In June this year, HumAngle started an accountability fellowship programme to train nine vibrant young people from Northeast Nigeria who would produce reports across four thematic areas to promote accountability in the region.
The fellowship programme, which lasted for six months, officially ended in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The event had other invitees in attendance and was moderated by Oluwatosin Alagbe of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and Dr Kole Shettima, Director of the MacArthur Foundation, the nine fellows, HumAngle journalists who mentored the fellows and facilitated their training, as well as other partners.
Dr Shettima, who was the first speaker at the event, after congratulating the fellows for completing their training, urged them to be agents of change, just as the programme intended and trained them to be.
He also advised them to resist the pressure of championing the cause of politicians through their writing, which he said would be intense as the general elections approach.
To end his speech, he urged the fellows to take up leadership positions in their communities, no matter how minute, and to implement the accountability they have been trained to promote.
Some of the fellows who spoke at the event expressed excitement at having been part of the programme, and also shared some of the experiences they garnered in the process.
“We acquired a lot of knowledge as it pertains to how to write a report with the gathered information, how to conduct investigations, collect data, how to fact-check information, how to track and monitor budgets, and so much more from the monthly training,” said Aisha Adamu Njidda, who covered Adamawa South and reported on the environmental impact of the indiscriminate deforestation taking place in her state.
“The fellowship did not just empower us through rigorous practicals; it also had a positive impact on the communities that each of us visited and reported on,” commented Usman Abba Zana, who covered Borno South and reported on the uncompleted water project in Kirawa and its impact on IDPs who have been relocated to the community. Zanna also emerged valedictorian of the class.
“Our works have recorded enormous success. We sometimes saw responses, concerns, and interventions from stakeholders because of our story. It is not all about the fellows,” he continued.
“What we did was not only to challenge the government, we also helped them to deliver on their promises to the people of Borno state,” Babagana Bulama, in Borno North, who tracked and reported government-funded projects, said.
Ahmad Salkida, with HumAngle, while speaking at the event, congratulated the fellows and said he was proud of how far they had come during their training.
Salkida awarded Usman Abba Zanna, the best graduating fellow, a job placement with HumAngle as a reporter.
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