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CJID Trains 20 Journalists on Environment, Health and Climate Change Reporting in Abuja

Press Release

The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, through its Development Practice desk, trains twenty researchers and journalists across different newsrooms in Nigeria to understand the nexus between environment,  health, and climate change.

The two-day training was organised by the centre to build the capacity of journalists and deepen their understanding of the linkages between climate change, the environment, and various health issues. 

The training was part of its activities to mark this year’s World Health Day, themed “Our planet, Our health”.

Speaking at the training, the Deputy Director at CJID, Akintunde Babatunde in his welcome address said with the devastating impact of climate change on the health of the people, the time is now for journalists and researchers to be empowered with the right skills to not only tell the stories of vulnerable groups who are facing the impact but also to assign responsibility and hold governments accountable. 

Annually, the World Health Organization (WHO) sets a day aside to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern, and this celebration conceived by the WHO is also actively celebrated by its member nations to raise particular issues of interest on selected themes in respect of those member states.

This year’s theme, therefore, focused on the urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create a society focused on well-being. 

An eye-opener

The participants, mostly Abuja-based journalists across different newsrooms, who were tutored by seasoned climate change and health experts, saw the training as an eye-opener to deep dive into the climate change and health issues plaguing humanity.

Seyifunmi Adebote, an environmentalist and participant opined that the training would set the pace to consequentially report the various health and climate change issues. 

He said: “In the last 5 years of working around climate change and environmental policies across Nigeria and beyond, it has always been clear that there are strong connections between ‘Health’ and ‘Climate Change’ but I haven’t had the opportunity to write about this.

He noted that one thing that stood out for him at the first-day session “is the brilliance of the resource persons – all young, experienced, and knowledgeable experts. I was intrigued with how they practically explained the strong connection between health, climate change, and environmental issues in Nigeria, with a focus on how we can see similar issues through different lenses and write about them”.

Mr Adebote said he is excited to be a part of the selected journalists and looking forward to sharing his story ideas as well as listening to the ideas that will be shared by other colleagues during the story lab session.

Also, Vivian Chime, a climate change reporter at The Cable said the training has rekindled her passion for great story ideas to pursue.

She noted that: “The facilitators are very detailed in their explanations and take the time to draw up connections between climate change, environment, health, governance, and everyday life. The training is really all-encompassing and the knowledge I’m gaining is one I know that would help me not just in my climate reporting but in my entire journalism career. 

Ms Vivian stated that she loves “the level of great minds who are here for the training and the meaningful conversations on the way forward for Africa as it relates to climate change and sustainability. 

“It is truly a masterclass and I appreciate CJID for putting this together, she concluded.

Just like Mr Adebote,  Abdulkareem Mojeed who reports for Premium Times, said “the training was an eye-opener for stories that clearly show how Climate change manifestation affects the environment and its health implications on the ecosystems to be told.

“I believe the second-day training would be more rigorous and engaging. With this, I hope to churn out exquisite stories that would show how the aforementioned elements (climate change, environment, and health) influence the floral and fauna of our ecosystems for the public good”, Mr Mojeed explained.

After the training, the journalists will be supported with story grants to produce insightful and data-driven analyses on the different climate change, environment, and health issues.

Placing Water at The Center of it All

Water scarcity is a global phenomenon that requires urgent attention & sustainable solutions.

More than ever before, in recent years as the ‘climate change’ persist water bodies shrink, with many communities facing drought, worsening the already existing water scarcity scenario.

Steps must be taken now to ensure water provision becomes a key factor in community development.

With the aim that no one is left behind in the water accessibility table.

The reality is that we cannot say we are on the right path of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without successfully meeting up with the #SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation).

In every sector of human development and community wellness water availability and accessibility is key.

What aspect of development can we actually do without water?  When we talk of food production, health care, fashion, tourism, transportation, animal husbandry, power generation (electricity), infrastructural development, even the education sector (imagine a school without water… A topic for another day) etc, all revolves around water. However, we can categorically say at the centre of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ) is  “access to clean water”…(Goal6 ~ Clean Water and Sanitation).

“Universal health coverage without clean water provision is just a theoretical approach”. In the course of community work, we have encountered Primary Health Cares facing a lack of water and the experience was a devastating one.

If we are to truly have a healthy community clean water provision must be prioritised. If the government, private sectors and individuals work in synergy on water provision, access to ‘clean water’ by everyone, everywhere is possible.

Leave no one behind .

