My name is Olubunmi Aivoji. I live in Badagry and I am proudly an Activista. Before the coronavirus pandemic, I worked as an accountant in Badagry town. However, since April when the lockdown began, my organization has been implementing the no-work-no-pay policy. Since, then, I have dedicated myself and my time to protect my community from COVID-19.
After the virtual training organized by ActionAid Nigeria through its local partner Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFPPED) for youths of Aivoji community on COVID-19, the precautionary measures, myths and facts of the virus, w were all expected to take charge and resensitise members of the community. However, I realized, that people were not taking the learning seriously and it bothered me. So, equipped with knowledge from HUFFPED, I decided it was time to spread the word, protect my community, my family, and ultimately myself.
Masked up, I began going from house to house within my community telling them the coronavirus is not a joke, letting households know, they have to stay indoors, keep good hygiene, mask up when leaving their houses, wash their hands regularly and practice physical distancing.
Aivoji is a community by the beachside, so tourists and some churches often visit the beach for fun and to pray. I figured, continued access to the beach, which is within our community further increases our exposure, so I sought approval from the village head to restrict non-residents of the community from coming in. Gladly, this was approved immediately!
With Aivoji borders closed to visitors, the onus was now on us to protect ourselves and I needed the youths to work with me. I began mobilizing the youths that were trained by HUFPPED/ActionAid to work with me to sensitise our residents. I shared confirmed stories from credible news outlets with them, I shared figures obtained from NCDC with them. I had to use the fear tactic, it was at this time, the youths began seeing the seriousness of the pandemic.
We created a WhatsApp group where we share real-time information about happenings in the community. On the WhatsApp group, we allocated roles to members such as the monitoring team who goes around houses to check if anyone was feeling sick or showing any COVID-19 symptoms, this team also ensure there were no social gatherings within the community. We also had the sensitization team who also went around to remind people of precautionary measures to stay safe.
Although, I was not earning an income, I felt better using my time to protect my community and ultimately myself.
The youths in Aivoji community are working together to stop the spread of COVID-19 and I believe that is the true spirit of an Activista.
Activista is a global youth network using creative and global campaigning to mobilize young people around issues like tax justice, land grabbing and making cities safe for women and girls. The Activista network is hosted by ActionAid, but the driving force is thousands of volunteers in over 20 countries. Using social media and other tools, it is also a space for global discussions amongst activists to improve capacity to organise and mobilise youth.