Yiaga Africa Trains 40 Community Organizers in Lagos to increase Youth Political Participation
As part of efforts to increase youth political participation, Yiaga Africa held a four-day training aimed at equipping 40 young men and women on direct action organizing, leadership, advocacy, storytelling and public narrative, coalition building, and community mobilization. This training termed ‘Community Organizing Training’ is part of the TurnUp Democracy project which is supported by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth, Development Office (FCDO) to equip them with relevant skills to effectively engage stakeholders, increase youth participation as candidates and effectively lead public campaigns.
Yiaga Africa Board Member Ezenwa Nwagwu who opened the training enjoined the participants to seize the opportunity to learn the necessary skills that will make them more effective organizers and activists.
He added that this was the time for a paradigm shift in how governance was done in Nigeria and as young people, they are well-placed to apply their individual and collective efforts towards transforming the country into a real democratic nation, where there is leader – citizen relationship and not the present master – subject relationship.
He said, “We need a paradigm shift for young people who have a sense of entitlement, who believe that things should be brought to them on a platter of gold, who build a cult around themselves, rather than doing something that will impact the society.”
In her remarks, Yiaga Africa Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu said that the Community Organization Training is aimed at building young leaders so that there will be an increase in youth participation and youth voter turnout in elections in Lagos State.
“For democracy to work, we must all be hands-on towards its achievement, and that is by actively participating in politics and engaging our leaders for good governance,” she told the budding organizers.
She went on to encourage the participants to discover their identities in terms of who they are, what they are called to do and their values, as that will enable them to be able to remain steadfast in their quest to effect change.
“If you know who you are, you cannot allow a bad system to change you, rather, you would leave the system or group. Young people have the freedom of defining themselves. Names give us an insight to who we are but we have the power to give ourselves new identities that reflect our values and purpose,” she said.
The four-day training featured various sessions by staff of Yiaga Africa and external facilitators on how to build a democracy that works, the power of community, how to organize and how to build leadership teams, amongst others.
The training is aimed at ensuring an increase in youth political participation and engagement in Lagos State by increasing the capacity of community organizers, civic activists and young members of political parties.
At the end of the training, all 40 participants pledged to step down the training for their peers and their communities. They also all admitted to realizing the need for an active participation in politics, while a few declared their intentions to run for public office.
The Community Organizing Training is an initiative of Yiaga Africa under its Turn Up Democracy project aimed at empowering citizens with information and tools for civic engagement, thereby enhancing the quality of their participation in democratic processes at all levels.
The training ended with the participants carrying out a community outreach on the streets of Lagos where they engaged with and encouraged citizens to register in the Continuous Voter Registration exercise.