6 Things to Consider when Planning to start a Social Accountability Movement

As a civil society organization, or individual, mobilizing citizens to make sure public services providers are accountable, you must also be transparent and accountable. The morals we hope to see exhibited by our government must also be shown by your organization or, you as an individual. This includes making your budget available online, filing tax returns when due, conducting audit reports within your organizations. The best practice is to make it available to your members, and your government.

Non-Technology means are still the most effective for demanding accountability from public service providers. Organizing town hall meetings, attending quarterly parliamentary meetings, memo submission to parliamentarians, attending public hearing discussions should be considered as part of your activities. Highlights from all nine organizations, interviewed for the handbook, ascertained that these traditional methods are at the core of their work.

The combination of offline (Print, Radio, TV) and online technologies such as Facebook and Twitter are very important for organizations working around social accountability. If social accountability is about the real citizen’s voice, then your campaigns should take cognizance of communities that cannot be reached online but through offline means.

Instead of building new tools, collaborate with existing organizations working on social accountability. This may also include making your initiative work with established workers unions, community associations, and other civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the same space. Think of partnering with CSOs from neighbouring countries as well, aiding cross-border collaboration.

The use of these technologies should consider how the government will be able to respond to citizens voice been amplified. Some of the success stories were influenced by the creation of partnerships with government agencies. If possible, partner with government anti-corruption agencies in your country.

Create a partnership with Independent media organizations or trusted traditional media organizations in the broadcast and print. While there is free access to the new media, there is great need to take into consideration the followership garnered by existing broadcast and print media entities.

Want to use Tech for Accountability? Listen to What the Spirit are Saying

In my handbook – Accountability Technologies, I got insights from diverse civil society enthusiasts and organisations in West Africa about what to consider when thinking of creating the next app to ensure public service providers are accountable.

Context matters – high-tech approaches do not work in low-tech environments. This means we have to redefine what civic technology means. These can include radio, murals, town hall meetings, etc…  Ecosystems matter too – deploying technology for civil movements is not just about individual efforts but building platforms for government to better engage citizens in improving the effectiveness of government and the participation of citizens.

iCampus, Liberia

Technology can only strengthen an already sound strategy for promoting accountability. Develop a plan and then consider if digital technology would be beneficial.

The Engine Room, Sierra Leone and Nigeria

I would advise to partner tightly with media organizations (radio!) in the country to gather reports and to build campaigns about accountability issues. Also, open as many channels of reporting as possible to reach a wider audience (WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, email). Coordinate your work with other NGOs/CSOs not to overwhelm citizens with multiple campaigns.

United Nations University Institute for Computing and Society, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria

Don’t use a tech tool just because others are doing so. Understand your terrain and what works for you. Then make the best use of what works. In our work, we have found that Radio, Twitter and print media has served us well and we’ve leveraged these platforms to gain visibility and influence with our audiences.

Policy Alert: The Grassroots People Empowerment Foundation, Nigeria

Identify the technologies that are most used in the country. For example in Côte d’Ivoire, Facebook is a leader in mobilizing social media. Twitter comes next with regard to mobilization.

Social Justice, Cote d’Ivoire

The NGO or civic movement has to develop or use technologies that are not confusing to use. This will ensure that all layers of target groups are able to participate in the initiative or activity. It is also important to know which alternative digital technologies or methods of communication are being developed alongside the proposed digital technologies. This is to enable those without access to the proposed technologies to also participate within the initiative and by so doing, increase the overall impact of the initiative.

Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Nigeria

Consider blending offline and online technologies, since technology only serves as an enabler to the social interaction. There is also need to put in a place an action plan to execute engagements rather than ad-hoc communication (information sharing and interactions)

Odekro, Ghana

NGOs/CSOs need to utilize radio more frequently in mobilizing citizens especially those in the rural areas. They should be relentless in engaging both government and citizens on various social media platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook as these tools are gaining more traction in several African countries including Nigeria. Email can also be used for targeted campaigns.

Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), Nigeria

Civic campaigns depend on the communities you are going to be working with. Research the communities and see what works.

Organization for Women and Children, Liberia

The use of radio, especially those in local languages, are crucial to reach rural communities. This is more efficient than elitist-styled social media campaigns.

Connected Development, Nigeria

Organizations that use digital technologies for their campaigns should use social media, particularly Facebook, which is very well known by West African populations. Many young people are registered, and the platform makes it possible to reach a broader audience.

