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Benefits Of The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge 2019



Benefits Of The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge 2019

Ejiogu Obinna and Prince Chimaroke C.

There is no doubt the euphoria of the  3-day  SDG 16 Innovation Challenge (SIC) 2019  mentorship, training and brainstorming session on the intricacies of enacting social change in the Nigerian community is still fresh in the memories lanes of all the participants

The program held from the 6th to the 8th of February, 2019 at Connected Development office (CODE), Bassam Plaza, Abuja and featured about 20 shortlisted participants, all of which had a specific social innovation idea they wished to actualize through the aid of the program.

Over 87% of the participants were young women with visionary ideas. The SIC 2019 was organized by Accountability Lab Nigeria and sponsored by High Commission of Canada in Nigeria.


The SIC 2019 was moderated in its entirety by the Country Director, Odeh Friday, who introduced Accountability Lab to the attendees, describing it as a team that was known for thinking outside the box and birthing peculiar ideas to promote accountability and good governance within our society. Programme participants introduced themselves to the group, as everyone was given the opportunity to engage with each other.

Political Counsellor of the High Commission of Canada to Nigeria, Amy Galigan, announced her pride at being associated with Accountability Lab. She explained some of the reasons for the success of the Canadian society. “Canada’s commitment to innovation is proving their accomplishments and how effective their programmes are with the use of metrics.” She said. She explained the importance of an uncompromised justice system, stating that in Canada, a lot of liberalism that is celebrated came through the courts, as it was a key method through which the socially and economically marginalized could seek representation.

As a diplomat of over 15 years, she argued for gender equality stating that she had also been a victim of in the workplace. She encouraged women never to be afraid to bring their ideas to the table and expressed optimism that generational change was fast coming to Nigeria.

Nigerian civil society expert, Kehinde Ibiteye, gave a presentation on social action during which he discussed innovation for social change. He described Social action as people coming together to improve their lives and solve problems that are important to their community. It is a practical action in the service of others. He cited the lack of accountability as one of the biggest problems of the Nigerian society and encouraged the citizens to internalize their problems and tell themselves the truth. He encouraged anyone interested in social action to read the UN declaration on Human Rights.

After introducing all the Accountability Lab programs currently running, Odeh gave a presentation on Social Innovation. He described the challenge as an initiative to find creative solutions for SDG 16. “Social Innovation is relevant to address social complex challenges by providing innovative solutions at local and global levels and respond to people’s needs in a more effective way.” He explained.

Following his presentation, Kehinde Ibiteye used the example of the research done by Jean Ekins on creating a Family Learning Centre for girls with teenage pregnancy, to explain to participants the importance of doing community background checks and planning for contingencies when embarking on any social innovation program. He decried the lack of legal frameworks and support to change a negative situation as a problem of social innovation in Nigeria.

Monitoring and Evaluation expert, Omojo Adaji, gave an overview of the SDG 16 Innovation challenge. She described the SDG’s as quite ambitious but necessary and separated the participants into groups of 4 to brainstorm on these issues.



Accountability Lab Nigeria Head of Communications, Prince Chimaroke, began by doling out the social media handles for the event. Following this, Project Manager Samuel Emenogu gave a presentation on Work plan preparation. He explained Needs Assessments as necessary tools to look at the problem cost, time span, target location and stakeholders of the program.

A series of presentations were given, beginning with Kehinde Ibiteye’s talk on the importance of sustainability in planning for social projects. This was followed by a discussion by Odeh Friday on the ability to be convincing and influence Government to actualize social projects. He discussed the factors of social change, citizen involvement and engagement.

Omojo Adaji oversaw an interactive session on monitoring plans while Samuel Emenogu spoke on budgeting and gave pointers on how to prepare a good budget.

Prince Chimaroke gave an exposition on Storytelling as a tool for social change and described the depth to which traditions and cultural norms affect our lives today through stories told us from the past. Odeh Friday rounded the day off by explaining pitching skills to the attendees and how to attract investors.


Samuel Emenogu reviewed the technical sessions from the previous day. He was able to interact with the participants, thereby getting them to express themselves. Each participant was given two cards of different colours. On one card, they were required to write their key learnings from the previous day. On the second card, the participants wrote down the questions in which they needed more emphasis and explanations.


Mr. Seyi Adebote facilitated an interactive session on how technology can be leveraged to bring about social change, how it could ignite and possibly provide mentorship, technical advice, and financial support for tech-based business and social start-ups. He went on to list social media platforms (twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) and how these could be harnessed by the SDG-16 participants. Specific focus was also given to strategies, protocols and prevailing environments that are capable of creating enabling environments for successful implementation of the SDG-16 ideas.

Five participants were randomly selected to give their 5 minutes pitch due to time constraints.

Their pitches were evaluated using the following points:

  • What is the challenge?
  • What is the proposed solution?
  • How will you implement it (partners/strategy/resources)?
  • What is the desired impact? How will you measure that?
  • How will you document lessons learned for future?


The session facilitators provided advice and input for improvement of each pitch as they are delivered before everyone. On the basis of the feedback given, each participant was asked to refine their pitches. (No participants were allowed to use power point for pitches delivery, rather, they will deliver in Tedx styled talks)

These pitches served as guidelines for the other participants.

The participants made their pitches before the august panel, comprising of

  • Mr John Crysler (The Canadian Embassy)
  • Miss Hauwa (Mac Arthur Foundation)
  • Mr Seyi Adebote (Independent Consultant)

The participants were judged on the following selection criteria:

Accountability focus, Collaborative, Context, Innovation, Feasibility and Sustainability, Practicality and Diversity.


At the end of this session, Mrs Funke Adeoye emerged as the winner for the SDG-16 Innovation Challenge in Abuja.

The awards were presented to the participants by Mr. Odeh Friday (Accountability Lab Country Director), Miss Hauwa (Representative of Mac Arthur Foundation), Mr. John Crysler (Canadian High Commission) and Mr. Seyi Adebote (Independent Consultant).


A closing address was given by Mr. Odeh Friday who thanked the participants and judges for attending the SDG-16 Innovation Camp. He expressed his happiness at the successful completion of the event. He went on to advice the participants that the decision from the judges’ panel would be communicated to the participants in due course.

Stay connected by following @AccountLab on twitter and the hashtag #SIC2019 for updates on the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge Lagos edition slated for 5th to 7th March, 2019 as the next set of social innovators pitch their ideas on solving some of the issues of the SDG 16.




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Eid-el-Fitr: Buhari Asks Christians, Muslims To Jointly Pray Against Kidnapping, Banditry



President Muhammadu Buhari in his Eid-el-Fitr message to Nigerians asked both Christians and Muslims to unite and jointly pray against tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry.

He also called for practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness noting that unity and solidarity among all citizens is imperative especially at this time when Nigeria is faced with multiple challenges.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Wednesday by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

“On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood, and love amongst all.

 “Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims, and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion,” the statement read in part.

President Buhari said further that it is noteworthy and delightful to see “Christians breaking fast and in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to Muslim faithful during the Ramadan.”

He added that “This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities. These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness.”

The President, therefore, urged Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 prevention measures and celebrate responsibly during the holidays.

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