REPORT OF A THREE-DAY TRAINING ON DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUTH IN NORTH WEST NIGERIA
ORGANIZED BY ORGANIZATION FOR COMMUNITY CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (OCCEN) WITH FUNDING SUPPORT FROM NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY NED WASHINGTON DC BETWEEN 16TH – 18TH NOVEMBER 2021 AT TAHIR GUEST PALACE, KANO
The Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) with funding support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) organized the three day training with the aim of building the capacity of young people from Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, and Zamfara states on democracy and civic engagement so that they may return to their respective states and communities and continue the cause. Participants were also trained to push for and ensure compliance with the rule of law and the principles of human rights across all strata of governance. A total number of 40 participants from Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara came for the training.
The training started with an opening prayer from a volunteer, and then followed by self introductions by all the participants and the OCCEN team. The OCCEN ED Abdulrazaq Alkali took over to give a welcome remark and an overview of strengthening youth political participation in Northwest Nigeria. The objective of the programme is to strengthen the capacity of the youth to demand for good governance and accountability.
Aqibu Hamisu, lead for Kano DDN chapter gave a brief introduction or background of the Democracy Drivers Network. It was introduced to expand the democracy principles through inclusion of the youth in the democratic process. Its objectives includes promoting political transparency & accountability and strengthening networking among the democratic drivers. Josephine Omajari gave them a pretest to evaluate and ascertain their level of understanding of the concept of democracy, political pluralism, human right and rule of law; they wrote down their expectations from the training and submitted with the pretest.One of the resource persons Ibrahim Waiya The president of Kano civil society forum was introduced by the ED. He presented the concept of civil society and their role in society. Then Kabiru Dakata the second resource person presented on The Concept of Advocacy and CSO Media Engagement. He defines advocacy as
- The promotion of a specific message and/or course of action in order to influence or contribute to the development and implementation of public policies which will alleviate the causes and consequences of poverty.
- Speaking out in order to influence policy, decisions, attitudes and the behaviour of those in power on behalf of, and with, poor and marginalised people, in order to achieve positive and lasting social, political and economic change.
- Is a set of targeted actions directed at decision makers in support of a specific policy issue
Purpose of advocacy
- Changes in:
- Asking for new laws or policies
Criteria for Selecting an Advocacy Issue
The problem is easily understood.
• How feasible is it to address the issue? (Politically, financially, socially)
• How important is it to solve this issue?
• How urgent is it to solve this issue?
• The issue is consistent with the group’s values.
• Working on the issue helps build alliances with other groups.
• Reliable data are available to support advocacy efforts to address this issue.
• There is at least one policy solution to address the barrier.
Developing an Advocacy Goal
- An advocacy goal is the long-term result (3–5 years) of your advocacy effort; it is your vision for change.
- An advocacy objective is the short-term goal (1–2 years) that contributes toward achieving your advocacy goal.
- An advocacy objective should be SMART and can also include other elements
Identifying and Analyzing Stakeholders
- Identify relevant sectors and organizations.
Note: stakeholders aren’t “MDAs.” List specific people in specific units.
• Think beyond the sector (Health, Education, Agriculture…)
CSOs Media Engagement
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Public Awareness
- Capacity Building
How CSOs can properly engage media
- Familiarity with the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of CSOs
- Context/Content provision
- Making media part of CSOs` networks
- Capacity building opportunity
- Sponsor programs through collaboration or by discount
- Make better use of social media
One of the participants gave a recap of the previous day topic, followed by presentation by the prof. The topic for the day were
- Concept of Democracy
- The concept of Political Pluralism
Democracy is the most popular system of government in the world today.Whether in its liberal or socialist form, democracy is directed at peoples’participation in the art of governance.
A good democracy legitimated regime that completely satisfies citizens (‘quality’ in terms of ‘result’) (Marlino, 2005).
- The term ‘democracy’ originates from the Greek words, Demos (people) andKratia/Kratos (Power); meaning, peoples’ power or a form of rule by a section of the populace as opposed to the rich or the autocrats.
- Democracy is a limited government in which the peoples’ power is the central overriding variable in the election and recall of leaders, in the intent and purposes of government, and in protecting and safeguarding the interests of all and sundry, whether in the majority or minority political divide.
- It is the form of government in which the ruling power of the state is vested not in a particular class or classes but in the members of a community.
- Democracy is different from a civilian rule in various aspects of governance as well as its forms and content; however, the prime mover of democracy lies in civil rule.
- On the one hand, democracy thrives on enabling ethos, practices and institutions that are fully or virtually matured so that continuity, through fair play, debates, compromise and opposition, is guaranteed.
- On the other hand, there may be a civilian rule in a country without the necessary condition for democracy to thrive.
Types of Democracy
. DIRECT DEMOCRACY
- Direct democracy places all power in the hands of the individual that make up a society.
- Political decisions are made by the assembly of all members of a polity through vote casting.
