Step Up Nigeria at One: A year of discovery and impact

It has been a year of learning and impact for us at Step Up Nigeria. We started Step Up Nigeria because we identified the regressive consequences of poor governance and corruption to Nigeria’s development and we wanted to contribute towards solving this problem.

In the past twelve months, we have focused on building the bridge between citizens and government by; improving citizen’s understanding of governance, shaping important conversations on topical areas and empowering young people to become active voices in the fight against corruption.

We have launched three initiatives within one year of existing and they include: Catch Them Young Initiative (CYI), The Citizen Watchdog Initiative (CWI) and Podcast series. Under CYI, we have been able to educate over 1500 children on issues of corruption, justice and fairness. However, what we consider our real impact is not in the numbers but in the evidence of knowledge successfully transferred, embodied by children and translated into their own words as they have become our champions in the fight against corruption.

We remain grateful to our partners, donors and team who make our work possible. At the heart of our initiatives, Step Up Nigeria really remains a family and our team helps to ensure that the work of the family continues. We began this journey with some amazing people and in their own words, here’s what some of them have to say about the past year

 My Journey with Step Up Nigeria – Feranmi Adeola, Programme Associate

I resumed work with Step Up Nigeria on the 2nd of July, 2018 as the first staff and I worked alone for a week feeling unsure because the work areas were new and challenging. I accepted this challenge, eager to hit the ground running and started off with handling the communications for the organisation.

From the start, we knew we wanted to be a creative team tackling pressing issues with innovative solutions, so we started work on our citizen’s watchdog initiative almost immediately. This work was focused on rural communities in Kogi and Nasarawa states and I was assigned to Nasarawa state where I worked and interacted with the women of Garaku village, industrious women who produce black soap for sale. It was inspiring to see so much dedication amidst the lack of basic amenities in their community.

Our initial advocacy to schools was met with skepticism; some head teachers were unsure of the work we intended to do and whether they wanted their school to be part of it. Some of them asked “Why is your NGO doing this? Do you want us to buy books from you? What is your gain in doing this?”. One school even threatened to sue us, but regardless of these challenges, we pushed forward. We have launched two children storybooks which seek to educate children on the negative impact of corruption and how to be persons of integrity. In this way, we are grooming the next generation to be future leaders who will act with integrity.

Step Up Nigeria has granted me immense learning opportunities in the past twelve months. In my role as host of the podcast series, I have interacted with several industry leaders and young change makers in and around Nigeria. Every week, I channel discussions around corruption and service delivery in Nigeria with other amazing guests on the show.

So far, my highlight has been an invitation to speak on a youth panel at the African Union Youth Congress Against Corruption (AYCAC) in December 2018. At that same event, I received the Presidential Award as the West Africa Anti-Corruption Youth Ambassador. In April 2019, the UNODC also invited me to speak at the ECOSOC Youth forum in New York on the influence of Education for Justice tools in boosting anti-corruption education in Nigeria.

I am grateful that Step Up Nigeria gave me the platform to do work that changes our society for the better and allows me grow at the same time. I have seen myself grow immensely along with Step Up Nigeria from day one and it has been inspiring for me. It has been an interesting and most fulfilling journey for me thus far, and I am excited to continue the good work going forward on a larger scale and with more impact.

The impact so far – Ibukunoluwa Ijaopo, Programme Associate

One year went by so quickly because it seems like yesterday was June 2018, when I was getting interviewed to be employed as a Programme Associate in Step Up Nigeria. Today I am super excited about all the opportunities joining this organisation has availed me. It is usually said that “great minds think alike” and this explains why the coming together of young and productive minds has been able to achieve so many great feats in just twelve months.

I have always been interested in political issues, governance process as well as issues on tackling corrupt practices in Nigeria. The major bane to any society achieving its full potential is corruption and so when I got the opportunity to work at an organisation tackling these issues in Nigeria, I was very excited. By working at Step Up Nigeria, I have received an education on the challenges of corruption, the importance of the audit report, my rights as a citizen of Nigeria, the freedom of information and other issues surrounding good governance and policies.

Step Up’s Nigeria’s unique approach to use value-based education to reach the younger generation is one that remains exciting to me. Our Catch Them Young Initiative (CYI) uses storytelling to educate Nigerian children on the ills of corruption and its impact on the society and so far, we have reached over 1,500 students.

The Citizen’s Watch Dog Initiative (CWI) which I manage aims to increase citizen participation in the audit process in Nigeria. In the past year, we created a user-friendly guide of the 2016 audit report alongside a short video to show key highlights from the report. This work was done with the backing of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF).

In all, it has been a learning curve working here and I look forward to more opportunities and crossing more milestones with Step Up Nigeria in the coming year.

What We Are Excited About by Adenike Bamigbade, Programme Associate

Indeed, I believe that no one can stop a woman with a dream. Step Up Nigeria was only a bubble in the mind of one woman but today, one year after, has become a name synonymous to impact and value reformation.  

I joined Step Up Nigeria two weeks ago, as a Programme Associate working in Lagos State. The past two weeks have been full of activities, planning, and meetings. This is how Step Up Nigeria works, there is always a lot happening but you are never made to feel alone. The other team members have been a strong support system easing my way into understanding how the organisation works and sharing their stories with me. So, it is okay to say two things make Step Up Nigeria stand out; excellence and family.  These two things are ingrained in the lifestyle of everyone. It is part of the culture, a culture wound naturally by itself and held together with bonds of friendship and respect.  

Step Up Nigeria is reforming minds, creating hopes and building a new Nigeria with zero tolerance for corruption and a hunger for better governance. We are creating a new way of thinking that is liberating and essential for a better future. Hamzat, Favour, Success and all our other beneficiaries are a new breath of air to the society as our young anti-corruption champions engaged in 30 schools and at the IDP centres across the states we have worked in.

I am happy that Onyinye Ough and her team at Step Up Nigeria are dreaming big and working relentlessly to ensure that Nigeria is recognized for excellence, honesty, and integrity. We are excited about what lies ahead. 

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Yes, indeed. We are all excited about what lies ahead. Here’s to another year of growth and deeper impact.