On Friday 8th May, Accountability Lab Nigeria hosted a virtual friendraiser for the accountapreneurs of their 2020 Accountability Incubator. The event was an opportunity for the young changemakers to share their innovative solutions to accountability challenges as diverse as environmental impact and female genital mutilation with a wider audience. Here are some updates the accountapreneurs shared on their projects.
Journalism is often a strong tool for accountability so it should come as no surprise that two of the initiatives in the cohort are centred on using journalism for just this purpose. One is an app aimed at creating a direct link between citizens and journalists to expose instances of injustice and corruption in their local communities, demanding greater authority from elected officials. The Accountability Reporting Centre (ARC) is the brainchild of Emmanuel Kaboshio Bagudu who is currently trying to develop relationships with media houses keen on using it to source stories directly from communities.
The other is a series of investigations into the phenomenon of fake and expired pharmaceutical drugs being sold across Nigeria and this is being driven by the journalist Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi. Elfredah has already broken similar stories for Today 95.1 FM as a freelance journalist and explained that the support she needs is around the funding to perform tests on some of the drugs she is collecting through her investigations.
Another big theme for Nigeria’s accountapreneurs is environmental sustainability. Wilson Atumeyi’s initiative WaterWide tracks government spending for water and sanitation and amplifies the voices of people living in rural communities in Nigeria. Atumeyi discussed the huge amounts of money set aside for water infrastructure that do not reach communities due to corruption and highlighted how the lack of access to clean water millions of Nigerians face is a massive impediment to effectively containing the spread of Covid-19.
John Olla’s interest is in investigating the documentation of Environmental Impact Assessments with best practices for environmental sustainability contained in Nigerian law, identifying how this non-compliance is affecting ordinary Nigerians. Olla’s initiative seeks to map the damage done by this lack of compliance across the country and use this information to call for stronger accountability from both government and the private sector. Mujidah Ajibola Oladejo’s initiative The Sustainability Hub has similar goals but has the added component of lobbying for the inclusion of sustainability in school curricula in order to sensitise younger generations on the importance of safeguarding the environment.
Some of the other areas of interest for the accountapreneurs include providing pro bono legal services to indigent, disadvantaged and marginalised; supporting the development of other young social entrepreneurs; and challenging the practice of female genital mutilation still common in many parts of Nigeria through awareness-raising. Read more on the initiatives of all the accountapreneurs here.