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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Shugabanci Crosses Boaders 

Abdulkareem Mohammed, who is currently in Lithuania for the Conference, wrote in the impact of Shugabanci.

By Abdulkareem Mohammed

International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC 2024), holding in Vilnius from June 18-22, has drawn 1,500 participants from 120 countries into Lithuania.

As the event builds momentum, the “Shugabanci” radio drama series produced by Moving Image Limited with support from MacArthur Foundation gains both exposure and recognition across borders.

The program was showcased during ‘An Evening of Storytelling: Tackling Corruption Through Equity Lens.’ – It was an event organized by the MacArthur Foundation at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Vilnius.

The occasion was anchored by Amina Salihu (PhD), on the 19th of June between 5-7pm.

To set the tone of the evening, Dr. Kole Shetima gave some compelling accounts of how MacArthur Foundation are supporting projects in Nigeria that are deeply “touching lives.”

The impact, he confessed, makes him feel fully satisfied and guarantees him peaceful sleep of gratifying contentment at night.

On her own part, Erin Sines, gave an overview scorecard of the eight-year MacArthur Foundation On-Nigeria work saying, they have achieved good results in a very short space of time but assures that a lot of work remains to be done in their intervention focal areas while acknowledging the existence of other opportunities.

1718997024888Abdulkareem Mohammed at the Parliament building in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Shugabanci drama was subsequently presented to an elite international audience by Abdulkareem Mohammed, the Team Leader of the Shugabanci program, which is one of the success storytelling forms of MacArthur Foundation’s On-Nigeria work.

The attendees were made to understand that Shugabanci has a life-span of 2018-2024 with a weekly broadcast schedule on 9 radio stations in 7 northern states plus Abuja.

It was based on an imaginary story about a community of Kafin Malam (A Teacher’s Community). It caters for a behavioural change intervention through a Hausa language radio drama program – Shugabanci (Leadership) – which promotes accountability and inclusion, across Northern Nigeria at the grassroots level; while strengthening the Foundation’s advocacy, community engagement and mobilization in the fight against corruption.

In the process of work, it systematically infuses community voices into the program design, implementation and evaluation.

The radio drama series is character-driven depicting everyday life of the average listener; recorded on-location with its natural ambience; and the broadcast schedule coincides with dates of broadcast making it sound as an event of the moment. The program listeners are: 53.10% males & 46.90% females, 61.15% age 20-34; with those above 35 at 20.30%, and PWDs are 13.40%.

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The above statistics speaks of the level of propagating Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) ideals in the program.

The Shugabanci cast is made up of ratio 6 females to 4 males. For examples, Khadija is a character made to lead a door-to-door campaign to whip up female participation in political activities. While Inno’s character, wife to a political party Chairman, is made powerful enough to influence decisions in the political life of her husband instead of becoming a mere on-looker in a political vibrant arena.

Both characters have emerged as celebrities with huge followings. Aisha Ibrahim (Inno) was given an Integrity Award by SHUDLAS Sokoto. She was also invited to Minna in Niger state to appear during a Sallah celebration event where gate fees were charged for people to see her.

As she came back to the location, she excitedly reported the experience as one that was “beyond imagination.” She is now an A-list actress – worthy to note that Shugabanci launched her carrier in 2018.

A fieldwork study was conducted with 800 respondents, three months after program take up, across all the focal areas; that got listeners’ opinion on how they understand the program and gauge their level of satisfaction with it.

63% of the respondents across the nine broadcast areas of coverage were aware of the program (almost equally by both genders); frequent tune-in to the program was at 43%; and 32% believe the program was about leadership and dedication, fighting corruption, politics and culture among others.

In relation to learnings and attitudinal change, respondents reported being motivated “to offer selfless service,” “to be honest always,” “say no to corruption” and “respect others always.”

The program reach, as at now, stands at about 40 million listeners.

To demonstrate how the program has resonated with the listeners, it has led some of them to initiate and create, by themselves and without any prompting, the Shugabanci Radio Drama Listeners’ Association (SHUDLAS).

They voluntarily monitor project budgetary allocations to their locality, its implementation and follow-up to ensure completion of assigned projects to their locality. In the process, they are serving as ‘community watchdogs’ that hold public office holders accountable.

In order to enhance their capacity in this noble cause of active participation in public affairs, Moving Image Limited, organized capacity building trainings for them on how to reach consensus of the program to monitor through organizing Town Hall meetings; how to monitor budget and its implementation; and linked them up with the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for better understanding on how they should function well enough or in case of whistleblowing need.

SHUDLAS movement started in Sokoto with 35 members, it has now risen to all the eight focal areas plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; thereby, growing into a National SHUDLAS having about 250 members.

Through SHUDLAS efforts, many projects were completed that could, otherwise, have been abandoned or the funds diverted into private pockets.

Indeed, the emergence of the movement is a major gain of this project. It holds the great promise of steering a sustained active community participation in governance. The members are most likely to continually hold leaders both responsive and accountable for the dividend of democracy to trickle down to the grassroots level people.

Invariably, Shugabanci storytelling method is truly tackling corruption through equity lens as it institutionalizes active community engagement in a sustainable manner.

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Abdulkareem Mohammed is the CEO/Managing Director, Moving Image Limited. 

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