44 Nigerian participants from 21 states from the six geo political zones of Nigeria and one international participant from Montserrado, Liberia converged in Calabar, Cross River state for CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship between 23rd and 26th February 2016 at the Mirage Hotel, Calabar.
CANVASSITY is an innovative youth centric program designed to increase the capacity of youth to effectively engage and support government institutions deliver impactful governance, raise efficiency and improve accountability. Inspired to encourage young people to be more complimentary of government and not to be always critical, the program received 168 applications from interested youth, from which only 45 were selected from Nigeria and Liberia to attend the first semester of the training.
During the 4 days program, participants went through 10 sessions covering topics like: understanding democracy; blue ocean engagement, the art of public governance, maximizing citizen’s engagement, how technology and social media is shaping governance among others. They also engaged in debates and group works and competitions.
On day 3, participants were grouped into teams and assigned to 10 government institutions in Calabar for a half day internship, to experience how government works, their impact, their challenges as well as possible ways of collaboration with citizenry. Institutions that hosted delegates include: Ministry of Health, Ministry of works and Housing, Ministry of International Donor Corporation, Ministry of Information and Orientation, Ministry of New Cities Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Land and Urban Development, Department of Due process and Price Intelligence, Calabar Urban Development Authority and Office of Heads of Service.
Speakers included: Kingsley Bangwell – Team leader, Youngstars Development Initiative International, Abuja; ‘Sola Fagorusi –Programs and Media Manager, Onelife Initiative for Human Development; Bulus Dabit – Plateau State Director General National Orientation Agency and Francis Ekpo – Commissioner of Marketing, Calabar Carnival Commission.
After semester 1, each participant is required to conduct a step down to at least 40 youth in his or her community within an 8 weeks’ timeline. Each participant is also required to work with an artist to draw a painting that illustrates a social issue he or she desires to address by collaborating with a government under the 6 months long fellowship. In August 2016, selected participants shall embark on a 10-days learning visit to a country in Africa practicing democracy to engage with their stakeholders and the program shall conclude in September 2016 with an exhibition of youth and government collaborations on social governance.
CANVASSITY is an initiative of Youngstars Foundation, funded by National Endowment for Democracy NED USA with African Independent Television (AIT) as the Media Partners.
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