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Game Changer

GAME CHANGER: Africa Has The Youngest Youth Population In The World. See What JA Africa’s CEO Is Doing About It

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Africa has a weighty situation with its growing youth populations. In an article published this year by World Atlas, 28 of 30 countries with the youngest populations in the world are in Africa. About 70% of Africa’s population is under the age of 30, presenting the continent with a great opportunity as well as a major challenge on how to tap into this asset. Up to 10 million young people enter into a weak labor market in the continent annually, and few of those will find jobs. Africa’s education systems have not typically caught pace with the needs of the workplace so there is a big mismatch between what employers are looking for and what potential employees have to offer.

Where Does The African Diaspora Fit In All This? 

This is a question that has nagged me for some time. As I pondered the gravity of this question, I turned to Junior Achievement (JA) Africa for insight.

JA Africa is an organization whose mission is to economically empower Africa’s youth by bridging the gap between classroom education and the world of work. JA programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship and provide experiential learning opportunities for young people to prepare for their professional lives in the 21st century. Working in 14 countries, JA Africa reaches over 230,000 students annually, building skills and access to opportunity and employment.

They work with schools, technical/vocational centers and other partners. They enhance the traditional academic, vocational or technical training for both in school and out of school youth. Through their programs students learn the importance of self-confidence and self-efficacy,  how to create resumes, how to interview for jobs and how to behave once they get a job. The students also learn how to start a business, how to open a bank account, how to create and manage a budget and how to write a check. They learn all those things that you need to know as an adult but are seldom taught at school.

Interview With Elizabeth Elango Bintliff – JA Africa’s CEO

I felt there was something to be learned from the successes and challenges JA has experienced in their efforts to prepare Africa’s invaluable human resource for the future. As a result, I reached out to Elizabeth Elango Bintliff to learn more.

Junior Achievement Africa CEO Elizabeth Elango Bintliff

Elizabeth is the President and CEO of JA Africa for over 2 years now. She is a development professional with 17 years of experience working in developing countries and emerging economies. Formerly the vice-president of Africa Programs at Heifer International, Elizabeth managed a multi-million dollar portfolio in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. Elizabeth is committed to development, especially for people in Africa, where she believes that giving three things – choices, voices and opportunities – are key to changing the trajectory of development on the continent.

Born and raised in Cameroon, Bintliff earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and has a Masters in African Studies from Yale University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Zanzibar. Bintliff was recently awarded the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Alumni Award for Exceptional Humanitarian and Service Achievement by her alma mater, Kennesaw State University.

What Are JA’s Most Effective And Successful Programs?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: All our programs are tailored to the specific needs of our students and the contexts in which they live. However, the JA Company Program® has been the most successful and is the most well-known and widely used program. The Company Program teaches students how to start and run their own businesses, developing and marketing a product or service with the guidance of a local business volunteer/mentor.

JA Students

At the beginning of the school year students form a company, elect or select management, come up with a name and business idea. They capitalize the business by selling shares to classmates, parents and teachers then they run the business throughout the school year, while being mentored and coached by business professionals from the community. The value added here is that it gives young people an alternative perspective on earning a livelihood. Students learn concepts like raising capital, shareholder management, product quality control, design, human resource management and so on.

At the end of the school year students from different schools compete at the national competition for prizes and then the national winners go on to compete at the Africa-wide Company of the Year competition for the title of Company of the Year. It is a great knowledge and confidence builder for students, many of whom leave their countries for the first time to attend this event. It is amazing to see them stand up on a big stage as company CEO or CFO and pitch their businesses to very intimidating judges. We believe this is exactly the kind of muscle our youth need to be building in Africa…the ability to compete on the global stage.

What Types Of Challenges Has JA Encountered?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: Even though our impact can be felt on the continent there is still a lot that needs to be done. There is still a knowledge and awareness gap. The skills gap in Africa is a persistent program. A big challenge is the agency of parents in the decision-making process of their children about their future careers. Parents also need to change their mindset on jobs and work readiness. There is still this sense that being a lawyer or a doctor is the ultimate goal, even when it is out of synch with the aspirations or capacities of the child.

Parents need to change their perspective on financial literacy. Money is still a taboo subject in many circles. There is still a sense that entrepreneurship is too risky a path to take and young people are often discouraged from it. We navigate these challenges through telling stories. We’ve been telling a lot of stories of our alumni lately. African kids need role models. This is something I say often to successful Africans: tell your story. It is exactly what someone behind you needs to keep walking. Its like walking in the forest, you feel better when you know that someone has beaten the path already and you can just walk in their footsteps.

