New Forms of Social and Political Action for Africa

Social and political action is increasingly being recognised as a pathway to empowerment and accountability in development. This, especially, in the wake of new developments in digital technologies, has revolutionised citizens’ social mobilisation endeavours to demand accountability in governance. The governments, on the other hand, can easily collect and utilise data about their citizens.

It is against this backdrop that Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Nigeria held an inception workshop on 26th July, 2017 in Abuja. The activity offered a platform to launch a study dubbed “New Forms of Social and Political Action: A Study of #BringBackOurGirls, Nigeria”.

The event aimed at creating awareness among civil society activists and policy actors about the study and initiating contact with potential policy actors and stakeholders. These were part of the initial steps towards research-policy uptake and engagement in Nigeria.

The study attempts to examine how progressive social and political action emerges in situations of fragility. It specifically focuses on one of Nigeria’s intense social media driven and female-led actions – #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG). The campaign emerged in April 2014 after the abduction of nearly three hundred girls by the violent extremist group, Boko Haram, from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State North-East Nigeria.

Some of the participants at the meeting were key policy actors, practitioners, and researchers from across Africa. Others included leading members of the #BBOG movement, development partners, private sector organisations, civil society organisations and media. The workshop led to a successful mapping of key stakeholders to be engaged for the research and design of targeted advocacy activities for policy uptake.