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ImpactHouse Centre for Development Communication
Block 11, Philkruz Estate, Off Jabi-Airport Road, Dakibiyu District, Jabi, Abuja, Nigeria.
+234 818 6112 665
Communication studies have identified inadequate strategic communication skills, unwillingness of citizens to engage in democratic debates, and unawareness of the consequences of political apathy, resulting in distrust between the citizens and the government.
A lot can be said of methods to enhance and stimulate citizen participation in governance, but the pro-democracy protests and uprisings in Africa, particularly in the last 11 years, have brought the aspect of civic technology into sharp focus as a tool to help strengthen democratic processes and promote inclusive decision-making through citizen education and mobilisation.
Civic participation and good governance; gender equity and justice; education and human rights; and media and civil society development.
At the heart of all communication lies the critical ambition to reach an audience. Communication by governments and state institutions has never been simple, as it involves complex matters that are not easy to comprehend. Moreover, with a broad and diverse audience to reach, the task can be daunting.
Therefore, strengthening citizen participation in Africa has become an increasingly important aspect of democratic development especially as it has to do with mitigating setbacks arising from poor governance. Development studies have always emphasised the importance of community participation in development and civic issues.
To deliver development messages to citizens regardless of their level of education and location. The goal is to simplify complex development messages for the everyday Nigerian to easily understanding and take necessary action.
Yes. So much is happening within the development space in Africa. However, there is no uniform understanding of development messaging.
Data from opinion surveys organised by the United Nations (UN) across a broad range of developed and developing countries show a decline in trust in most government bodies due to failure by governments and public institutions to adequately convey what they do on behalf of the people they serve through development communication.
In the most recent Afrobarometer survey, roughly two-thirds of Africans believe their government is doing a poor job of improving the living standards of the poor and in fighting corruption in the country.
Using development communication tools to map the progress of SDGs and other social development projects stands out as a key priority for development communication seeing that 2030 is just eight years away.
Another key area for development communication is the education of citizens on rights, development projects and impact of such projects, as enlightened citizens will contribute value and support to the development process.
Development communication can also be used to monitor public opinion on social development issues and projects. The data from this can be used to develop communication strategies to boost citizen support and participation in social development projects.
African citizens have discovered and weaponised social media as an instrumentality to put some pressure on governments for development and good governance. For example, in 2008, Kenyan civil society successfully deployed crowd-sourcing technologies to map out post-election violence in the country in the same year. This contributed greatly to informing the mediation efforts that brought an end to the violence.
Another example is the wave of the revolutionary protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, beginning from December 2010. Smartphones and social media platforms were credited with facilitating an organising structure that outpaced the governments that tried to suppress the protests.
Similarly, the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, led by youths without any formal leadership structure or mentoring, was fully fueled using social media. The #EndSARS hashtag first appeared on Twitter in 2017 before famously becoming a social movement in the country in 2020, as young citizens used social media to report the now-defunct SARS abusing their powers and victimising citizens.
The explosive power and use of social media for activism and advocacy highlights the need for guided citizen participation to ensure civil actions and protests remain civil. For example, the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria were eventually taken over by hoodlums, ending in the infamous Lekki killings. The rise of disinformation and misinformation on social media only makes more sacrosanct the role of development communication in guiding citizen participation and the dissemination of updates in governance and development issues.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s current broadband penetration as at June 2022 stands at 44.30%, with more than 84 million internet subscriptions in the country. “This had earlier increased from 77,605,500 million Nigerians connected to the Internet in April 2021, and up from 40,481,570 million in April 2017”, the NCC record read.
Also, a recent survey by the Africa Polling Institute (API), titled “Skit Economy: An Assessment of Digital Content Creators in Nigeria”, found that more than 120 million Nigerians watch skits on social media.
Therefore, we adopted skits because millions of Nigerian users of social media platforms consume them; and they do so intentionally. For some users, watching skits is a daily ritual.
Citizen Sauti Ukweli. He is the only Professor of Political Sense from the Street University of Nigeria and the people’s voice of truth from the Nigerian tribe of Africa. Sauti Ukweli is a Swahili name which means the sound of truth.
ImpactHouse CfDC chose Sauti Ukweli strategically to move away from any religious, tribal and ethnic bias or stigma.
Digital media platform (Development Diaries), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), and Transit
Please visit www.impacthouse.org.ng to view latest reports and skits on our website. You can also access our work via our digital media platform, Development Diaries, and our social media channels
Development Diaries is the signature project of ImpactHouse CfDC. We launched the project as our pioneering approach to journalism and media for development (M4D) in 2013. ImpactHouse CfDC made that move as the traditional media had not done as much as was effective to genuinely accelerate the pace of development in Africa. This new model of journalism does not merely widen the press, it deepens it by offering existing media houses new approaches to adopt as they adapt and contribute to accelerating the pace of development in Africa.
Development Diaries proudly operates a self-styled advocacy journalism, a genre of journalism that transparently promotes factual analysis, issue-based campaigns for social, civic and humanitarian purposes across the African continent.