When we speak to our young students and we ask who their heroes are they often cite Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet. While those are all great men their stories and their origins are so far removed from the average African kid. I want kids to look just around them to find their heroes. I want them to know the stories of Aliko Dangote and Strive Masiyiwa or Folorunsho Alakija.

How Does JAMeasure Success?

Elizabeth Bintliff with JA Students

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: We measure our success in part by looking at the numbers of classes served, number of students reached and number of volunteers. Last year we worked with over 230,000 students. The size of the challenge we are tackling is enormous so scale is important. But our measurement of success is not just about numbers, it is also about depth. Before any programs begin we measure where students are through surveys. For example, in an entrepreneurship program we will ask them what they know about entrepreneurship, what their attitudes are toward it, if they know any entrepreneurs, etc.

During the program, local staff in the countries where we operate work with facilitators, monitoring program delivery, troubleshooting problems and sharing learning to improve program quality. From time to time we have workshops to discuss the successes and challenges, how learning from prior years were applied, what improvements were achieved as a result, and what new lessons would be built into future programs.  

At the end of the program we ask ourselves and the students again: what are the impacts of the program on participating students? To what extent does program implementation vary from country to country and what are the success factors? In all, JA seeks to capture what the tangible benefits of the programs are and to what extent do they help create centers of social change through economic education and growth. Our theory of change is that when young people educated in entrepreneurship, more small businesses will be established and economic prosperity ensues from that.  

Ultimately, the measure of success is in the stories of our alumni; when we hear from them about what JA meant to their lives and their success we know we are doing something right. We get great satisfaction from that. The lowest common denominator of our work is people…that is where success matters most.

What Are Some Moments That Make It All Worth It?

JA Student

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: One of my favorite JA stories is from the slums of Kibera, Kenya where JA supports an after-school soccer academy for girls. These teenage girls produce and sell a magazine they named “Shedders.” Their aim was to shed some light and raise awareness of issues within Kibera from the perspective of young women, highlighting both the joys and challenges of life in a slum. They write the stories and manage all components of the magazine, then sell it for a profit. Half of the profit goes to support the school where all staff are volunteers and half goes to fund the girls who go on to attend university.

I also love the story of Rudo Mazhandu. Rudo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering; but in spite of this, like many young Zimbabweans, she faced the reality of unemployment upon completing her studies. She tried to be employed in the public sector as a secondary school teacher; but the remuneration coupled with the under-utilization of her skills made her quit the job in less than a year. In December 2014, Rudo decided to start a green bar soap-making enterprise. Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ)’s entrepreneurship course was a turning point in Rudo’s business. She received training on customer care, marketing, record keeping. Today, her revenue has almost doubled and she employees up to seven casual workers.

Another inspiring story is of Daniel Antwi in Ghana. Daniel says often that the best decision he made in high school was to join the Junior Achievement Club. He was the marketing executive. As a team they floated shares for students to buy with their pocket money. They marketed the idea in classrooms, dining halls and notice boards, then used the revenue to buy real shares in a real company. As a social entrepreneur today Daniel says his skills in public speaking, business acumen, marketing and relating to people all came from his association with JA. Daniel co-founded the People Initiative Foundation to nurture and mentor the talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing Africa.

What Is JA’s Life Force?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: As with most non-profits we depend on donor funding to do our work. We count among our donors large corporations and foundations or private individuals making small gifts. Our donors are the backbone of our operations. For us, it is an honor to be brokers of trust between these entities and the change they want to see happen in the work. We are grateful to companies like FedEx, Citi Foundation, Prudential Insurance and others that have supported our programs. We value gifts in cash as much as we value gifts in kind.

Volunteerism is central to JA’s model as we mostly use volunteers to deliver our programs in and out of the classroom. Volunteer support ranges from sponsoring programs to providing coaching, mentoring and offering expert advice on any upcoming issues. We also partner with companies to co-create programs that create shared value. Anyone interested in being a part of our work can visit our website at www.ja-africa.org.

How Can The African Diaspora Participate?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: The African diaspora has a big role to play in our work. Going back to the idea of mentorship and coaching, this is a big part of the success of young people. Successful professionals can empower young Africans by engaging them in activities that enable them to change their futures and the economic trajectory of the continent. They could do so by sponsoring programs, by donating, by volunteering and by leveraging their networks to deliver impact. At JA Africa we believe that Africans who has attained a certain level of success have the responsibility to reach back and pull a young person along on their journey.

Editor’s Note

One thing is for sure. Africa’s next chapter is being defined as we speak and the outcome will be shaped by the investments each African on the continent and in the diaspora makes today. It is my hope that this interview with Elizabeth Elango Bintliff presents each of us with one more way in which we can participate in shaping Africa’s next chapter.

