The Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme provided financial and technical assistance to six CSO advocacy partnerships (comprising 58 CSOs) in Kano, Lagos, Sokoto, and the FCT to implement campaigns against the spread of COVID-19.
The CSOs worked together to provide awareness and sensitisation based on the needs in their respective states. Each advocacy partnership benefited from training in four areas: mainstreaming gender and social inclusion in advocacy; effective communication and media engagement in emergency periods; monitoring and evaluation of emergency advocacy; and conducting effective advocacy campaigns in emergency periods. The trainings were delivered in May and June 2020.
Small grants were awarded to support the implementation of the campaigns, which enabled the CSOs to rapidly design and roll out activities during the COVID-19 lockdown. Campaigns focused on providing accurate messaging and information on causative, preventive and treatment measures; creating awareness about government policies and interventions on COVID-19; and enabling platforms (such as the media and CSO networks) to call for transparency and accountability on the delivery of government palliatives to communities.
Other activities focused on developing a strategic and constructive partnership with the mainstream media, especially radio stations, to increase awareness about COVID-19 at the community level; and the strategic use of social media platforms to expand dialogue on emerging issues as a result of the pandemic.
CSO partners are taking the lead in advocating for the enforcement of face masks in Kano state. The state government has mass produced face masks and distributed to citizens at no cost. Partners in Sokoto are sharing and tracking information on precautionary measures against COVID-19 on a daily basis through social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and SMS. In the FCT, CSO partners have created toll-free helplines to provide psychosocial support to citizens during the lockdown period, and supported the disability community with relevant information to limit their exposure to COVID-19, and protect their mental health.
‘The training and financial support provided by ACT has encouraged and enhanced our advocacy efforts during the pandemic. Already there are significant changes to people’s perception of COVID-19.'
Ibrahim Nuhu, Centre for Information Technology and Development