Forum de la société civile de l’Afrique de l’Ouest de Côte d’Ivoire (FOSCAO-CI), Cote d’Ivoire

Consider your audience – their literacy level and demography.

BudgIT Nigeria

Consider user needs when designing technology.

Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Nigeria

The solution should have an audio or video component that would help illiterate people to connect quickly. It is also important to use a combination of solutions (including the most traditional ones) and not limiting to one only. Technology adoption will be gradual.

Afrik Poll, Mali

4 Things to Consider When Applying for A Fellowship

In recent times, I have been asked by mentees and colleagues on what they can do to get admitted into a  fellowship program. Consequently, I have decided to put this piece together as four things to consider, if you are trying to be part of a fellowship. I have put this together in reflection of the four fellowship program I have been selected for, in the last five years (I wrote about one of them here). Do let me know if this resonates with you, and if you find this useful in your most important work. 

Purpose match. Every fellowship has its own purpose, and that purpose should match your personal career goal. In 2014, I became a School of Data Fellow. The purpose of the fellowship was to bring activist that work around data together in one place, exchange knowledge, and after one week, go back to their country to teach civil society organizations and journalists on using data to advocate for change and creating compelling stories respectively. In 2012, when I co-created Follow The Money, all campaigns were data-driven, and also that I had led more than five training focused on the same purpose for the fellowship. You can relate this to the statement of purpose or personal statement that is always requested when applying for fellowships or scholarships. So if you are applying for that fellowship, check if your personal statement or motivation will show any significant contribution you have made to your field or your community and that such contribution matches the purpose of the fellowship.

Fellowship Target. Most fellowships have a group they are targeting. The Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program at Yale University targets mid-career professionals. This means you must have had between 7 – 10 years experience in your profession. If you have just kickstarted your career, you might need to wait a bit before applying to be part of such fellowship. In mid-2015, after seven years of experience working in the social sector, I was admitted into the Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law Fellowship. It wouldn’t have been a good fit if I had applied 2 or 3 years before that time as they were looking for mid-career professionals. One way to know if the fellowship targets you, is to look at the profile of past fellows (Most fellowship programmes have past fellows profile on their website), and check to match it with yours.

Volunteer and Intern locally. If you are still thinking about how and where to get experiences, even if it is just a year experience, then I suggest you volunteer locally. You can use your volunteer experience to establish your purpose. Volunteering gives you that leverage to understand how the social sector works. If you are hardworking enough, and the organization you volunteer with got some extra resources – they might look at you first before recruiting external personnel. My first experience working with a UN agency in 2011, was brought about by initially volunteering with the Standby task force. Your volunteer prowess could be shown on your resume and in your personal statement. Just to add, when you volunteer your time and skill, request for a letter showing how much time, and a description of the work you put into the task you have accomplished. 

Recommendation. Keep relationships with your co-workers, mentors, mentees,  lecturers, bosses, and subordinates. At some point, you might need their recommendations in your proposal or application. Past fellows of fellowship programmes are also a plus if you can get them to recommend you. I do not like reaching out to them only when I need them to write a recommendation. I have created a circle of mentors (who are friends, partners, investors, colleagues, lecturers, bosses) who I share updates with, on my career, and next project. Once I encounter a fellowship that matches my goal, I quickly share the link of such opportunity with them, and ask for their thoughts on how useful such fellowship could be to my career, and if they will be willing to write a recommendation for me if they think it’s a good fit. At times, my mentors do send me fellowship opportunities. If you come highly recommended for a fellowship, you are highly likely to be selected.  

Finally, do not be deterred by refusals, keep trying and doing your good work. I have had more refusals than acceptance to fellowship programmes. There are other things to consider, I have only highlighted the once I feel is important, do let me know in the comment box if you have some other things to consider as a co-fellow. By the way, I found this a very useful resource, if you are considering your next fellowship.

8 Websites to find Scholarships for African Students

If you are from Subsaharan Africa, you need to explore the opportunities for studying abroad. I will say mainly to learn processes of proper education, share your knowledge and network. Afterwards, you should then come back and apply that knowledge back in your motherland. After all, Arabs and Europeans had at one point been in Africa to study at the University of Timbuktu, as affirmed in Hunwick and Boye’s “The Hidden Treasure of Timbuktu”. In this article, I will share websites that provide great resources that you can leverage on to apply for scholarships abroad. All the best as you wrangle through!

