In a changing world with more focus on individual achievements and gradual disappearance of communality, it is awe-striking to find a community of young people who are committed to sharing their time and skills as their contribution to improving their communities, promote positive lifestyles and public health.
Such community is growing under the watch of the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) through its intentional development of young policy advocates and digital media experts. The CAPPA Digital Media Volunteers (CAPPA DMV) began in 2020 as a response to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 era – a period of self-rejuvenation, innovation, and redefinition of processes.
The CAPPA DMV has grown to become one of the strategic community-based partnerships that inspires public participation and mobilization of grassroot power for effective engagement of government and critical stakeholders.
Since its inception, CAPPA invested in trainings of the volunteers to equip them with skills in Communications, Graphic Design, Content Development, Policy Advocacy, and Digital Media Management amongst others. They have had the opportunity of engaging in Experience Sharing with Programme Officers and Programme Managers as well to help broaden their horizon on building on the ecosystem they work in.
On June 3rd, 2023 the in-person training of the volunteers was held in Abuja as part of the community outreach to improve population wide understanding and build mass support for the Sugar Sweetened Beverages Tax (SSB Tax). The Digital Media Volunteers (CAPPA’s pool of volunteers) were equipped with the necessary skills and information required to engage different target audience in the community.
With focus on advocacy and community power building, volunteers were invigorated to get back into their communities and begin a stepdown of the all-important message of reducing Nigeria’s NCDs and diet-related diseases burden through SSB Tax and other healthy food governance in Nigeria.
In focus, NNAH FRANCIS IMOH, a member of the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa Digital Media Volunteers (CAPPA-DMV) platform is a trained Electrical Electronics engineer who works for an agro-allied firm, Pandagric Novum LTD as an Electromechanical Technician.
On Thursday, July 20, 2023, Francis and other volunteers in Karu conducted a sensitization event at Model College, Panda Development Area, Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, to educate members of Educational and Development CDS group about SSB Tax and the importance of supporting the tax. The students and staff of Model College were also in attendance.
Through his intervention, he informed the audience of the health risks associated with consuming Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) such as diabetes, obesity and SSBs being risk factors for certain cancers. To drive home his message, a used bottles of water and sugar cubes, to demonstrate the sugar contents of popular SSBs identified by the audience. The demonstration helped students and teachers of Model College to properly visualise the content of the drinks and they came to the conclusion that they were truly at unhealthy levels.
Francis had earlier used his office routine ‘Toolbox Meeting’ to discuss SSBs and their attendant health problems. This was an important opportunity to save his colleagues from possible health damages has he had noticed that his colleagues were heavily dependent on SSBs for its placebo energy supplying effect.
Supported with skills and the right information, Francis combined his inherent leadership and community building skills to contribute to improving Nigeria’s overall health indices. His work, passion, and digital skills made it easy for him to mainstream ongoing food policy campaigns in Nigeria while also creating awareness and garnering population wide support for these policies.
Our core values of Community, Impact, and Solidarity are embodied in Francis’ dedication and many others like him spread across Nigeria, going the extra mile to bridge the policy gap between the grassroots and grasstops. They have continually carried the torch of advocacy on different thematic areas, expand the reach of campaigns, and building a solid pathway for the rejuvenation of volunteering in Nigeria.