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Yiaga Africa Launches Constituency Internship Program

Yiaga Africa Launches Constituency Internship Program, Trains Interns & Aides for Better Constituency Relations Management

As part of efforts to improve relations between legislators and their constituents, Yiaga Africa has launched a Constituency Internship Programme that will place interns in constituency offices of 37 federal legislators across the country to manage constituency relations for a period of 3 months.  This was disclosed at the launch of the Constituency Internship Programme and the commencement of a two-day training programme for the interns and legislative aides to build their capacity on how to improve engagement and relationship between legislators and their constituents. The training, which was in partnership with the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and supported by the European Union through the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), covered topics such as ‘Understanding the Roles, Functions and Power of the Legislature’, ‘The Roles of Legislative Aides in Managing Constituents’ Expectations’, and the Instruments and Methods of Constituency Engagement. Speaking at the launch of the training, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo said the internship programme and training is inspired by the need to see better engagement between the lawmakers and the constituents. “The Internship period is designed to build the capacity of young Nigerians through direct understudy of the running of Constituency offices, legislature-constituent relations and legislative engagement,” Itodo said. Also speaking at the training, the Chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach, Hon Bello A Kaoje said that the National Assembly is happy with the training, adding that it will give better understanding between the constituents and the lawmaker. “The experience and exposure that you will gain at the conclusion of this capacity training workshop will enhance your individual ability to serve as efficient research assistants in your respective constituency offices and also participate in the legislator’s constituency office activities. “It important to state that as the first batch of this training that the future success of this program depends on your adequate feedback mechanism from various constituency offices that will encourage continued support from Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement with the support of the European Union and their ability to give the time and energy to promote it,” Kaoje said. The interns and aides were also trained on how to use the Constituency Engagement Manual, a comprehensive guide developed by Yiaga Africa and NILDS on how legislators can engage better with their constituents. They were also trained on how to use the ‘How To Engage My Legislator’ manual, which is designed to empower citizens with the knowledge and skills on how to better engage their legislators. The interns were also shown how to use the reporting template in the Constituency Engagement Manual as well as the template for their internship reporting, which is to guide them on how to write their report by the end of their internship. The training ended with a closing ceremony attended by the Director-General, NILDS, Prof Abubakar Suleiman and the Programme Manager, Democracy and Rule of Law, Democracy, Governance and Migration Section, European Union, Laolu Olawumi. Speaking at the closing ceremony, Prof Suleiman highlighted the importance of the legislature as symbolising political representation which is at the core of any democracy.  “Constituents elect and confer on their representatives the power to make decisions on their behalf, either at the National Assembly or the State Assembly. This is a relationship of trust as the elected representative holds the duty to reflect the peoples’ wishes in legislative activities and decision-making.” He also explained that this relationship is strengthened when constituents are also well-informed about the duties of legislators and are able to hold them accountable. He charged the interns and aides to apply the knowledge that they gained during the training to improve the relationship between the legislators and constituents, and to strengthen the constituency offices as an effective channel of communication between the legislators and their constituents.  

About

Yiaga Africa is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement. With its operational base in Abuja, Nigeria, Yiaga Africa focuses on in-depth research, providing critical analysis on key democratic and governance issues, crafting practical solutions, training and empowering citizens to lead change in their community. Yiaga Africa implements several innovative programs aimed at stimulating active citizenship, protecting human rights and deepening democratic governance. We invest in building networks and social movements to drive social change and transformation. Yiaga Africa has leadership structures and members in all 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Nigeria.