Digital tools have become integral component of almost all organisations – governmental, non-governmental, corporate etc. Likewise, advocacy campaigns by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are gradually shifting from the traditional platforms; to social media networks. And some of the most-utilised digital communication, information sharing and advocacy platforms include websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and SMS. Over the years, the Kano-based Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has been engaged in building the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and journalists on how to exploit social media networks as cogent platforms for the promotion of their various advocacy campaigns.

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Sufyan Lawal Kabo and Shehu Usman Salihu

 On 9/12/13, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) with support from SAVI organized a 2-day Social Media training for advocacy training for CSOs at the State Library Dutse, Jigawa State. 28 members (17 Male, 11Female) from various Civil Society Organizations attended the workshop, these organizations were: PMP, BASNEC Bauchi State, PTE, GSI, HERFON, MNCH, MNEH, and CLO.

The specific objectives of the workshop was:

  • To improve the capacity of the participants on how to use social media for advocacy, information sharing, and mobilize a group of concerned people around an issue or cause. 
  • To improve knowledge of the participants on social media as communication tools, to enhance their capacity on the use of social media for advocacy to promote the social media for advocacy and promote the capacity of the CSOs to use social media for organizational management.  

After the Opening prayer was observed by a volunteer among the participants,SAVI’s Programme Officer, Mrs. Jummaiset the context for the training byoutlining the background of the workshop. In her Opening remarks, she welcomed the participants and introductions were made by all.CITAD’s M&E Officer, Malam Isyaku Garba gave brief objectives of the workshop. In his remarks, Garbasatetd that in order to re-direct this energy and potentials to transform society, there is need to strategically engage the use of social media for specific socially identified goal such as the campaign for peace.  Doing this requires building of a core of social media activists who would consciously engage the use of social media toward a defined goal. Civil society organizations provide a natural depository of this possible core of social media activists.

It was therefore decided to sensitize and train a number of CSOs with a view to getting them to contribute through use of social media for such noble causes as the campaign for peace and against violence. These trained CSO activists could then provide the base for amplifying and multiply the messages of the campaigns across all the various dimensions of the social media.

The workshop he said was specifically designed and developed for that purpose.

The workshop has assumed that users are already ICT literate. The approach adaption- is how CSOs can strategically deploy social media for advocacy purpose and campaign purposes. The training is therefore focused on

The workshop consists of 2 units including the introduction. While introductory unit provides an exposure on the various dimensions of social media, the other unit was designed in the form of hands-on skills impacting sessions.

After his remarks, the ground rules were set and the training commenced.

The first session UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA was taken by Sufyan Lawal Kabo. In it, he defined Social Media, types of Social Media and the statistic on social media patent growth. The presentation extensively exposed the participants to Social Media and a range of innovative examples of qualitative and mixed methodsused in evaluation.These innovative lessons provided opportunities for the participants,thus made them to question the presenter on how they can explore the methods in their own contexts.

Shehu Usman Salihu took the second session which was on use of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube in theory. He took each one and explained its origin, its uses and how it could be used.

 The third session was on EVALUATING SOCIAL MEDIA by Sufyan Lawal Kabo. The participants learnt the Evaluation procedures; what needs to be evaluated at the beginning, mid-term and end of a program and the methodology to be used.

The second day also featured three presentations during the morning session. These were PLANNING SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY, BUILDING UP FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS by Mal. Isyaku Garba and understanding Twitter by Shehu Usman Salihu.

After the aforementioned presentations, the participants were taken through hands-on practical on facebook, twitter and YouTube all facilitated by Shehu Usman Salihu which carried them through Setting up their personal accounts, Managing profiles, Twitter handles as well as groups and pages. The practical also featured on various skills for the use of these tools such as sending messages, uploading pictures/videos, adding friends, deleting posts, placing picture, video conferencing and permanent deletion accounts, etc.

The last session, HOW SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PEACE CAMPAIGN CAN BE USED BYCSOS was facilitated by Mal. Isyaku Garba. The participants went through specific examples of use of social media for peace campaign in different areas.

There was an incredible amount of listening, learning, and enthusiasm during the presentations.Finally, the participants thanked CITAD /SAVI and MacArthur for organizing and conducting the training. In their comments, they showed their appreciation in terms of overall knowledge gained and practical application. Comments on the evaluation forms include: excellent, effective, and fantastic,”while some said the visit to them served as a vital catalyst in the reformulation of theirorganizations because it has launched them into a new planning orbit.

The participants were extensively exposed to the use of social network, how to sign up on facebook, twitter, and YouTube accounts, sharing activities on social networks, create awareness online etc.

At the end of the program, Malam Haruna Adamu Hadejia from SAVI gave the closing remarks. In it, he thanked both the participants and facilitators. The workshop closed with a closing prayer by a volunteer from the participants.