 By ~  Ójónugwa Yahaya

Fuel Scarcity in Abuja: The Aftermath, and Fate of Black marketers

The queues on the street of Abuja have disappeared and the fuel scarcity is not as worrisome as it was a few weeks back. However, one cannot say if this is temporary or we should brace up for another possible fuel scarcity – perhaps a worse one, anytime from now.

Most fuel stations are now discharging Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as Petrol or Fuel, though most of them use one or two pump points even where there are as many as 20 discharge pump points. This means people who need the products may not be attended to immediately but what is a 5 minutes wait compared to a 5 hours queue? experienced at the peak of the scarcity.

The big question now is, why are black-market fuel sellers still lining up across some parts of Abuja city, with kegs filled with fuel and waving short pipes? On March 30, Media For Community Change Initiative tried to put a human face to the problem and understand the rationale behind the black marketers and their trade.After so much struggle, the young man understood that we were just asking what his name was and he replied, “Musbahu” without a smile as he tried to lift the 10 litres keg filled with fuel. Even with the help of an interpreter, he couldn’t tell what his age was, it didn’t seem to matter to him but he couldn’t be more than 12 years. We tried to ask if he was working for a Boss but it felt like the young boy was programmed to only tell the price of his trade “Na ₦3 500” and propose a reduced price of ₦2 800. Nothing else!

Just a few metres away, another young boy runs towards us with his 10 litres keg (popularly called jerrican), the keg boldly bears his name freshly written with a black marker, “Abdullahi”. He lifts and opens the content trying to convince me, “Oga, na better one!” He needed to do this for two reasons, the colour of the fuel in his keg was different from the others, slightly turning black. Secondly, he must have heard how weary people became with multiple news of vehicles engines being knocked off due to bad fuel.“What will you be doing if you aren’t here selling fuel”, I tried to ask him after confirming his name was truly Abdullahi as written on the keg. “Shouldn’t you be in school?” I sputtered in a mix of English and Hausa. He managed to explain “na my transport to go house I dey find, Oga,” there was silence and he walked away after a while!Awalu, another black marketer explained how just recently he has taken up this trade, “Me, I bi conductor for Utako, if work dey now I dey go – Lagos, Kano, Zamfara, anywhere.” He also agreed that the black-market business, “na quick money”, yet he would prefer to be gainfully employed elsewhere.Along the Airport Expressway, a few kilometres away from the City Gate, another black-market fuel seller crossed the road in a rush and almost pushed his 10 litres keg through the window. Suleiman was more expressive and seemed jovial. Couldn’t be that he had made much sales already at this early hour of the day; perhaps, this new line of work had brought in lots of returns lately.

When a black-market fuel seller tells you a 10-litre keg of fuel is worth ₦3 500, you do the maths and wonder why he is making a profit of over 100%, if he bought it at the standard cost of ₦165 per litre. After some haggling with Suleiman – we had a bit of back and forth. What I figured was that when black market seller reluctantly agrees to sell 10-litres of fuel for ₦2 800 or ₦2 500 but what they don’t tell you is that they bought at ₦2 200 or ₦2400 from the fuel attendants and only a paltry profit between ₦300 to ₦600 is made for every 10-litre black market fuel sold. At the peak of the fuel scarcity, it was possible to sell as many as 30 kegs at ₦3 500 each. So much profit – for an illegal trade!In an attempt to fill the puzzle of where the source of the constant flow of the black market fuel comes from, we tried to ask some fuel attendants, none of them was willing to share any thoughts. All we could get from them was, “we nur dey sell for keg” and it is not uncommon to see some attendants charging at people walking into the premises with kegs, “don’t bring that jerrican come here o.”

Over the last 8 weeks, this fuel scarcity has had its toll on various sectors of the economy. Small businesses had to resort to unscrewing generator tanks to get fuel, explaining why the cost of goods and services rendered by SMEs have shot up. In Abuja, we have seen transport costs rise by about 100%, in some cases 200%. No sector has been spared!

As we take in a breath of fresh air and smile at fuel attendants when we drive through the fuel stations, we dread seeing Nigerians back on the street, queuing for fuel or resorting to black market sources to fuel their day-to-day activities. So at the back of our minds, we ask ourselves, have we addressed the root of the problem? Will this be the end of fuel scarcity or should Nigerians brace up for another – perhaps a worse fuel scarcity, anytime from now?

Written by: Seyifunmi Adebote and Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun 

Photographs by: Kim Dashong


Menstrual hygiene is one very important component of the female gender and by extension the male gender. It is believed that roughly half of the female population around 26 per cent of the global population are of reproductive age. UNICEF reports that globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services.

