Aloho’s ONE Campaign Journey…
Hello favourite one, firstly, I wish to use this medium to thank you immensely for being part of the great traffic witnessed in the last blog post. You make this journey of mine so interesting and because of this honorably gesture of believing strongly in me, I say, “You deserve all the accolades”. #winks
Secondly, yours truly gained an extra feather to the collection; I am one of Nigeria’s 50 ONE Champions, a platform powered by the prestigious ONE Campaign. The whole story would come up later but today, I am pleased to have my fellow ONE Champion as well as a fellow member of the ever winning Group 3 Champions of 2018 occupy writing space on CIB. Remember this was one of the ideas I shared at the beginning of this year- It would not be a solo writing affair but opportunities would be created for guest writers to share insights on LIFE and LIVING.
With every sense of respect, I present to you Mrs. Ngunan Ioron Aloho, a native of Benue, Nigeria. Ngunan is Lawyer, writer and Girls right advocate. She is the founder of Samuel Ioron Foundation, an organization focused on increasing educational access for girls in rural communities through innovative advocacy and fundraising strategies. The initiator of AidaRuralGirlSchoolProject which is instrumental to the enrollment of 25 out of school girls back to school and co founder of REMA Weekend school which provides practical learning for children living in slums. This damsel is a YALI RLC fellow, a World at School Global Youth Ambassador 2017, Motivating Africa Ambassador 2017, ODIC person of year 2017 and a ONE Champion 2018.
Here is her journey with ONE Campaign from scratch till date in her words. Kindly enjoy the ride!
“I am surfing the net, as it is routine for me, when I saw the cute fired up banners that screamed ‘POVERTY IS SEXIST’ with logos of ONE and it had to do with Girl child Education, I was intrigued.
I am not a regular who signs online petitions and letters, shares posts without actually lifting a finger to do something. I am not a talker, I was born a doer.
It doesn’t matter how small, its importance is that it lifts someone else, does justice or solves a problem.
I joined ONE in 2016 and followed up on all activities, using the data and developed research on the issues bordering on Girl Child Education to start a campaign to increase educational access for girls so as to curb the figure from 130 million girls to near zero that are out of school!
I started with people around me; friends, neighbors, social media contacts and voila! we kicked off. It feels good, that people are willing at all times to give support and render their voices for a good cause.
We recruited over ten volunteers and began our online and onsite campaigns towards reducing the number of out of school girls. This we did through fundraising campaigns, advocating in grassroots communities using life experiences and images to further our point.
We raised enough to enroll 25 out of school girls back to school in 2017, alone and kept more than half the number of a full, continuous scholarship that transcends to acquisition of higher education.
Now, I wanted more, I wanted to be involved, I wrote letters of partnership, followed up on activities and entered contests that will help solve the problem of girl education in Nigeria, all sponsored by ONE.
I didn’t get in, at least not yet. I was so determined to be associated with ONE, and to use the platform to amplify my voice so much that when I got the mail to apply for the annual championship campaign, I on impulse began punching keys, pouring my heart out as to why I needed to be selected.
A month later, a mail came in, I didn’t want to open it, the fear of rejection from ONE was a headache I couldn’t fight at the time, I trusted my skills, and talents but believe me, Nigeria has many talents and great people doing a lot of amazing things.
It was a YES! The interview was for the next day, I didn’t panic, I was ready.
Imagine when at 3:45 pm, I was yet to be called, I panicked but tried to keep calm. I thought I had been forgotten then rgggggh……the phone rings, and it was my exclusive interview with ANITA of ONE. It was a great talk, at the end of that talk, I was convinced I was a champion already.
Days later, 50 champions assembled at the Newton Park Hotel, Abuja where I met great youths, all doing amazing things to create change in their communities.
We began our training and induction in earnest with a courtesy visit to the National Assembly to visit our representatives, after which we proceeded to CODE, founded by Hamzat Lawal, an activist who has led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries, he is also the co-founder of follow the money, where he leads a data driven movement driven to amplify voices of marginalized communities in promoting accountability as it affects utilization of public funds. He welcomed us to his office and taught us the skills needed in effecting change in our communities. He used life examples of the campaigns carried out during the Bagega lead epidemic #SaveBegega, and the most recent #SaveShikira.
He broaden our knowledge on the #NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN movement which drives youth political inclusion and told us stories of his personal experiences enroute the ladder of advocacy.
We had the honor of visiting the ONE. ORG office at Abuja, where we met with the hardworking people driving change and purpose for youth involvement in changing perspectives.
We returned back to base and commenced training the next day with our bosses educating us about the workings of ONE and its campaigns.
We were divided into groups and had tasks assigned to us. One of my most favorite’s tasks was the political mapping where we had to write down the names of senators representing different geo political zones, their constituencies and political parties belonged to, we didn’t do so well. ONE taught us, that we needed to understand the working of the government, know representatives of geo political zones irrespective of the fact that we did or didn’t belonged to that zone.