1. AuthorAid http://www.authoraid.info/en/

AuthorAID is a free pioneering global network that provides support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in low and middle-income countries. AuthorAID supports over 19,000 researchers in low and middle-income countries to publish and communicate their work. I like this website because it doesn’t only provide opportunities, it also provides a knowledge exchange platform for students to learn about reading and writing while sharing experiences. I will recommend this website for aspiring scholars.

2. AfricaDesk http://www.africadesk.ac.uk/pages/funding/scholarship

Africa desk highlights a number of postgraduate scholarships available to African scholars to study in the UK. Some of the scholarships are offered as part of broader schemes, which are not restricted to African students, while some are specifically for African students. 

3. Afriwide Scholarships https://www.afriwidescholarships.com/

If you are looking for information on international scholarships and fellowships, this website should interest you. Developed by an African after concluding his studies in London. The website also has links to resources on preparing and writing IELTS (International English Language Testing System exams).

4. AfterSchool Africa https://www.afterschoolafrica.com/

AfterSchool Africa is a repository of internships, fellowships and scholarships that are available to African undergraduate and graduate student. I like the fact that it has stories from past users of the website that eventually got a scholarship or fellowship. I recommend that you go through some of the testimonials, so you can be properly guided on what you need to do to secure that fellowship or scholarship. Note that there is an opt-in-page on the website, to navigate just re-enter the URL and quickly click on the available tab – voila!

5. Advance Africa.com https://www.advance-africa.com/

Advance Africa provides information on graduate and undergraduate scholarships, fellowships, grants for NGOs, and volunteer opportunities in Africa.

6. Opportunities for Africans https://www.opportunitiesforafricans.com/

The Opportunities for Africans (OFA) portal hosts opportunities such as scholarships, fellowships, internships, conferences, jobs, competitions, Volunteering and other life-changing opportunities for Africans. The OFA portal was created with the aim of helping Africans achieve their potential by seizing the latest opportunities around the Globe.

7. Opportunity Desk http://www.oppdeskblog.com/

Started in 2012, Opportunity Desk provides information on scholarships, conferences, fellowships, awards, jobs, internships, and grants for individuals and organizations worldwide. The website also has documented stories and experiences of individuals and groups that have accessed such opportunities using the website. I encourage you to read those success stories, as they will be helpful in your journey.

8. Scholarships for Development http://www.scholars4dev.com/

Scholars4dev, short for Scholarships for Development, is an updated listing of international scholarships specifically for people from developing countries, people who would like to pursue development-related fields, and people who seek global and national development through further education. I like this website because the opportunities had been categorized by countries. For example, if you are looking for an opportunity in Germany, you can just click on Germany tab. Opportunities are also categorized by level of study, a field of study and by the deadline.

In addition, you should find Rachel Strohm website useful https://rachelstrohm.com/scholarships/ and do add to the comment box if you know of some other interesting websites that provide information on scholarships for African students

The State With the Highest Cigarette Smokers in Nigeria

Only one out of every 100 men smoke a cigarette in Nigeria, while the number for the female smokers is so insignificant according to the Nigeria 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. Nevertheless, Delta state is where you are likely to find most male smokers. As they say “Warri no dey carry last! Sokoto, Edo, Oyo and Imo state trail Delta state in that order.

In Cross River state, you are likely to see more teen smokers than any state in Nigeria. So, if you are planning to work on Tobacco use and abuse, Cross River and Delta State might be a good state to start your campaign.

If you are wondering where your state of residence falls on the list, you can visualize and download all dataset by CLICKING HERE

Living in Washington DC: 5 Interesting Things about the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Reagan – Fascell Fellowship

In recent times, I have been asked about my experience as a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. In this piece, I would like to share five things that I found exciting about living in DC and the Fellowship. Yes, because you cannot take out the DC life from the fellowship, and I hope prospective and new NED fellows will benefit from these highlights. Caveat: This was my personal experience between during the winter of 2017 as a Reagan – Fascell Democracy Fellow, and I urge you to read until point 5, as I saved the best for the last. Happy reading.

1. Exploring living with a host was my best decision. While preparing for my move to DC, I was given the options of renting an apartment or living with a host. I took the latter and did not regret that. In terms of rent, I was paying a thousand dollar bucks a month at my host apartment in Woodley Park. I had access to a bathroom, a kitchen and a room, no I think room(s). My host introduced me to other networks and families in the DC area, which to me, was the most important part of my fellowship – nothing else. Giving out cookies for treats on Halloween, and making pies and turkey for the family on Thanksgiving was a super memoir. When my family came visiting DC, they were super helpful in advising on where to go for family events and family gatherings.