With the increasing cost of living and the associated water and sanitation issues in Nigeria, it is getting more challenging for women – especially those in rural areas – to afford menstrual packs and maintain proper hygiene during their monthly (menstrual) flow.

In response to this situation in Nigeria, between July 14 to 16, the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) in Abuja as part of their 3-day empowerment program trained over 100 women, mostly wives of men of the Nigeria Army to produce over 500 reusable pads. 

The second day of the event was a 4-hours practical session as participants were taught how to make reusable pads. The lead facilitator, Mrs Ifeoma Okonkwo, a trained Menstrual Hygiene educator started by enlightening participants on what reusable pads were and their importance. According to her, reusable pads are very important because they reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Menstrual poverty is a threat to the health of women and reusable pads are a great tool in tackling this. Mrs Okonkwo also stressed the importance of changing the pad frequently during a menstrual cycle. Emphasizing the uniqueness of the reusable pads, she explained that asides from being hygienic, reusable pads are very cost-efficient and can be easily stored for later use.

After the presentation, there was a demonstration of the processing involved in the production of the reusable pads. Thereafter, the women were grouped and following the guideline by designated volunteers, the participants produced reusable pads using flannel, cotton, cardboard and other materials. The participants expressed their joy after the session and made known their plans to teaching their colleagues through step-down training when they returned to their respective locations.

The training was sponsored by the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, facilitated by Media For Community Change (MFCC) and held at the NAOWA Event Centre in Abuja. The pads produced will be distributed to women and young girls for use in place of rags and other unsanitary options that are resorted to during monthly periods.

At the close of the event, Mr. Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun the Executive Director of Media For Community Change (MFCC) urged the women to consider the skills as a very important one and should commit themselves to empower other women.

CSJ trains 50 NGOs on the use of shadow reporting in tackling Gender-based issues

Center for Social Justice held a two-day workshop on 20th and 21st of August for 50 Non-Governmental Organisations from the Federal Capital Territory, Adamawa and Sokoto States on the use of shadow reporting as it relates to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) issues.

Shadow reports are used by NGOs to present alternative information submitted by state parties to human right treaties.

The workshop also touched on Follow-up on Obligations in relation to Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms on SGBV, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Harmful Practices (HP) and the promotion of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

It was done in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme/European Union (UNDP/EU) on the implementation of components of the Spotlight Initiative. 

Giving a welcome address, the Lead Director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere told participants that the Spotlight Initiative is focused on the eradication of Sexual and Gender-based violence and promotion of the Sexual and Reproductive Health rights of women and girls.

Eze Onyekpere giving a welcome address

“It has an overall vision of a Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices”, he said.

Eze also noted that the programme seeks to equip women rights advocates, civil society groups and the media with greater knowledge, capacity and tools on gender responsive programming and engagement of government to eliminate the aforementioned issues.

Participants were taught on the definition, purpose, method and when to write shadow reports. Strategies to maximize benefits from shadow reporting as well as follow-up issues were equally discussed.

Reacting to the developments from the workshop, Silverleen Aroh from Save the Child Initiative Nigeria, in an interview with Media For Community Change spoke on the importance of shadow report. 

For her, it allows CSOs and NGOSs collaborate and engage  in the activities of the government.

She said: “I was able to learn the need for CSOs involvement and synergy among CSOs to be able to come up with shadow reports that will support what the government is doing and push them to do more.”

Another participant, Emmanuel Ezechukwubem from Kiek Foundation stressed the need for awareness on several existing policies and laws. 

He called on CSOs and NGOs to help with such awareness to the public particularly the rural communities. 

He said: “Coming from Anambra state, if you go there and tell a woman that they have the right to own a land, they will disagree. We should go out there and create awareness. 

“We have to go for awareness creation to the communities to make people know about these laws that is the only way to get citizens to participate. If they do not have ideas about these laws, how will you make them participate?”

Lastly, Chioma Kanu from Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre lamented that Nigeria has several unimplemented policies and laws that could promote gender related issues citing the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, Child Rights Act among others. 

She equally pointed out that traditional practices still supersede these acts.

She said: “I learnt of so many policies and laws that promote gender related issues. We have this act of never implementing the laws that we have passed and then we also have our traditional laws clashing with the national and state laws.