We were each given the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, and had the honor of meeting Clement Nwankwo, a Human Rights Lawyer and the Nigeria Civil Society group convener, Executive director of PLAC. He introduced the Nigeria’s advocacy landscape and walked us through the powers of the National assembly and its passage of bills thereof.
We had pep talks from a select few change makers, Yakubu Jibril, from ActionAid, who educated us on the programs of Action Aid, Amnesty International and the route towards poverty eradication, in her words ‘Poverty eradication because poverty can actually be eradicated’
We learnt about capacity building development programs and the gender mutilation program carried out in Akwa Ibom. She further enlightened us on the importance of research before venturing into any campaign and using evidence based analysis.
Ikalone Udo and Benjamin Akinmoyeje from Toastmasters International, a world leader organization in communication and leadership development took us through the importance of perfecting our pitches and delivering speeches that would resonate with stakeholders and clients. Ikalone emphasized the importance of visual perception, and storytelling.
Dapo Oyewole, a multi skilled public policy and international development specialist, a current senior adviser at the management consulting firm, McKinsey and company lectured us on Data but the most fascinating illustration of data I gathered was when he told us that prior to his coming to see us, he researched about the program and the age range of individuals before deciding on the kind of clothing to wear so as to look presentable and accepted, sighting an example with one the reasons Barack Obama would often roll his sleeves up. These gestures are done because of data gathered on people and advised that we understand a problem using data, as without data, we can have misplaced priorities. He said further that education is tied to every situation in life, and investment in education can help solve other issues, this he cited the evolution of Malaysia and how they invested into education to become what they are today.
Things get done when the data we gather, inspire the people who have the power to make decision that change perspective.
He concluded that we should gather enough data about ourselves and strive to be better.
We had the privilege of meeting with professionals from BBC, who educated us on the role of media in advocacy which amplifies and creates social impact, connects to millions of people at the same time.
Proven statistics that show a lot of people have access to TV, listen to radio and more people are beginning to hold the government to account.
We watched the #NoSidonLook motion illustrations that is focused on encouraging people to register to get their PVCs to exercise their voting rights.
Chioma Agwuegbo- She produced two series of ‘story story’ on BBC, she is a communication and social media expert, founder of TechHer. She spoke about the importance of social media advocacy and interactions using hashtags which trend on social media. She explained further the importance of having a goal, defining the message to be sent, building a core team, developing strategy, timeline and activities, deploy, review. My favorite message about her lecture was this ‘DON’T FEED THE TROLL’ this resonated well with me as more often than not, we are itchy to start fights and word quarrels on social media for things said.
Billy Hills, the Campaign manager for ONE Campaign, traveled to Nigeria for the first time to champion our stunts and taught us different ways of communicating to stakeholders for campaigns, I will be sharing a video on my instagram page @ngunanioronaloho to that effect.
In groups we developed handwritten letters to given to the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and a tweet to that effect on how to #MakeNaijaStronger. Yaaaay, my group (Group 3) won the challenge, and then he asked that we prepare a persuasive message that gets people to register for PVC, guess what? We won again and our video on the challenge will be out soon, which we will share.
Desmond Elliot and Bisola Aiyeola talked about their experiences as ONE Ambassadors, emphasizing the need to serve people.
In all, we learnt discipline, respect, hard work, process and team work.
We were filled with awe when champions from previous cohorts were called to address us on their experiences. Wadi, Austin, Benny, Georgeleen, Sipasi my boss at YALI. The platforms ONE created for each of them, excellent recommendations and sponsored travels for representation on international summits are some of the benefits of belonging to such a global organization.
Finally, we had our final dinner where we got inducted and appointed officially as ONE Champions 2018.
Such opportunities connects you to great people who can become friends for life, therefore whatever I say would be incomplete without mentioning friends I connected with and will have privilege of working with in few months’ time, here goes: Inala, Ibrahim, Rotimi,Chidinma of Chidinma Ibemere’s Blog, Orejesu, Ijeoma, a fellow writer( I just had to say it), Wadi, Shedrach my Benue brother, the entire group 3 team, and so many other amazing champions.
Kudos to our excellent bosses who were so accepting, and when necessary took actions to discipline us wella, I hail Olawale Makanjuola, Blessing Omakwu- Sormekun, Isah, Olalekan Obisesan and Innocent, another Benue brother I was so proud to meet, Anita Okemini, she interviewed me but I am yet to meet her, hopefully tomorrow as I have been selected as a ONE delegate for the DD summit in Lagos (that fast, better hurry and join) and Serah Makka, our country director.
Isn’t that sweet? Would you love to get involved? Are you passionate about ending extreme poverty and preventable disease? Sign up here and join us at one.org”.
Yayyyy, you made it to this point, the journey was worth it. Aloho is an amazing personality and I believe her greatness just started.
Till the next blog post, don’t forget to follow your purpose no matter the situation.
With love from,