Four Short Lessons Learnt from Osun Youth Agenda Campaign

Kimpact Development Initiative is a non governmental organisation situated in Osun State, Southwest Nigeria. It is the organisation that was in charge of the Vote not Fight campaign before the gubernatorial election in the state in 2018. Led by Bukola Idowu, the organisation is also in charge of the Osun Youth Agenda, a nine-month, research driven, stakeholder engagement campaign on mainstreaming issues that could lead to sustainable youth development in the policies of the state. In just nine months or thereabout, the campaign has proved very successful.  Instances of the success of the programme were captured in a previous article here. However, the focus of this piece is to examine some key principles that worked for the campaign. Here is highlight of these.

#Multi-layered Bottom Up Approach. The campaign was driven from the bottom up. Youth coordinators were selected from different local government areas in the state. The essence is to keep the engagement robust and make the advocacy neural. As the coordinating hub was consulting at the central level, the coordinators were feeding the secretariat with information from the grassroots level. Political office holders were consulted through the local representatives of the campaign. This made the campaign integrated. This also allowed the campaign to echo same message across different local areas in the state. The resultant effect is the success of the Osun Youth Agenda.

#Multiple Advocacy. The Osun Youth Agenda was a campaign that thrived on multiple advocacy. Stakeholders were properly identified and engaged. Since the campaign was a multi-sectoral engagement, adequate analysis of those who have the stakes in those sectors was done and critical agencies and personnel were involved in the process of developing relevant policy driven proposals and recommendations. From unions to indigenous organisations, the engagement yielded  a buy-in. Apart from the constitution of a board of technical experts for the campaign, the state legislators and members of the executive council equally focused. Recommendations were smartened to make them acceptable and fiscally realistic.    

#Data-Driven  Advocacy. Another factor that assisted the coordination of issues in the campaign was the extensive use of data. Data is the currency of the time. Initially, the campaign coordinating secretariat surveyed youths in the state with the aim of extracting their needs across the various sectors of the society. From Agriculture, education, health to wealth creation and employment opportunities, the demands of the youth were compiled and the implications were visualized. When advocacies are based on data, it gives the advocates a clear picture of the width and breadth of the issues and also attract attention.    

#Creative Programming. The OYA coordinating hub was creative in creating programmes around the campaign. From trainings of the coordinators to the advocacy, elements of creativity stares anyone who cares to look deeper in the face. The two policy dialogues and legislative interaction with the Speaker of the State House of Assembly were the icing on the cake. Arguably, the three programmes were the first in the state to be organized by non state actors in pursuit of campaigns such as this one.

The 9-month programme has come to an end. But, the lessons learnt from pursiung the goals should be warehoused by non-governmental organizations within and outside the state  in pursuing such projects. To pursue the greater good for the greater number, the approach must indeed  be different.


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