“In practice, it appears as if we focus more on the traditional law which to me, I feel is not helpful, for instance we have the Child Rights Act at the National level which protects Nigerian children. Some states that even bothered to pass it ‘panel beat’ it to such extent that it lacks the true essence of the principal act. There is a whole lot of watering down issues based on our tradition and religion.”

She rather advised that the federal government put up some mechanisms to override state laws and insist on national laws to protect women and children.

“We have the Gender and Equal opportunities act which the government is yet to pay so much attention to and CSOs are wearing thin on what to do. We have also the VAPP act which has been assented to and some states have domesticated but we want to see implementation of the law.

“We also want to see National Orientation Agency taking a proactive step towards creating sensitization for people to know that these laws exist and they can utilize them to protect women and girls in Nigeria”, she added. 

International Volunteer Day – What To Know

By Demola Oriyomi Ademola

A volunteer is someone who contributes time, effort and talent to meet a need or further a mission, without going on the payroll.  Volunteering activities are of different types. It could be micro-volunteering, online volunteering, and skills-based volunteering.  People choose to volunteer for different reasons. For some, it is an opportunity to give back to society. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or develop existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites both is that it helps in self-development and societal development. 

 We all have busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. But one thing many people do not understand is that volunteering comes with enormous benefits. The right match can help to explore career options and aid professional development.

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While it is true that the more time you volunteer, the more you stand to benefit, volunteering does not have to take your entire time to be beneficial, in fact, research has shown that just four or six hours a week can accord the most benefits. Volunteering should be fun, not another chore on your to-do list. Hence, volunteer-only the amount of time that feels comfortable for you. 

Volunteering is not just an opportunity to create a positive impact in your community, it also contributes a great deal in your job search and professional reputation as it helps boost your resume helps you to determine your career goal, and present you an opportunity to upgrade your chains of network. 

Do you need counselling on volunteering decisions? Here are the tips you need to understand before making your final decisions to be a volunteer.

  • Understand why you are volunteering. 

This is the most important aspect of your journey as a volunteer. You definitely have to understand why you are volunteering for a particular crusade or mission. This will help you actualize your purpose of volunteering. 

  • Don’t volunteer for money

In most cases, the fundamental essence of volunteering is to contribute your quota to the development of your society, that is, making the world we live in a better place for all. Always try as much as possible to make self-sufficient arrangement for yourself while volunteering. Feel less entitled to food, water e.t.c from the organization you’re volunteering for. This makes you a unique volunteer. 

  • Be a unique volunteer. 

To be a unique volunteer, you have to be distinct in thinking by coming up with creative solutions to problems. Always ensure that your service as a volunteer is felt and positively impacts your society. 

Ensure that you are volunteering for a cause that is in line with your passion and interest so that you will not find the exercise boring. This is one of the common mistakes youth makes in the cause of volunteering. Volunteering should be fun and engaging not otherwise. 

Whatever you are good at can be put to good use with nonprofit and local agencies. You stand a chance of being recommended to reputable organizations through utilizing whatsoever skills you have while volunteering. It is a fact that these days, most reputable jobs are gotten through recommendation. 

And finally, try several volunteering possibilities: sometimes, an opportunity looks good on paper, but the reality is totally different. Visit different organizations and understand what they do is in line with your goal and aspirations. 


Elections come with various opportunities, one of which is presenting the people an opportunity to exercise their fundamental human right by voting responsible public office holders. As millions of Nigeria head to poll, Media For Community Change has partnered with WaterAid Nigeria to educate people on the need to #Vote4WASH during the #NigeriaDecides2019 and thereafter.

This is very important to our organization seeing that poor or no access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facility is a big challenge in most local communities where we work. We understand that if leaders prioritise WASH sector and provide necessary infrastructures in their communities, it will transform the standard of living and improve health status.

Delivery of WASH services acts as a primary barrier to disease transmission and hygiene promotion, particularly handwashing with soap, has been identified as the most cost-effective disease control intervention. Yet 87% of the population do not have basic hygiene facilities and almost a third (29%) of hospitals and clinics in the country do not have access to clean water; the same percentage do not have access to clean water; the same percentage do not have safe toilets and one in six(16%) do not have anywhere to wash hands with soap according to a World Health Organization report.

Ekene May of MFCC explaining why you should #vote4WASH

Access to water, sanitation are crucial for good outcomes in health, nutrition, education & livelihoods and inadequate or poor WASH services have an impact on virtually all aspects of human development, disproportionately affecting the life chances of women and girls. No one should have to live without these basic life-saving services. Ensure your vote counts and demand these social services from your candidates and duty bearers.

