Nigerian youth advocates take a stand for education
Over the years, young people have shown their passion and capacity to bring about change through different advocacy measures. In Nigeria, the upcoming elections further provide an avenue for young people to innovatively ensure education is a top priority on the agenda of political candidates.
With this in mind, Connected Development and Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) convened a one-day advocacy training in Abuja for members of the National Youth Coalition on Education and other youth activists. I was among 40 youths who attended, including eight Global Youth Ambassadors for A World at School and six workshop facilitators and presenters.
Objectives of the training
- Ensure youth are aware of the current state of education in Nigeria and inform them of their role as the strong voices in accelerating the attainment of education for all
- Train and expose young people to global, regional and national best practices on engagement initiatives around education advocacy
- Discuss young people’s role in promoting accountability and transparency in the implementation of education policies
- Agree on the Coalition’s activities for 2015 and the way forward
- Craft advocacy messages to be submitted to political aspirants on the kind of education young people want in 2015 and beyond
- Promote the #Thumbsup4education, #UpForSchool and #EducationinCrisis campaigns.
Youths: the need to be heard – an introduction led by Ojonwa Deborah Miach (AWAS Global Youth Ambassador), who highlighted strategies of achieving an effective training on advocacy and informed participants about the outcomes. One was to present young people’s demands and stance on the kind of education they want in 2015 and beyond to relevant stakeholders.
Sessions at the training day Picture: Facebook/Connected Development
State of education in Nigeria – Chioma Osuji policy adviser CSACEFA italked about this and the important role young people have to play in holding the government accountable and ensuring they have a say in the creation and implementation of education policies. Breakout sessions, plenaries and presentations by representatives were structured to ensure young people were fully aware of the role they have to play in ensuring education for all.
Other sessions include: Role of youths in fostering Education for All, by Joseph Emmanuel, Director Youth Initiative for Sustainable Human Development in Africa; Introduction to advocacy and Advocacy strategies by Hamzat Lawal, Director Connected Development; Crafting advocacy statement to political aspirants by Purpose Iserhien.
Seizing an opportunity
I had the opportunity to meet seven other Global Youth Ambassadors from Nigeria for the first time – Ojonwa Deborah, Happy Zirra, Atinuke Lebile, Charles Ichide, Damola Morenikeji, Gethrude Charles and Purpose Iserhie. We organised an impromptu meeting after the training to make plans on how to collectively make their voices heard as GYAs in Nigeria.
The training has motivated me, deepened my advocacy plans and strategy for my community and country – starting with my immediate participation in carrying out assessment on the state of education in a camp of Internally Displaced Persons who are victims of Boko Haram, facilitated by CSACEFA.
It is also currently helping my ongoing advocacy plans to mark World Read Aloud Day and International Women’s Day on March 4 and 8 respectively.