Yiaga Africa started a program to educate young civic leaders from Nigeria, Cameroun, The Gambia, Ghana & Liberia about community organizing. They adopted the program from the Leadership, Organising, and Action curriculum from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
There were about 40 people who participated in the program which is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Cynthia Mbamalu, Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs on Monday, May 9 stated that one of the major problems of developing countries like Nigeria is leadership. Mbamalu made the comment while delivering her welcome remarks at a community organizing training for young civic actors and leaders in West Africa held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
She also stated that Yiaga Africa initiated the program because it believes in change through organized effort. Her words:
“One of the major problems of many developing countries is leadership. If we get leadership right in Nigeria, we will have solved 80% of the problem.
“A leader should often reflect on themselves, who they are, their values. That is why we make sure reflection is a huge part of the community organizing institute.
“We believe that if we want to make any positive change, we need to work together and be guided by certain shared values and principles.
“For us, we have a bias for young people because we started when we were very young and beyond just believing that the youths are the future of tomorrow, we believe that we are the leaders of today and you can only build tomorrow, today.
“That is why the community organizing program is very important to our work and it is very central to the work we will be doing.”
The program which will last for four days is expected to equip the participants with the requisite community organizing, political organizing, and advocacy skills needed to engage the government at different levels, especially to influence reforms and increase youth participation as candidates in political parties.
On the first day of the program, the resource persons include Jaye Gaskia, an activist and development sector professional with over two and a half decades of experience, and Dr. E.E Okorodudu, Head, Democracy and Good Governance, ECOWAS.