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Events

The Best Photos From Global Citizen’s 2018 Festivals and Events

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Global Citizens came together across the globe in 2018 to take action and envision a world without extreme poverty.The year started off strong with Global Citizen Live events in London and Vancouver in the spring, showcasing performances by talented singers like Emeli Sandé and The Elwins.

Take Action: This Inequality Cannot Go On. Ask the World’s Richest People to Help End Extreme Poverty

In September, the Global Citizen Festival in New York brought together activists and fans of Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Janelle Monáe, The Weeknd, and Janet Jackson in Central Park. Tens of thousands of attendees sprawled across the Great Lawn as major gender equality and education commitments were made.

To top off the year, thousands attended the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and celebrated Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the end of his centenary year. A plane flyover kicked off the festivities at FNB stadium, and Trevor Noah hosted the action-packed day, which included moving words from world leaders and influential figures like Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Oprah Winfrey. The crowd’s energy was contagious as they cheered and danced to Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest, and other artists between impactful speeches delivered by world leaders, the Mandela family, and more.

See the best photos that captured these highlights below.


Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100

Mandela100_MainEntrance_MpumeleloMacuForGlobalCitizen-4.jpgA general view of the FNB Stadium before the start of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Mpumelelo Macu for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Crowd_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_0201 (1).jpgGuests in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

Mandela100Crowd_BarryChristiansonForGlobalCitizen-41.jpgAttendees dance in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Barry Christianson for Global Citizen

1067584908.jpgSoweto Gospel Choir perform during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_ShoMadjozi_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_007.jpgSho Madjozi performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067593228.jpgUsher performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Pharrell_JodiWindvogelForGlobalCitizen_010.jpgPharrell Williams performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jodi Windvogel for Global Citizen

1067469018.jpgThe Global Citizen plane does a flyover over FNB Stadium during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_TrevorNoah_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_002.jpgTrevor Noah speaks onstage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

Mandela100Crowd_BarryChristiansonForGlobalCitizen-26.jpgAttendees cheer in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Barry Christianson for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Crowd_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_008.jpgAttendees at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067714478.jpgDanai Gurira speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_TiwaSavage_JodiWindvogelForGlobalCitizen_002.jpgJay Breeze and Tiwa Savage perform during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jodi Windvogel for Global Citizen

1068518650.jpgTumi Sisulu (C) speaks onstage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067601830.jpgD’banj performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067619684.jpgZama Mandela (C) and other members of the Mandela family speak on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Activation Images-193.jpgGuests in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kgomotso Neto for Global Citizen

1067734970.jpgPrime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg (R) presents Graca Machel (L) with the inaugural Global Citizen Prize for World Leader, on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: emal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_WizKid_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_005.jpgWizKid performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067697330.jpgEd Sheeran performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_CassperNyovest_MpumeleloMacuForGlobalCitizen-65.jpgCassper Nyovest performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Mpumelelo Macu for Global Citizen

1067726258.jpgOprah Winfrey speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067724620.jpgA general view of the FNB Stadium during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Michelly Rall/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Festival 2018 in NYC

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_286.jpgThe Weeknd performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

GCF18_JanelleMonae_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_013.jpgJanelle Monáe performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_052.jpgAttendees cheer in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 28, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen089.jpgAttendees at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_126.jpgShawn Mendes performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_173.jpgCardi B performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_MohamedSadekForGlobalCitizen_038 copy.jpgA little girl reacts to a performance at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mohamed Sadek for Global Citizen

GCF18_JanelleMonae_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_011.jpgJanelle Monáe performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_267.jpgThe Weeknd performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

DSC_0093.jpgAn attendee poses for a photograph at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_ShawnMendes_MengwenCaoForGlobalCitizen_015.jpgShawn Mendes performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

1043271620.jpgJanet Jackson performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

GC Week, New York City

GCWeek_YourVoiceYourVoteMaegan Gindi for Global Citizen_014.jpgImage: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

180922_1151_GlobalCitizen_Vote_0181.jpgRobert De Niro and Rachel Brosnahan speak to the crowd gathered at the Maine Monument in Central Park.
Image: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

180922_1151_GlobalCitizen_Vote_0394.jpgAttendees listen to the speakers at the ‘Your Vote is Your Voice!’ rally in Central Park.
Image: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

GC_Week_Riverside_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_067.jpgKimbra performs onstage with The Howard Gospel Choir during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GC_Week_Riverside_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_014.jpgKeyon Harrold performs onstage during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

