Building bridges to tackle corruption through a community of integrity champions, towards improved service delivery in Nigeria…
February was quite an eventful month for us. We hope you had a good month! Over the past few weeks, we have launched a new virtual reality film, educated first-time voters about the power of their vote and the dangers of vote-selling, engaged with local politicians to promote collective action between them and their communities for improved service delivery, and raised new anti-corruption champions. Also this month, the long-awaited 2023 general elections held on the 25th of February and our first-time voter integrity champions changed the narrative of vote-selling in their communities. Here are some highlights from our activities.
ABIKE’S STORY: A VIRTUAL REALITY FILM
This month, we launched a new storytelling tool to educate first-time voters, politicians and government officials on the negative impact of vote-buying and selling and on the need to demand and deliver good services in communities. Abike’s Story is a virtual reality film that tells the story of the impact of vote-buying in elections on the lives of people in communities. Fun fact: It was actually produced in under 14 days!Abike’s Story was produced with funding support from Palladium-SCALE (Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement) project and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We enlisted the creative team at Basement Animation, to bring the film to life and here it is! The film is split into two parts, watch here for the first part and here for the second part. It is best enjoyed with virtual reality headsets, but in the absence of them, kindly pan on YouTube for a 360° experience. Please share your reviews with us.
HALIMA’S VOTE LIVE ACTION FILM IS HERE!
Your favourite storybook now has its own short film. Introducing the live action version of Halima’s Vote. It was shot in Kurunduma village near Asokoro in the Federal Capital Territory. In this version, we have the Thatch House Drama Troupe and community members re-telling the compelling story of a woman who changed the future of her community by stopping vote-buying. A must-see! Click here to watch.
EDUCATING FIRST-TIME VOTERS TO SHUN VOTE-BUYING
This month, we visited three new communities in Lagos state (Ago-Egun, Ogbowankwo, Maba) and two in Nasarawa state (Agunji and Ichaswa communities) where we educated over 170 first-time voters about the impact of vote-buying in elections using Abike’s Story. Many first-time voters realised the power of voting their conscience, and pledged to shun vote-buyers as they cast their vote for the first time.
EMPOWERING FIRST-TIME VOTERS TO DEMAND BETTER SERVICE DELIVERY
We held a capacity building session for 120 sensitised first-time voters in Lagos and Nasarawa states in preparation for the 2023 general elections. The purpose of the session was to increase the understanding of first time-voters on the power of their vote; to educate them on how to lead the campaign against vote-selling, and to empower them to demand better service delivery from those elected by them. The first-time voters watched Abike’s Story which taught them how to demand better service delivery and to hold their leaders accountable. They also received training on leading their community advocacy from leadership expert, Dr Akin Oke, and tips on the voting process by representatives from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
HUSTINGS & VIRTUAL REALITY FILM SCREENINGS WITH LOCAL POLITICIANS
We are creating platforms for collective action between first-time voter integrity champions & politicians on improving the delivery of services to their communities. Through a number of election hustings between first-time voters and incumbent/aspiring politicians representing their communities, commitments have been made by politicians to resolve specific service delivery challenges plaguing their communities. The politicians were also sensitised to stop vote-buying and to deliver good services through Abike’s Story. They signed commitments to provide good services and to meet to review progress with community representatives.
ELECTRICITY RESTORED TO A COMMUNITY IN DARKNESS THROUGH THE ADVOCACY OF FIRST-TIME VOTER INTEGRITY CHAMPIONS
For 10 days, the people of Shogbesan community lived without electricity after their transformer was vandalised. Comrade Margaret, together with the Step Up Nigeria team, and a few community members, visited the office of the aspiring candidate for Lagos State House of Assembly, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1. There, Comrade Margaret talked about the poor services in her community, showing evidence of the vandalised transformer and asked what the aspirant would do about it if they voted for him. The aspirant made commitments to fix some of the issues with an action plan, which he shared. Through their advocacy, the news reached the incumbent, and the transformer was fixed, restoring power to their community.
PODCAST EP.79: HOW FIRST-TIME VOTERS ARE LEADING THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST VOTE-BUYING IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
Our first-time voter integrity champions have worked tirelessly to educate their community members about the dangers of selling their votes. On this podcast, we had two first-time voters from the Akeleku-Sidi community in Nasarawa state who shared how the training from Step Up Nigeria helped them to shun vote-buying and demand good services from their leaders. Click here to listen.
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