5 Days. 20 Change Enablers. One Possibility. Our New Nigeria
As part of a targetted effort to make sure that the #EndSARS protest does not go by the way of previous protests in Nigeria, and ensure emerging youth leaders are resourced with the skills and capabilities to lead local change; Citizen Commons International an Abuja based non-profit supported by Voice recently hosted a team of 20 high potential social action leaders from 14 states across Nigeria to a week-long #SocialJusticeAcademy dubbed Community Change Enablers Bootcamp. The intensive 5 Day residential training was designed to empower and introduce the leading youth change enablers to the art of social change through advocacy, community engagement, and social innovation. This Bootcamp offered as part of our 2022 #SocialJusticeAcademy is delivered as part of our #FromProtestToAction project designed to benefit emerging young social action leaders, particularly those who emerged from the #EndSARS protests movement in Nigeria.
The participants are active youth leaders who were competitively selected from a pool of over 600 nominations from leading civic society organisations, community leaders and activists community across Nigeria; they came from 14 states around Nigeria, representing different organisations working around health, education, social justice, law, citizen engagements, youth leadership and more, they have collected over 34 years of experience working with the social impact sector and were carefully selected for their roles in the 2020 #EndSARS protests as organisers at varying stages in the social impact leadership journey. Each participant brings to the Bootcamp an unprecedented passion to see a New Nigeria with historic participation or led initiatives that are geared toward one form of social change or the other.
The Knowledge – Equipping the next generation of social change leaders!
For five days, the youth leaders were actively engaged through facilitated discussions, group discussions, keynote presentations and on a number of topics.
Here are some of the key Highlights:
The Bootcamp resident facilitator Olalekan Oshunkoya of Citizen Commons led the discussion on the impact, lessons and gains of the #EndSARS protests, kickstarting the conversation from three different media coverage of the protest with three different narratives, from the different perspectives of activists, local and international media as well as policy leaders, the session provided a grounding for the participants to reflect of the participation in the #EndSARS protest as well as their reasons for supporting the protest and commitment to organise. They also discussed the reasons they supported the #ENDSARS protest with each enabler talking about the brutality they, their friends, and families have experienced at the hands of the disbanded SARS. It was a touching moment for the enablers as some lost friends whose bodies have still not been found. We gained insights into the type of motivations for social actions, the power of social movements, how social movements emerge, the power of collective action for organising for change, the dynamics of social change and more importantly the need to be intentional when organising in other to achieve the intended outcome.
The session on “My Nigeria, Your Nigeria, Whose Nigeria?” facilitated by Foye Omole presented an opportunity for the enablers to confront their own bias as well perceptions about what it means to be Nigerian and how history, culture, ethnic orientation and even religion affects our standing on the subject. This session provided additional context into the difference between Nigeria – the nation our parents lived in and Naija – the nation we are currently experiencing as youths, identifying between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ and the accompanying reality that represents both generations. It was an enlightening interactive session for the enablers as they discussed extensively the #Nigeria they wanted. The conversation also explored how religion, ethnicity, and social have limited Our Nigeria and the way forward. The conversation also discussed how religion, ethnicity and politics has limited the realization of ‘Our New Nigeria’.
My picture in Nigeria’s Future – Stories of Impact – The Community Enablers had the opportunity to share their community projects (and in some cases organisational). It was illuminating as these enablers took turns pitching about their organizational projects which were around education, political participation, Good governance, Gender equality, social justice, domestic violence and challenges they have faced in their present work and the ones they can foresee in their new projects. Ideas were exchanged and potential solutions were offered by these leaders to enablers who are facing difficulty in implementing their ideas. Enablers shared three promises (potentials from their works and three pains/challenges) and together we explored ideas and options and pathways to dealing with these.
Seun Durojaiye, editor of SocialVoices facilitated a session on “Effective Communication and Social Change: Tools, tactics and Methods”. She shared topical ideas, methods and tips on communicating effectively for social change as well as using digital tools to amplify their works to bring about more visibility and create awareness among different stakeholders and audiences.
