Ogaga Maxwell held a special democracy and participation workshop for physically challenged people in Warri on the 25th July 2009. The workshop was part of the Pass -it- on component of the Democracy Series: Participation - Learning and Active Youths (DESPLAY). DESPLAY is an initiative of Youngstars Development Initiative (Youngstars Foundation) Jos, funded by NED Washington DC – USA .(DESPLAY) is knowledge based and an activity oriented youth program that brings together youths from different places to deepen their democracy knowledge and foster active youth participation in good governance processes. Since 2005, DESPLAY has directly trained over 250 youths from Nigeria and Ghana, and over 2000 youths indirectly through her peer education component called Passing it On. A DESPLAY session comprises (3) semesters of training, scheduled to take place every 3 or 4 months. That is, three (3) semesters in a year. Each semester last four (4) days and has two (2) phases. DESPLAY semester 1 focuses on “Understanding Democracy and Good Governance”. Where concepts of democracy, regime types, issues of democratization in Nigeria and other Africa countries are meticulously engaged. While semester 2 focuses on “Participation”. Exploring what participation means to young people, what are our best strategic points of entry or getting involved, what are available tools of engagement among others. And semester 3 focuses on “Leadership and Aspiration” with special emphasis on how leadership impacts modern governance, vis-à-vis values hinged on character, ethics, vision, stewardship, followership, and model examples among others. The purpose is to conduct a step-in mini training within 8 weeks of attending a DESPLAY Semester for members of the State PiO Team, with the aim of passing the lessons learnt from DESPLAY semesters to other youths who were not opportune to attend.
The Physically challenged people were very happy to attend the democracy workshop and were alarmed at their indirect exclusion from being voted for in the current electoral reform. In meet the leader segment of the workshop, they met with Mr Nelson Radio present in Warri who inspired them that despite their physically challenges their mind is not challenged.
The participant reviewed the electoral; reform document given by the IRI during the Illorin workshop and shared their thoughts and concern, they were inspired to engage more in the democratic process of the state at their various level and most of them were inspired to attend DESPLAY programme in the upcoming year.
It was a great experience sharing conducting a meeting for physically challenged, we had two ladies who had to be carried into the venue as they could not walk ,cripples and those on crutches were present. But most importantly they are people who need to be touched in our society. Most of them are used to people using them to get money but here they were presented with a bigger picture of capacity building and that made all the difference.