2. Planning for your project. “I wanted to write a handbook,” I told Sally during our initial meeting on my plan on my fellowship project. She responded that writing a book within your few months here might not be feasible but that nevertheless if I want to go ahead, I should draw up an action plan on how to achieve that within the next five months. Before leaving for DC, I already had an outline for the handbook, and I just had to work on drafting a plan and working with my research assistant to get the work done. Yes, I had a super cool research assistant, who helped in proofreading my excerpts and writing notes during meetings. I finished writing the manuscript of the book in the third month. Of course, there was 24 hours of power, access to a million + resources, and it was during the winter cold. No brainer, having an action plan did the work – Voila!

3. The upcoming policy events for the week. On Monday mornings, I always get a policy event in DC email from NED highlighting the list of policy events that will happen in DC during the week. Looking at those events, it reaffirmed to me that DC was the capital of the world. The policy events were organized for top policy discussions around continents in the world. As a fellow, you will also be privileged to hold a policy event at NED. My event was titled – Decaying Institutions: How Corruption Undermines Democracy in Nigeria. Want to know about what’s brewing in Africa, there is a dialogue or discussion about it. Think of any continent – there is always a policy event about that continent. I enjoyed attending a few of them at the Atlantic Council, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, The OpenGovHub, The Brookings Institute, and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP). This gave me the opportunity to network with scholars and practitioners who were interested in my work, and to also explore possible ways of collaboration. Of course, I am currently consulting with one of the organizations I encountered during the policy events. Absolutely, your network is your net worth – no be lie!

4. Fellowship Brown bags and museums in DC. There was at least one brown bag every week. A Brown bag is an informal one hour knowledge sharing on a topic during lunchtime. Brown bags are organized for fellows or past fellows who are in DC, NED staff or the NED leadership. There are more than thirty museums in DC. During my fellowship, I was able to visit twelve. Top on my list was the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Hirshhorn National Museum of Modern Art and the recently opened Museum of the Bible. Most of the museums in DC are free, so feel free to explore one every weekend. NED Fellows do visit other places of interest in DC, at least two places in a month. The visit to the Library of Congress remains the most memorable, aside from the visit to the African American History museum. Ask me why? I think The Library of Congress houses the history of America, and if you have a knowledgeable tour guide, he will give you an insight into the history of America within three hours.

5. Some other important stuff. The fellowship activities were engaging but I still find time to involve myself in other “extra – fellowship activities”. For instance, I was at the Hip Hop Institute for three weekends to learn Hip Hop culture and Graffiti. There are other exciting stuff in DC you could learn as well during the fellowship. At Politics and Prose, you could hang out with book lovers to listen to book readings. Aha, one last thing, do not leave DC without hanging out at Busboys and Poets – it will leave your eyes, ears and tummies with such a unique experience. So what about the fellowship pay? To be frank, some were shy in asking this, but I think it’s very important as you will need it to pay bills and live the American dream – that’s if you have one. Total payment for the fellowship was US$28,500. Pay per month was 4,700 bucks but you always get around 4,017 bucks in your bank account at the end of the month owing to the tax deduction. When you arrive in DC for the fellowship, you will get a check by the end of the 2nd week of your arrival and your monthly payment at the end of that month. Happy Savings (Spend less!)

This was my fourth fellowship in five years, and I think this was the most useful because it allowed me to develop a product, interact with the American culture, network with people, reflect on my past work, and was a perfect segway for my launch to academics.

Which State in Nigeria do Women give birth at home (the most)?

According to the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS, 2013), 9 out of every 10 women in Sokoto and Zamfara deliver their child at home. Also, it is highly unlikely that a woman will deliver a child, in a private hospital in – Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Katsina and Kano. Interact with the visualization here and found out the facility that is most used by women to deliver a child in your state.

Oludotun Babayemi

The chart above shows the Percent distribution of live births between 2008 and 2012 delivered at home and in private hospital, according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS),2013.

It is highly likely that you will deliver your baby at home if you are from the North Western region of Nigeria, with Sokoto and Zamfara State having the highest percentage of home deliveries. Click To Tweet

Twenty-three percent of deliveries occur in public sector facilities, and 13 percent occur in private sector facilities. Sixty-three percent of births are delivered at home in Nigeria. It is highly likely that you will deliver your baby at home if you are from the North Western region of Nigeria, with Sokoto and Zamfara State having the highest percentage of home deliveries. It is unlikely to give birth at home if you are from the South Eastern region of Nigeria with Imo State having the least percentage of home deliveries.