Also one of Nigeria’s leading social impact leaders Oluseun Onigbide the Founder of budgitng joined the session on “Beyond Passion: The Business of Social Good. He shared deep and practical thoughts on how to turn passion into purpose and grow a sustainable social change organization in Nigeria. Illuminating from his personal story and growth journey of BudgIt, he shared key tips on navigating the many challenges as well as opportunities within the Nigerian social sector. He shared the importance of resilience, determination, building strong partnerships and leveraging relationships, and staying laser-focused. He also gave the enablers tips on managing challenges such as funding, sourcing critical information, and managing unfriendly government interaction. We also had a practical team session discussing the importance of the Mission Model Canvas tool
On the fourth day, we had the pleasure of welcoming Seyi arowosebe from Citizens_gavel shared on the topic “Social Change and Law: Navigating the Legal Frameworks and challenges for Social Changemakers in Nigeria.” Mr Seyi’s session highlighted how the law can be used as a shield as well as a sword for social changemakers’ effort to pursue reforms and accountability. It presents an in-depth analysis of the types and benefits of incorporating with CAC, the legal frameworks that protect activists, compliance, and legal consideration in board formation and in using the digital space for advocacy as well as offline
Also, Gideon Olanrewaju of AreaiAfrica facilitated the session on “ Partnership Works: Strategic Stakeholder Engagements”. He shared extensively about his personal journey and the key principles and practice of building successful partnerships as well as how a mission and vision statement can be coined in a way that targets the interest of relevant stakeholders. He highlighted the benefits of stakeholder mapping, identifying who and what stakeholders want, what they have, and how to use to drive engagement and strategic planning to achieve short, medium and long term project and organisational outcomes.
In another very interactive session, Mr Segun Fatudimu of ImpactTool Box and SOZO networks shared a session on Resource Mobilisation of Social Impact. This session provided our enablers with the key tips and insights on identifying and leveraging key resources for their projects. Sharing extensively on the practical considerations of accessing financial and nonfinancial resources, preparing grants, accessing donations, building people resources as well as seeking social investments, and resources for building sustainable social impact organisations and projects. He emphasized that the main goal of resource mobilization is ensuring that the key and absolute focus should be on the impact.
We also had Mr Solomon Okedara of Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative Sharing on “Going Global, Staying Local: Practical tips and guidelines on maximising the global social Justice Ecosystem for local Impact. He shared exciting tips on how everyday social action targetted at local impact can propel global attention in scale most changemakers never expected.
The weeklong learning ended with a special session of the Youth Conversation for New Nigeria – a special town hall meeting on to get the opinion and thoughts of young Nigerians on the future of Nigeria, the enablers joined the public event and other conversation participants to share their ideas for #NewNigeria.
Nothing for Us Without Us!
Sharing feedback on their learnings from the Bootcamp, the enablers were excited to join the Bootcamp and grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and access resources to advance their social action journey:
Charles Atat, a digital skills trainer who travelled from Portharcourt to join the Bootcamp, remarks that “ As youth leaders, we must take responsibility for Nigeria we want to see, and that effort must be intentional, we must organise ourselves and collectively resource the birthing of a new future, I am grateful for this opportunity to acquire new skills to be able to do just that, we have been doing something and we will continue to do more”
Also, Juliet Okeiyi a community mobiliser working in gender inclusion and open government, from Owerri further emphasized the importance of action and engagement, she remarked “we have to look beyond protests and take strategic actions that lead to strategic results, and I am happy to attend this training to get resourced to further participate and engage in their social action leadership in my state and beyond.
Damilola, another female enabler from Osun State further reinforced this when she remarked that “ as a student leader, the highlight for me is knowing that change can happen beyond protesting on the streets but also making intentional efforts and mobilising my peers through my organisation to empower the next generation, we have been effectively left to find solutions to unemployment, poverty by ourselves and we must do something, I am glad I now have additional tools in my resource bag to continue this work”
Additionally, John Olla from Oyo State commented that “change is a process and we must celebrate little wins to activate bigger outcomes, I have been empowered, challenged and motivated in the past week and I am energised to take the learnings from this week to amplify our work in Oyo State and beyond, we know a New Nigeria will come in our lifetime because we are here now and doing our bit to make it happen”
For Mahmud Mohammed, another enabler from Minna Nigeria State; “I have been a victim of SARS brutality and I have been propelled to support the campaign because injustice melted out to me should not be experienced by other youths, we must continue to do our best to ensure we sanitise the system and pressure government to do the right things, these past few days have been revealing, it has further exposed me to some of the new ways I can scale my work and stay on this mission, We will not relent”
The Community Change Enablers is a learning journey, and this cohort of our enablers will be supported over the next three months with mentorship, continuous capacity building through virtual convening and engagement as well as their engagement as Conversation Moderators for our YANN Conversation in their states.
The CCE BootCamp and Social Justice Academy ins part of the #FromProtetsToAction project funded by Voice.