2021: A Year of Evolving Beyond Our Limits

2021: A Year of Evolving Beyond Our Limits

2021: A Year of Evolving Beyond Our Limits

Dear Friends,

As the world began its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2021 was one in which we built on the strides made in the previous year in strengthening citizens’ voices in our democracy, learning better organizing and demanding for justice. We continued to build on the surge of activism and community organizing through which we broke boundaries in 2020. This year, we focused on strengthening our communities through organizing, advocacy, and capacity building. Together, we were able to break boundaries and create impact through our various initiatives that defined our milestones this year. Our 2021 story tells us of how we evolved beyond our limits through being intentional and resilient in politics, governance and civic spaces.

This could not have happened without you as your partnership, solidarity and support enabled us to reach our goals.

You made our year a success and here is our story.

Mobilizing Citizens’ Actions against Obnoxious Legislations

The work of the legislative arm of government in enacting laws that will enhance development is a critical part of our democracy. However, it is also important that such laws are clear in their purpose and do not infringe on the rights of citizens. It is with this in mind that Yiaga Africa through its Centre for Legislative Engagement with the support of the Luminate Group engaged with the National Assembly on the review of the excesses of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 ahead of a potential amendment to the law. It also supported a public hearing on the Public Health Emergency Bill 2021 to allow for stakeholders and the general public to make recommendations to enrich the proposed bill aimed at establishing a comprehensive legal framework to manage health emergencies in Nigeria.

Mobilizing Stakeholders for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls 

The year 2021 was a significant one in our advocacy for the elimination of violence against women and girls in Nigeria. Through the Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls which is supported by the United Nations and the European Union, we have been engaging with stakeholders such as lawmakers, legislative staffcivil society organizations, gender rights advocates and government agencies. These engagements have provided us the opportunity to review the implementation of laws intended to protect women and girls, seek means of strengthening legislations, and advocate for using government budgeting as a tool to end violence against women and girls. We also scored a win through this advocacy as Adamawa State became the 17th state to sign the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act into law, which means that women and girls will be better protected.

#EndSARS: Sustaining Advocacy for Justice for Victims of Police Brutality 

In the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests against police brutality last year, the Federal and state governments agreed to set up panels of inquiry in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory to look into cases of police brutality and offer justice to the victims. As part of ensuring that the panels delivered on their mandates, Yiaga Africa in partnership with EnoughIsEnough deployed citizen observers to attend the sittings of the panels in states where they were set up. We also released periodic reports of the observations as well aa policy brief on the panels of inquiry with recommendations to provide information, promote transparency and accountability and build citizens’ confidence in the process. Additionally, we continued to demand that states that were yet to set up these panels do so to provide citizens with an opportunity to seek redress for police brutality and find justice.

Setting an Agenda for Citizens-Driven Electoral Reforms

With less than two years to the 2023 general elections as well as numerous off-cycle elections prior to that, it is critical to implement electoral reforms that will guarantee free, fair, inclusive, transparent and credible elections. Through the #FixElectionsNG campaign, Yiaga Africa mobilized citizens and stakeholders to drive the conversation on electoral reform. We engaged the Committees on Electoral Reform at the National Assembly on citizens’ demands to be included in the improved Electoral Act that was under consideration at the National Assembly. We also engaged the National Assembly on ensuring appointments to the Independent National Electoral Commission were made in line with the constitutional requirements. Additionally, we engaged with the Independent National Electoral Commission on how to improve citizens’ access to polling units in order to increase participation in elections and published a policy brief as a guide. In two roundtable meetings, we brought together election stakeholders to reflect on the electoral reforms and the use of technology in elections in order to explore how to strengthen electoral laws and procedures.

Strengthening the Capacity of Citizens for Elections Observation

Through our Watching the Vote initiative trained and deployed 527 observers to observe the Anambra State Governorship election from the pre-election phase to the deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) on election day and post-election audits. We remained committed by providing knowledge on the elections with our pre-election reports. These reports also served as early warning systems, identified potential flashpoints and provided recommendations to all election stakeholders to contribute to the relatively credible and peaceful governorship elections in Anambra state. We also provided immense support to the National Peace Committee for the signing of the Peace Accord to further mandate major political actors on peaceful elections.

Shining A Light on Local Government Elections

In 2021, Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote initiative executed landmark projects focused on local government elections, including feasibility studies on the challenges and prospects of local government elections in Nigeria,  with Oyo and Lagos States as case studies. It also engaged with election stakeholders in these states with a view to improving the local election processes in the states. Additionally, we observed the local government elections in Lagos State from pre-electionelection and post-election audits.

Bounce Corruption: Building an Engaged Community of Citizens Demanding Accountability 

Promoting the principles of integrity and accountability in public institutions is an important aspect of the fight against corruption in Nigeria. By providing citizens with requisite information and tools to hold public officials accountable and to lead the war against corruption and impunity at both local and national levels, Yiaga Africa through the Bounce Corruption campaign continued to build a community citizens demanding accountability from leaders at different levels. We leveraged radio broadcasting for effective anti-corruption campaigns and public outreach by working with our radio ambassadors in anti-corruption programmingcapacity buildingadvocacy, and learning. We also promoted the values and principles of integrity and accountability among students and young people through the Bounce Corruption University Debate, and also established Anti-Corruption Clubs in the participating universities.

