As part of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC)’s Expanding Political Participation of Women in Nigeria, PLAC with the support of TrustAfrica and Ford Foundation proposed to collaborate with policymakers, which include legislators, influencers and opinion shapers to embark on a study visit to Senegal to learn practices and share experiences on strategies for successful inclusion of women in governance. The delegation met with the National Assembly, the Ministry of Women, Gender and Family, the National Observatory on Parity, Article 19, the Senegalese Lawyers Association and OSIWA. The expected outcome of this study tour was to increase awareness among policymakers and stakeholders on the gains of women inclusion in governance. The study visit took place in Dakar, from Tuesday 31st July to Thursday 2nd August 2018.
Nigerian women, despite constituting a significant part of the country’s general and voting population, continue to be marginalized in the governance and political structures of the country. For instance, in the current 8th ;National Assembly, only 21 women occupy seats in the House of Representatives while only 7 occupy Senate seats. With women occupying less than 5% of the country’s federal legislative seats and few key appointive positions, a prompt intervention is necessary.
Recognizing that the law on parity placed Senegal at the forefront globally in terms of women representation and one of the most stable countries in West Africa, Senegal is prime example of a country Nigeria can learn practices from and share experiences on strategies for successful inclusion of women in governance. This study visit was towards examining likely reforms to be undertaken to achieving the same in Nigeria. Senegal was identified due to its status as a West African country with successful efforts in ensuring increased numbers of women in key political and governance institutions (in particular, the parliament).
It is in this regard that in addition to the one-on-one meetings with different organizations and Senegalese Government officials, TrustAfrica organized a roundtable discussion on Thursday August 2nd with the theme: Where are we now, lessons learned and way forward to create an opportunity for interaction with many more actors involved in the promotion of parity in Senegal and hear about their perspectives on the future. Are we now satisfied with the parity in Senegal? What are the lessons learned throughout the journey which the Nigerian delegation can also take home as they work towards the same? This was also an opportunity for Senegalese actors to network and reflect on plans going forward.
2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. This provides a unique opportunity for people around the world to reflect on his life and times and to promote his legacy. In 2018 the Nelson Mandela Foundation will seek to create appropriate platforms for such engagement.
Nelson Mandela established the Foundation as his post-presidential office in 1999. As he stepped away from public life he gave us a robust social justice mandate in the areas of memory and dialogue. The Mandela Day campaign was introduced in 2009 as a tool for the world to honour him by interpreting his legacy in the contexts of working to meet the needs of local communities.
As part of its support towards the implementation of the Open Government Partnership in Nigeria, TrustAfrica is partnering with civil society organizations in South East Nigeria to build capacity, networks and state level engagement. This project on ‘Promoting transparent and accountable governance in South East Nigeria states through enhanced non-State actors/civil society organizations participation’ is being implemented with the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC).
The Kiisi Trust Fund is a donor-advised-fund managed by TrustAfrica in Nigeria. The Trust Fund, which had its genesis in the environmental rights struggle of the Ogoni peoples in the 1960s, is a grantmaking fund dedicated to the benefit of the Ogoni people in Rivers State, and gives out small grants for education, health, community development, skills development, women’s programs, environment, and other benefits for the Ogoni people and their communities.
On Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 the Kiisi Trust Fund hosted the first ever Clean Air Summit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in partnership with Environmental Rights Action, Centre for Human Rights and Development, Suburbia 180 Foundation, and Citizens Information and Development Initiative, with the aim of creating a template for a systematic, coordinated, result oriented and science-based approach to dealing with the black soot air pollution in Rivers state. Since 2016, residents of Port Harcourt, Eleme and other adjoining towns and villages in Rivers State, Nigeria have observed an increase in the daily blanketing of the atmosphere of an oily soot compound, causing serious source of concern to the 5 million people who reside in the state.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) is implementing a Vendors Voices Project that is creating opportunities for policy engagement between Bulawayo City Council and informal traders. The project is funded by Trust Africa.
TrustAfrica is currently hosting a ‘Meeting on Enhancing convergence of the media and civil society in collaborative efforts towards combatting Illicit Financial Flows from Africa’, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 28th and 29th June 2018, and in collaboration with Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Zimbabwe Alliance recently started a public polling initiative dubbed Voices of Zimbabwe. The initiative seeks to continuously and empirically gauge Citizens’ mood of a consistent pool of respondents via WhatsApp from which we develop nice infographics for publicizing online. The polling results are meant to help inform policy and programming in Zimbabwe.
Meet Vision Africa: CatalyzingCitizensAgency #lamTheCitizen
Planting bananas in potholes. This symbolic and comic campaign by Vision Africa made a splash not only on Twitter, but in the city of Kadoma as well - the potholes were filled the very same day by city officials. Vision Africa is counting on this type of innovation to encourage young people in Kadoma City to get involved in local governance and be a part of improving their communities. Vision Africa’s latest program #IamTheCitizen is taking a step further to equip “youth….[to] be a part of the solution not the problem” Program Coordinator, Ellaine Manyere said in a local story in the Statesman Zimbabwe newspaper. “It is high time we work as the youth to build the nation we want”. This kind of innovation, in parternship with ZimbabweAlliance, will not only get young people registering to vote, but voting, running for public office and becoming the co-creators of solutions to their communities’ challenges.
Meet Savanna Trust: Transforming Communities Through the Arts
- What is the role of citizens in ensuring good governance?
- How do we respond to the human rights violations, particularly abductions and harassment of human rights defenders and citizens in our communities?
- How do citizens speak to the abuse of state power and resources by politicians?
Savanna Trust’s flagship play “Liberation” is leaving an important footprint on citizen dialogue around issues relating to human rights, governance and democratic participation in Zimbabwe. These are just a few of the discussions happening post performances. The theatrical backdrop invites critical feedback from audience members on these national processes and perspectives on how they can play out in their local communities.