Out of School Children in Nigeria: NGO Sent 31 back to School

To reduce the current high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria estimated at 13.5 million by UNICEF, and to combat the menace of illiteracy in Nigeria, Mr. Ibezim Chike Victor, the founder of the Mil-Vision Foundation has announced his organization’s plan to send 3 million out-of-school children back to school by 2030. Mr. Ibezim made this public during the official launch of the foundation’s activities at LEA Primary School Tunga-Maje, Abuja.

“Our vision clearly states that by 2030, we will send 3 million out-of-school children in Nigeria back to the classroom. We recognize that it is a very big task; however, we are committed to achieving this through the goodwill and donations of our partners, adequate monitoring, evaluation and reporting of our activities, as well as, maximally leveraging the individual and collective strengths of our volunteers.”

According to the Headmistress of LEA Primary School Tunga-Maje, FCT, Abuja, Hajia Usman Takwa, “We currently have 1812 boys and 977 girls but we still have so many out-of-school children out there in Tungan-Maja. The community is quite big and densely populated but we have only 97 teachers and limited infrastructure so it is beyond my power to get more students to school.”

At the official launch of the Mil-Vision Foundation which took place at LEA Primary School Tunga-Maje, Abuja on Thursday, January 10, 2019; thirty-one (31) indigent students benefited from a 100% per cent scholarship covering tuition fee, school uniforms, school bags, and writing materials.

According to the founder, “Our organization remains committed to providing quality education to indigent kids. We understand that education builds a nation. Developed countries today have invested heavily in education and it works for them.” Victor opined, “Primary school education is the most important stage in a child’s life, if a child is giving primary school education, it is easier for such children to speak for themselves, learn skills and live a more responsible life.”

To assist Mil-Vision Foundation to achieve her aim of getting 3 million out-of-school children back to the classroom, visit

Corps Member Provides Zhidu Community Water Facility

Recently, there has been heated debate about the relevance of the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) scheme and some agitation for the program to be scrapped or reformed. In the face of this, a few young Nigerians still consider the scheme as an opportunity to travel outside their regions and learn extensively about other regions of the country.

This short video documents how a corp member, Johnson Eseoghene provides clean water for a marginalized community in Abuja, Nigeria. ► Full Documentary here:

Among the crowd, an uncommon set of corps members appreciate the one-year program as a platform to go beyond the norm by looking out for location-specific challenges and bringing solutions to those they consider important. Mr. Johnson Eseoghene, a 2017 corps member in FCT, Abuja belongs to this uncommon few.

It is puzzling to figure how Mr. Johnson mapped out Zhidu community, a settlement in Lugbe axis of Nigeria’s Federal Capacity Territory, Abuja. Considering the peculiarities of this highly ignored community and how this reflects in the absence of social amenities –Schools, Water, Roads, Health centers, etc., There is so much that could be done in a  community like – Zhidu.

For Corps member Johnson Eseoghene, his contribution as a personal Community Development Service (CDS) was to drill a public borehole, funded by Hope Spring Water, to provide the people of Zhidu community clean water. In his words, “The project motivation that has pushed me to carry out is this borehole project for Zhidu Community is the lack of safe water around the world. Many women and children, especially young girls, trek long distances to get water for their family. A lot of children also die daily from water-related diseases. I believe that providing this borehole will go a long way to save many lives and bring more development to Zhidu community.”

Johnson Eseoghene who is also the president of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Community Development Service (CDS) group, was well commended by officials of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and the community leaders in Zhidu for his initiative.


We are so glad to have served as an implementing partner for the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and Blue Luxury Investment to raise voices of children and youth in Nigeria about climate change!

In the last few days, we’ve engaged over 700 students across various schools in Nigeria on climate change and climate action; the students will set a new world record in the Guinness Book of Records having expressed their thought paintings on postcards.

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This project presented our team a unique privilege of interacting with different students in public and private schools across different classes. One thing stood out, their openness to learn more about Climate Change and the limitless expression of their creativity.

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With more enlightenment and an efficient support structure, perhaps they can convert these postcards expressions to practical Climate action.

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We believe the students can do more and be more if the policy makers in Nigeria and Africa at large can ensure quality education for students and quality investment into safeguarding our environment.

Many thanks to Uyolo, Blue Luxury Investments and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation for entrusting Media for Community Change Initiative with this very engaging and novel task. And to our local implementing partners – whole Aid Initiative and participating schools, We are happy that together we could make this a success.

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Watch this space for updates from COP24 in Poland!