Creating Platforms for Engagement on Youth and Gender-Focused Delivery in States 

In order for laws and policies that are intended to deliver youth and women development to be effective, there is a need for engagement between policymakers, youth and women groups and the government agencies that will be implementing youth and gender-focused projects. It is in this light that we implemented the Youth Organizing and Leadership project in 2021 together with ActionAid Nigeria and with the support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Through this project, we organized a policy dialogue and meeting on the National Youth Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021 which is currently before the House of Representatives. We also facilitated policy dialogues in youth and gender responsiveness in state budgeting in five states across the country, providing opportunity for engagement between government officials and youth and women activists in the states.

Building the Capacity of Young Emerging Leaders

It is important to increase the proportion of young people in governance as part of making Nigeria’s democracy more inclusive. It is also important that more young people with the competence, character and capacity are elected into government in order to bring new ideas that will reform and improve governance. Since the passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun Act, more young women and men are taking bigger steps to run for elective office, which has reflected in the increase of young people in government and in leadership of state houses of assembly. As part of inspiring and preparing young people who intend to run in the 2023 elections, Yiaga Africa and the #NotTooYoungToRun Movement organized The Convergence 3.0 for young women and men from the South-West that will be running in the elections. For two days, about 200 young people listened to and engaged with inspiring speakers from diverse sectors on values-driven leadership, ideological politics and how to run successful campaigns.

Yiaga Africa also launched the RunToWin campaign to provide support for competent young women and men running for office, equipping them with the capacity needed to run issue based campaigns, win elections and provide responsive leadership. The RunToWin project has begun to transform the outlook of youth candidates contesting for elective positions in area council elections the Federal Capital Territory by providing a platform for youth candidates to gain visibility that will increase their chances of winning through engaging with the public. This will also enable the public to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the youth candidates and make informed decisions on who to vote for in the February 2022 elections.

Creating Platforms for Engagement on Youth and Gender-Focused Delivery in States

In order for laws and policies that are intended to deliver youth and women development to be effective, there is a need for engagement between policymakers, youth and women groups and the government agencies that will be implementing youth and gender-focused projects. It is in this light that we implemented the Youth Organizing and Leadership project in 2021 together with ActionAid Nigeria and with the support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Through this project, we organized a policy dialogue and meeting on the National Youth Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021 which is currently before the House of Representatives. We also facilitated policy dialogues in youth and gender responsiveness in state budgeting in five states across the country, providing opportunity for engagement between government officials and youth and women activists in the states.

Community Organizers

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic limited our ability to hold our annual Youth Organizing School   which was established eight years ago to build a new generation of community organizers across West Africa with the capacity to drive social change and transformation. In the second quarter of 2021, we took 40 entry-level community organizers and young activists from Nigeria, Cameroon and The Gambia through seven weeks of online lectures, discussions and reflections with in-house and external facilitators in order to equip them with leadership and organizing skills to build citizens’ movements in their communities. Through the first virtual Youth Organizing School, the participants learnt the theory and practice of organizing to build strategic capacity by mobilizing people to use their collective power to solve social problems.

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Engaging Students on Civic Participation

The numerical superiority of the youth population in Nigeria is underscored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 Registered voters’ list which puts the percentage of youth registered voters at 51.11% of a total voter population of 84,004,084 million. With the commencement of the Continuous Voter’s Registration exercise in June 2021, Yiaga Africa in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) visited two major university campuses: the University of Abuja and the Federal University of Technology, Minna to engage with students on youth participation, civic activism, active citizenship, national unity, human rights and political participation. These engagements had over 360 students in attendance who not only promised to get registered and vote, but to also encourage their friends and networks to do the same.

Mobilizing Stakeholders for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls 

The year 2021 was a significant one in our advocacy for the elimination of violence against women and girls in Nigeria. Through the Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls which is supported by the United Nations and the European Union, we have been engaging with stakeholders such as lawmakers, legislative staffcivil society organizations, gender rights advocates and government agencies. These engagements have provided us the opportunity to review the implementation of laws intended to protect women and girls, seek means of strengthening legislations, and advocate for using government budgeting as a tool to end violence against women and girls. We also scored a win through this advocacy as Adamawa State became the 17th state to sign the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act into law, which means that women and girls will be better protected.

Supporting the Government on Vaccine Management for COVID-19

In the year 2021, the world turned a new page in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic as vaccines to prevent the spread of the virus became more readily available. These vaccines are critical to slowing down the spread of the virus, thus allowing for global recovery from the pandemic. As Nigeria made preparations to take its first delivery of vaccines in order to better protect citizens, we developed a policy brief that explored the challenges and prospects of vaccine rollout in Nigeria and offered recommendations on how to achieve equitable access to vaccines. We also held a webinar on COVID-19 vaccine management in Nigeria where strategies for distributing the vaccines across the country were discussed and the policy brief was publicly presented.

Click HERE to Read our publications for the year

We created magic through storytelling in our documentaries and videosHERE
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
United Nations
United Nations Development Programme
United States Agency for International Development
United States Embassy in Nigeria

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