The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge 2020 Edition kicked off in Abuja from the 27th to the 30th of January, 2020. The three-day event took place at Ayalla Hotels, Garki culminating in a broad debate. The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Day 1 of the event in Abuja began with an overview of Accountability Lab delivered by Project Officer Precious Obeahon. This was followed by MEL Officer Omojo Adaji who gave a presentation on understanding the SDGs with a particular focus on Goal 16, which concerns peace, justice and strong institutions. Participants got the opportunity to deeply consider how to refine some of the important concepts within the broader accountability sector.

Founder of the Network of Pro Bono Lawyers, Tony Onazi, highlighted some of the peculiarities of the Nigerian legal system and how they affect social innovations in his presentation titled Social innovation for rule of law and access to justice. Country Director, Odeh Friday, then highlighted the finer points of social innovation, which led to a breakout group session where participants brainstormed topics including challenges to the rule of law and open governance?

Participants were invited to give individual talks on their project ideas in relation to the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge and this was overseen by Communications Assistant, Obinna Ejiogu. Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Folarin Aluko, was also on hand to give some advice e to participants.

On day 2 of the event, MEL Officer Omojo Adaji discussed the Lab’s Theory of Change, as well as monitoring plans and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for social innovations. Communciations Officer Prince Chimaroke Chukwuka followed this with an intensive discussion on pitching skills. Accountapreneur and former SDG 16 Innovation Challenge winner, Funke Adeoye, then spoke about her experiences with the 2019 Challenge and the progress she’s made with her project, Hope Behind Bars Africa.

Day 3 featured Chinenye Uwanaka of The Firma Advisory who facilitated a presentation on Legal reforms in the Nigerian judicial system. Project Assistant Shiiwua Mnenga gave feedback to each participant after the preliminary pitching of their ideas.

Participants delivered their social innovation pitches on day 4 of the event to a panel featuring Amy Galigan (Political Counsellor High Commission of Canada in Nigeria), Esther Mabadeje (CLEEN foundation), Rita Lasoju (CLEEN foundation), Ezenwa Anumnu (NBA) and Rhoda Tyoden (International Federation of Women Lawyers, Nigeria). Emmanuel Bagudu emerged as the participant with the most impressive idea and winner of the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge Abuja.

The second phase of the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge 2020 was held in Kano from the 2nd to the 5th of February, 2020. The three-day event took place at Zeen Noor hotel in Kabuga, culminating in a debate at the Faculty of Law at Bayero University.

Day 1 of the event began with an overview of Accountability Lab and its objectives, again delivered by Project Officer Precious Obeahon. Following this, Mnenga Shiiwua explained the challenge in detail and participants were sorted into groups to brainstorm four topics central to their ideas. These included how to ensure the most vulnerable people in Nigeria were included in the process and how young people could enhance corporate and government accountability? Other topics looked at how to increase the numbers of women seeking participation in governance and how to support the voices of women in rule of law debates?

Mrs Katumi Mohammed, a secretary at the Nigerian Bar Association and co-founder of the Network of Probono Lawyers facilitated a discussion on the rule of law and access to justice to conclude the day’s activities.

On Day 2, participants kicked off with an interactive session on the theme Building effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. Accountability Lab Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Assistant, Alfred Agu, discussed the Theory of Change with participants, enlightening them on how to prepare monitoring plans, and logic frameworks for their innovations. Precious Obeahon later facilitated a session on pitching skills after which, participants practiced their pitching skills.

Day 3 of the event saw participants pitch their ideas to independent judges to determine the most convincing pitch. Judges on the panel included Nibuas Tahir Jacacain of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, Katumi Mohammed (Nigerian Bar Association Kano), Halima Ben Umar (Co-chain OGP & Member Women in Media Network, Kano), Huwaile Mohammed (FIDA),  Uman Saleh Auka (Member OGP & Member Anti-Corruption Network, Kano) and Ibrahim M.G. Sayasi (Assistant Secretary, NBA). Upon conclusion of pitching, participant Ismail Auwal was declared the winner of the challenge.

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