will intensify its oversight on youth development to promote the social, economic and political inclusion of the young people of Nigeria.

 

SIGNED
Hon. Yemi Adaramodu Hon. Ari Mohammed Abdulmumin
Chairman, House Committee on Youth Development Deputy Chairman, House Committee
on Youth Development
Hon. Omowumi Olubunmi Ogunlola Hon. Amobi Yinusa Akintola
Hon. Bala Kokani Hon. Kayode Akiolu
Hon. James Owolabi Hon. Igbakpa Benson Rollands
Hon. Ayeni Lawrence Babatunde Hon. Abiola Makinde
Hon. Makwe Livinus Hon. Usman Abdullahi
Hon. Sani Maruf Hon. Armayau Abdulkadir
Hon. Kolawole Lawal Hon. Richard Gbande
Hon. Shina Peller

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Youth Organizing School
20 Mar
0

Deadline Extended!- Youth Organizing School

Yiaga Africa invites young community and youth activists between the ages of 18 – 30 years for its 7th annual Youth Organizing School (YOS) a program under its Community Organizing Institute (COI). The objective of YOS is to empower young people for effective community and political organizing, and policy advocacy for social change.

The Youth Organizing School is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Washington DC with an aim to strengthen the leadership, technical and institutional capacities of youth activists and youth organizations. 

For seven-year, Yiaga Africa through its Youth Organizing School developed special training modules to build a new generation of community organizers across West Africa with the capacity to drive social change and transformation. The school combines the theory and practice of organizing in building the capacity of young activists, youth organizations leaders and young leaders. Every year, the city of Abuja plays host to 35 to 40 entry-level community organizers and young leaders who receive training on direct action organizing, leadership, policy advocacy, non-violent change, storytelling and public narrative, coalition building, community mobilization, and digital organizing. Youth Organizing School is a place to learn how to build strategic capacity by mobilizing people to use their collective power to solve social problems. Over 240 young women and men from six African countries have benefitted from this program. 

This year, YOS encourages the participation of youth leaders from political parties and civil society.

ELIGIBILITY 

Applicants must be

  • A community or youth organizer or a registered member of a political party 
  • 18 – 30 years of age; 
  • Fluent in English;
  • Committed to travelling to attend the Youth Organizing School and attend all five days of YOS.
  • Have an Instagram account.
  • Applications are open to Nigerian citizens resident in all 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.
  • Participation is also open to eligible applicants from West African countries and Cameroon who possess valid travel documents.
  • Female applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to apply.

TO APPLY

  1. Complete the application form
  2. Record a 1-minute video with clear sound stating why you should be selected to attend the Youth Organizing School. Upload the video on Instagram and tag @yiaga on Instagram.

The application starts: 29th February 2020

Application Deadline Extended to 14th April 2020

Apply Now


For further enquiries, kindly contact Efemena Ozugha on (+2348130557662) or eozugha@yiaga.org  or Ibrahim Faruk on (+2347037879209) or fibrahim@yiaga.org 

To learn more about Yiaga Africa visit www.yiaga.org or social media pages @ Yiaga on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin

To learn more about the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) visit www.ned.org

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