Thoughts on social activism – moving forward

Thoughts on social activism – moving forward

Social activism is gradually becoming part of our political landscape in
Nigeria. A large part of it, though, is still being “transacted” on the
“pages” of social media and largely concentrated in urban settings.

To be really effective, social activism has to go beyond the “pages” of
social media to the street level and embrace the dust and the mud of the
trenches of life in communities.

I want to share a few thoughts on such a needed engagement and how it can
proceed and progress.

1. Charity begins at home.

2. Change yourself first and move away from a culture of blame game
and a posture of self-righteousness.

3. Blame games are the domains of expertise of party political
propagandists and party activists who seek to advance gains for specific
political parties.

4. Social activists seek to create the enabling conditions which make
gains and sustainable change possible for people and communities.

5. Such enabling conditions can be created at the policy, strategic,
state, LGA, community and grass-root levels.

6. Action driven and results focused social activism is effective when
it can mobilise and empower people to demand and leverage change at the
level of governance closest to their everyday lives.

7. The LGA is the level of governance that is closest to the
grassroots activist

8. Only very few people in the LGA ever use Twitter, so choose another
medium if your mean to reach them.

9. There is abundant evidence that Interpersonal Communication is very
effective for behaviour change! So, go talk to people at the LGA.

10. When you talk to them at the LGA, speak their language, get to their
level, unpack things and use a medium that is accessible to them

11. Change can start from the LGA level.

12. But you can only get that change at the LGA level by working at that

13. Accountability and good governance can start from LGA level and work

14. Political education of community members gives them the capacity and
confidence to ask important questions.

15. Political education of community members gives them the capacity and
confidence to demand their rights.

16. Political education is different from propaganda, indoctrination and

17. Propagandists almost invariably eventually lose their credibility as
message sources with community members.

* *

*Things you could do *

1) Tell people in your LGA to ask questions about the LGA allocation.

2) Call the attention of people in your community to sector budget
allocations at LGA level.

3) Get your village community to discuss the services they are getting.

4) Get community members in your LGA to demand value for money in

5) Explain to your community members, including public servants, the
meaning of New Public Management (NPM).

6) NPM is about services, accountability, cost effectiveness,
inclusiveness and beneficiary participation.

7) Get community members to demand accountability from the LGA
chairman and councillors.

8) Get LGA chairmen and ward leaders to demand accountability from the
state governor and the commissioners.

9) Get your community members to demand improvements in Primary Health
Care provisions.

10) Discuss with the current Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality Rates
(IMR and MMR) with your community members, and if these are high, explore
the underlying and structural reasons for such high IMR and MMR. Map out of
action to address this with them.

11) Get people to demand improved access to water and sanitation at
community level.

12) Discuss with your community why achievement levels in schools are so

13) Sensitize your community to demand the formation of community
development committees with clear accountabilities.

14) Work with them to see that there is balanced and broad representation
on these committees.

15) Support your community to develop its Community Development Plan
complete with a costed implementation plan.

There is a lot to be done in raising awareness and galvanising action at
the LGA and state levels. Over-concentration at the federal blinds us to
this fact.

The masses await social activists to come to their help in the struggle
against powerlessness and poverty.


culled from:


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