Get full visualization and data here

The WhatsApp Generation

[This post is an excerpt from Accountability Technologies, my recently published handbook]

In the second quarter of 2018, popular messaging application WhatsApp achieved 450 million daily active users and it is becoming a favourite technology tool to mobilize citizens and form groups across borders. In 2017, all activists I interviewed in West Africa, for the handbook on Accountability Technologies confirmed that this is becoming a great new tool to mobilize citizens. However, it can be daunting getting citizens and government on the same platform as alluded by Abdul from Network Movement for Democracy and Human Right (NMDH) in Sierra Leone. On NMDH community service delivery project, they added government and Civil Society Organization (CSO) members to a WhatsApp group to exchange information on what concerned government officials can quickly respond to, as it regards service delivery in the health sector. After sometimes, the government officials on the platform had to leave because of false information shared.

Before the 2015 elections in Nigeria, I was able to coordinate 879 election observers in 26 states of the country using WhatsApp as one of the reporting tools for our Ushahidi platform. The WhatsApp group were created for the 26 states, while coordinators were chosen to lead the administration of each group. Police Monitor, an initiative of the Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN) uses its WhatsApp group to mobilize journalists and activists to hold the police in Nigeria accountable for human rights abuses. The WhatsApp group also had police officials who responded to these abuses. The initiative has since moved to Telegram, as WhatsApp could not contain its over 250+ members. In 2016, when CODE’s Follow The Money was initiating the decentralization of its campaigns, it piloted communications with members using WhatsApp. A group was created by regions for members. After piloting this for 4 months, it became chaotic, as knowledge was lost, and new members couldn’t have access to initiate conversations. The WhatsApp groups have been closed, while the architecture has been transferred to a niche network.

Creating groups on WhatsApp can be frustrating for the administrators, but these simple steps could make it easy to use to meet your objectives. Just in case you have more tips, feel free to put them in the comment box.

  1. Know the objective of setting up the groups and write down your rules of engagement on the team based on this goal. It is essential to think through what you will achieve with your group, to reduce distractions.
  2. Create a Code of Conduct. This can be used as a binding agreement between intending members and your organization. CODE’s Follow The Money has a Code of conduct for its 1000+ members.
  3. Before adding people to the WhatsApp group, inform them about your objective and that you will like to add them to your team. This will allow you to communicate your objective to them, and get feedback from people that will decline.
  4. Add those that agreed to be on the platform and then post guidelines and rules of engagement.
  5. As the creator of the group, you must be ready to engage members on issues related to your objective. Set the tone. Some teams fix a time in a week to discuss accountability issues, while another post can be a discussion of the critical problems related to the group objective. Some choose a day for general topics. Most WhatsApp groups are distractions, scheduling conversations could be more fruitful than a free to post at any time, anything – group.
  6. WhatsApp can be used to spread rumours and fake news swiftly, always verify images, text and videos that are posted using tools like Google Images and TinEye.
  7. Introduce Perks or Badges, members of your group will be encouraged to discuss better. The Police Monitor Group in Nigeria announces Birthday Greetings for members.
  8. Whenever you add new participants, send the rules and guidelines immediately.
  9. Have two or three more administrators that can help in moderating discussions on the platform.
  10. Democratize the process by requesting a vote for administrators in the coming year. It is a way to show leadership, and show you support participatory democratic systems.
  11. Encourage members to use emojis on a post sent in by members. It will encourage members to post and facilitates more discussions.

Misinformation and Alternative Facts in our Brave New World!

At the beginning of 2018, I embarked on a 26 – day ethnography study, to know the number of fake news that is shared within WhatsApp groups that I belong. The results were shocking and worrying – at least, 3 different unverified and fake news is been shared within 2 days, in six groups. That’s 18 fake stories within 2 days, and 234 fake stories within the 26 days. What is more worrying is that the target groups were civil society activist group. Today alone, you might have received tens to hundreds of WhatsApp messages, Facebook Posts, and Twitter Messages. It is highly likely that some of those messages might be unverifiable and false, most times – false alarm. So what about those from the mainstream media – TV, Radio, and Newspapers? They are complicit as well, but owing to their regulation, false information from them might not spread as fast as information dissemination medium that is internet based. As changemakers, in our various domains, we have the civic duty to verify information and use evidence-based information to engage critically. This article is about strategies you can use to halt the spread of false and unverified news. A society should not be built on propaganda, false alarms and untrue information, but by critical thinking and evidence-based discussions.