- Each person is treated as equal and Eich person is given a chance to directly influence the policy making process.
- This type of democracy was in practice in the days of Greek City states because of the relative sizes of the existing principalities.
- Applying a direct democracy framework in modern type of political environment is quite difficult.
- In this type of democracy, intermediary political actors between the individual and the state are established
- Through the electoral process, one person or a group of people are elected and engaged with the task of making decisions on behalf of people that they represent.
- In other words, there is the existence of political parties, periodic elections, respect of the rule of law, transparency and accountability in governance and the principle of equality before the law, among other important indicators.
- It is important to note that in-between the two poles of democracy, there is also what some people consider the third type of democracy.
- This is called Social Democracy in the sense that it promotes that idea of using the principles of democracy to change a capitalist country to a socialist one.
- The system also refers to countries that uses both capitalist/liberal and socialists (communists) practice of democracy.
HOW TO MEASURE THE PROGRESS OF DEMOCRACY IN DEVELOPING SOCIETIES?
- How powerful the people are
- How free the people are; and
- How secure the people are.
The day started with a recap of the previous day topic by one of the participants. Then the first resource person Professor Zun nurain took the first topic titled Concept of Human Right and Rule of law.
- The phrase „Rule of Law‟ is derived from the French phrase „la principe de legalite‟ (the principle of legality) which refers to a government based on principles of law and not of men.
- Rule of law is one of the basic principles of the English Constitution and the doctrine is accepted in the Constitution of U.S.A and India as well. The entire basis of Administrative Law is the doctrine of the rule of law.
- Today, the Rule of Law is the foundation of good governance. This requires adherence to constitutional supremacy, recognition that government and the governed are equal before the law, acknowledgment that government itself is limited by the law and cannot engage in any arbitrary exercise of power, and recognition that individuals are endowed with certain inalienable rights that cannot be denied even by legitimately constituted governments.
What is Rule of Law?
- It means that no man is above the law and that every person is subject to the jurisdiction of ordinary courts of law, irrespective of his rank and position. “Rule of Law‟ requires that no person should be subjected to harsh, uncivilized or arbitrary treatment. Rule of law is associated with the word “law‟ which means that man or a society must not govern by a man or ruler but rather than they must be govern by Law.
- The expression “rule of law” explains a state of affairs in which everything must be done according to law. It is a state of affairs in which there are legal barriers to governmental arbitrariness and there are available legal safeguards for the protection of the individuals. In simple words, it is the reverse of tyranny, the antithesis of the rule of anarchy and fear.
Principles of Rule of Law
- According to Prof. Dicey, rule of law has three means or we can say three principles which are must be followed so that there will be supremacy of rule of law:
- Supremacy of law: The rule of law requires both citizens and governments to be subject to known and standing laws. The supremacy of law also requires generality in the law. This principle is a further development of the principle of equality before the law. Laws should not be made in respect of particular persons.
2. Equality before Law: The second principle emphasizes everyone, including the government, irrespective of rank, shall be subject to the same law and courts.
3. Predominance of Legal Spirit: the rule of law is that the general principles of the constitution are the result of judicial decisions determining file rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the Court.
Then Abdurrahman Abdu State Steering Committee member, Kano OGP took us on the concept of Good Governance and Open Government Partnership. Then the OCCEN ED took us on the concept of civic engagement and networking. He urged the participants to be good ambassadors of democracy in their respective communities and used what they have learnt in promoting democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Then Josephine gave them the post test to see if the training has improved their knowledge on the topics. Aqibu gave the closing remarks and wished everybody safe trips back to their respective states.
Workshop Evaluation: Pre & Post Assessment
In order to ascertain the value of the workshop and its positive impact on the participants, two assessments were made on the level of participants’ understanding of the issues discussed before and after the workshop. Tables “a” stands for before the workshop and table “b” stands for after the workshop. Below is the outcome of the assessment.
Table 1a : Rate of understanding of Civic Engagement before workshop.
Table 1b. Rate of understanding of Civic Engagement after the workshop
Figure 1a. Rate of understanding of democracy before the workshop
Figure 1b. Rate of understanding Democracy after the workshop
Table 2a. Knowledge about political pluralism before the workshop
Table 2b. Knowledge about political pluralism after the workshop
Figure 2a. Rate of understanding the Electoral process before Workshop
Figure 2b. Rate of understanding Electoral process after the Workshop
Table 3a. Knowledge about Open Government Partnership (OGP) before workshop
Table 3b. Knowledge about Open Government Partnership (OGP) after workshop
Figure 3a. Understanding of Universal Human Right before workshop
Figure 3b. Understanding Universal Human Right after workshop
Table 4a. Understanding Rule of Law before workshop
Table 4b. Understanding Rule of Law after workshop
SECTION II OF WORKSHOP EVALUATION
A. Relevance of workshop content
B. Comprehensiveness of training content
C. Ease of understanding training content