1038083954.jpgNaomi Wadler accepts the Legend Award onstage during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church on Sept. 22, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_005.jpgSpeakers onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_037.jpgMaimouna Youssef performs onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on Sept. 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_052.jpgAttendees listen to the speakers onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Live in London

GCLiveLondon_LittleSimz_Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen_001.jpgLittle Simz performs on stage for Global Citizen Live London, at the O2 Academy Brixton on April 17, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen

GCLiveLondon_EmeliSande_Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen_013.jpgEmeli Sandé performs on stage for Global Citizen Live London, at the O2 Academy Brixton on April 17, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Live in Vancouver

GlobalCitizenVanelwins2-2613.jpgThe Elwins at Global Citizen Live Vancouver.
Image: Rebecca Blissett for Global Citizen

GlobalCitizenVan-crowd_HERO-2945.jpgA scene at Global Citizen Live Vancouver on April 12 at the Commodore Ballroom.
Image: Rebecca Blissett for Global Citizen

Source: The Best Photos From Global Citizen’s 2018 Festivals and Events

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Game Changer

Technology Fights Corruption in Nigeria

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Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil-producing country, which gives the nation access to wealth and resources its neighbors do not have. Unfortunately, that wealth and those resources haven’t traditionally trickled down to the Nigerians who need them most.

In 2018, Nigeria’s population of people living in poverty became the largest in the world at 87 million, which far surpasses India’s 73 million living in poverty. Why does a nation with outsized wealth compared to its neighbors fail to lift its people out of poverty?

According to a new report, the issues are mismanagement and outright corruption.

Post-Flood Money Fails to Benefit Victims

A good example of mismanagement and corruption emerges from the floods that Nigeria experienced in 2012. The flooding killed almost 400 people, and more than 2 million were displaced from their communities.

Nigeria’s central government dispersed $110 million for relief in October 2012. A civil organization called “BudgIT” sent a team to 12 different Nigerian states to track how the relief money was spent and whether or not it benefited the victims and communities that needed it.

What the BudgIT team found was that nearly all of the money went to people and organizations that either mismanaged it or directly kept it from benefiting the people and communities it was meant to help.

Using Technology to Create a Solution

What can be done in a country where “information on public expenditure is not always available” and where there’s no “culture of punishing offenders” who steal public funds meant to benefit the most vulnerable?

BudgIT and similar organizations are turning to technology, as well as a blend of on-the-ground resources and traditional communication channels.

For example, BudgIT launched what’s called the “Tracka” initiative in summer 2014. BudgIT staff members find public projects by analyzing budget data and information. They then create pamphlets that include comprehensive project and contact information. And, finally, they send recruited team members with those pamphlets to travel throughout Nigeria’s states while monitoring progress on publicly funded endeavors.

BudgIT’s monitors hold town halls to talk to everyday people about what’s planned for their communities. They meet with and urge local government officials to complete projects that have stalled. And they even take pictures and share updates on social media to further pressure government officials to follow through on promised expenditures.

Citizens Get Involved, Too

It’s hard for citizens living in poverty to follow government news or to get involved in holding government accountable. That’s why the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) launched with a focus on getting more people involved in governance.

The PPDC relies mostly on social media and radio broadcasts to share information with everyday Nigerians and ensure there’s government transparency around spending and completing promised projects.

Similarly, Connected Development (CODE) launched a “Follow the Money” initiative in late 2013. The initiative connects specific government projects to the communities where they will be completed by using hashtags on social media. Like the PPDC, CODE is using the common communication channels of everyday Nigerians to better inform them about promises the government has made to their communities.

Progress Made Though Challenges Remain

All of this progress is made possible by Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Act, which passed in 2011. Still, achieving full transparency and getting more and more Nigerians involved in governance will take time.

As of now, more everyday Nigerians are involved in government, and more Nigerian politicians are being forced to do the right thing. But there remains progress to be made on both fronts.

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Game Changer

Women’s Rights Activist Is Ethiopia’s First Female Supreme Court Chief

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 In Ethiopia’s latest move to empower women, the country’s Parliament on Thursday installed as Supreme Court president a women’s rights activist whose achievements were championed in a movie promoted by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.

Meaza Ashenafi was a judge on Ethiopia’s High Court from 1989 to 1992 and then an adviser to a commission writing up its new constitution. She also founded the Ethio­pian Women Lawyers Association and helped start the first women’s bank in the country, Enat Bank.

Her most famous case, however, was turned into the 2014 Ethio­pian film “Difret,” which was promoted by Jolie as executive producer and went on to win the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

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