How Fake News Spread on WhatsApp
One of the WhatsApp Group when a fake news was posted. I normally respond with a Fake News Alert and reasons why the story should not be trusted.

False news, misinformation and propaganda has lived with us since the beginning of the world, through the medieval age, and the renaissance time.  Noam Chomsky’s classic – Manufacturing Consent, gave a detailed picture of how countries, organizations, and individuals have utilized propaganda as a tool to suppress and misinform rivals. It has become more ubiquitous because of the proliferation of the internet. As of today, there are 3.9 billion internet users. That’s about a 42% increase in people using the internet in just three years. The social media gains 840 new users each minute. Since 2013, the number of Tweets each minute has increased 58% to more than 455,000 Tweets per minute in 2017. Since 2013, the number of Facebook Posts shared each minute has increased 22%, from 2.5 Million to 3 million posts per minute in 2016. This number has increased more than 300 per cent, from around 650,000 posts per minute in 2011!

Remember, you are the first line of defence against false information. When you see one, stop it, and give reasons why the story should not be trusted. Together, we can halt the spread!

Strategies to shield yourself from false Information, Stories, or News (Culled from How to Spot Fake News)

1. Consider the source. Are you familiar with the source? Is it Legitimate? Has it been legitimate in the past? If not, you may not want to trust it. If it is a WhatsApp message with no source included, ask for the source of the information from the poster.

2. Read beyond the headline. if the headline is provocative, read all the write – up before passing along the information. Even when the information is legitimate, the headline might not tell the whole story. For example, “Jonathan Bribed lawmakers with 17 billion Naira to pass the budget – Okonjo Iweala”. That is a provocative headline, which ends up untrue.

Also, there are some screaming headlines designed to pull a fast one on the reader. These posts are designed to encourage clicks and generate money for the creator through ad revenue, but they aren’t news.

3. Check the Author’s credential. If it was sent to you without an author, ask the sender who the author was. You can then look up the Author’s name using Google Search.

4. What’s the support sources? Many times, false news or stories will cite official – or official sounding sources, but once you look into it, the source doesn’t back up the claim. For example, there is a false news that the state house budgeted 70 million for the presidency haircut in the Nigeria 2018 budget, but if you check the 2018 approved budget details, Page 118 which has the statehouse budget have nothing of such in the budget line.

5. Double Check the Reference or Source Given. Some false information is not completely fake, but a distortion of real events. They take legitimate stories and twist it, or even claim that something that happened long ago is related to current events. Recently, there was a news that former minister of finance, Okonjo Iweala, in her new book – Fighting Corruption is Dangerous, The Story Behind the Headlines said Jonathan bribed the National Assembly before they could pass the 2015 budget. However, if you flip to Page 80 of the book, where you have a related story, it was not true.

 6. Check your biases. Confirmation bias leads people to put more stock in information that confirms their beliefs and discount information that doesn’t. The next time you are automatically appalled at some social media post concerning, say a politician you oppose, take a moment to check it out. Try this:

What other stories have been posted to the news website that is the source of the story that just popped up in your social media feed? You may be predisposed to believe a story about a politician you don’t like but if the alleged news site also features a story about a football match involving India and Nigeria that ended 99 – 0 in favour of India maybe you should think twice before sharing. And that’s actually a fake news that has been around since the 80’s 😉

7.  Consult the Experts. We know you are busy, and some of this verification takes time. But fact checkers get paid to this kind of work. Contact them at http://africacheck.org ; https://www.snopes.com/

Which West African Government Spends the Most on her Citizen?

The Gambia, with a population of 203,850 spends the most per person – calculated at US$1,867 per person in 2016. In 2016, it had an estimated budget of US$380 million, just 128 million more than Guinea Bissau, which has the least budget of US$ 252 million.

Government spending in West Africa
Full Data available at https://public.tableau.com/shared/2FC9776MB?:display_count=yes

Guinea Bissau with US$1359 per person and Cape Verde with US$797 per person have the second and third position of country government spending the most on her citizens respectively. Does this mean when you have a country with fewer people, your expenditure per person will be high? Yes!

Let’s compare Ghana and Nigeria. Ghana is the second most populated country in West Africa with 28 million people, while Nigeria is the most populated with 185 million people. Nigeria’s budget (US$23 billion) is a double of what Ghana budgets (US$ 11 billion) for its people. Notwithstanding, Ghana with US$ 425 is the fourth country that her government spends, the most, on her citizen, while Nigeria hangs at the bottom, fourth from the last spending US$125 per person.

Ref: [ Click to download XLS version of data