The MamaYe! Nigeria campaign in Kano held 1-day pre-election orientation event for students from Bayero University, Kano, and Kano Youth Coalition for Advocacy and Development.
The event was part of activities to ensure that youths started adding their voices to political processes and policies that affect maternal and newborn health, especially as the nation faces the 2015 general elections.
The event became more exciting for the students after learning how, depending on the choices they make now, the current status of maternal and newborn health in Nigeria can affect their future.
The objective was for them to start engaging politicians in their locality to go beyond making promises – most of which are never fulfilled – and start prioritising maternal and newborn health.
To this end, the MamaYe! Nigeria political advocacy film, “Bond, Blood and Politics”, was shown to the students. From their feedbacks after watching the film, the students seemed well educated and informed on the roles that everyone – politicians, family members and pregnant women too – should play to ensure the safety of pregnant women in labour, and the survival of newborns.
The leader of the student union government, Abdulaziz, said in his reaction,
Politicians use youths, especially students, as recharge cards (mobile phone top up cards) which they throw away after using...We need good leadership and people who can make a change, and I must commend MamaYe for this wonderful idea, which is very timely.
Armed with that knowledge and information, the students proposed to start engaging political post aspirants in the 2015 election race from two political parties, the People’s Democratic Party and the All Progressive Congress. They also proposed a radio awareness program, and to share the information on a television program which some of them would be featured.
Kano Youth Coalition for Advocacy and Development planned to step down the information on maternal and newborn survival to secondary school students in their community. They also suggested a debate for the secondary school students to help them know more about the situation of maternal and newborn health and what every individual must commit to in order to have a better family future.
It did not stop there; the students are using the social media to drive their points to the timelines of digital citizens who care about the plight of maternal and newborn health by setting up a Facebook page called Youth Initiative Group.
Because they now know better, the students, after engaging with political posts aspirants, will be able to elect those leaders who will stem the spate of maternal and newborn deaths by prioritising maternal and newborn health in their governance.