NYSC and Earth Charter start a strategic partnership in Nigeria

The Earth Charter was presented to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) of Nigeria during a meeting organized by Earth Charter supporters (Yakubu Joseph from Earth Charter Nigeria and several members of YEDI – Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative), held on 3 February 2009. 


In Nigeria, all people under the age of thirty years graduating from universities and tertiary institutions with degrees or degree equivalent, have to serve a compulsory one year national assignment with NYSC. These graduates are posted to States different from their states of origin to interact with graduates of other institutions, learn the cultures of their places of primary assignment and contribute to the overall development of the community they are serving in. NYSC program starts with a 3 week orientation camp, where civic values and life skills are taught.


For ECI, approaching NYSC was of great importance because of their huge reach throughout Nigeria, one of the most populous countries in Africa.  The meeting was a great success because it resulted on an expressed interest from NYSC to use the Earth Charter in their orientation programs.  Nonetheless, it was decided to start with just one State. So, Plateau State was chosen to test NYSC/Earth Charter Project, which will eventually be scaled up to cover other parts of the country.


Earth Charter Nigeria and YEDI took up the responsibility of piloting the NYSC/ Earth Charter Project, by preparing for the sensitization lectures to introduce the Earth charter to the NYSC members and from there select 60 volunteers that will constitute a project team to coordinate actives of the project. The sensitization lecture, delivered by Mr Martins Gumut (Programme Coordinator of YEDI), was held on March 11, 2009 followed by the inception training that was held on the 12th and 13th of March 2009.


Three-thousand youth from NYSC participated in this lecture, in addition to members of YEDI, and Center for Peace Advancement in Nigeria (CEPAN).


In his presentation, Martins explained what the Earth Charter is, its origins, and went on its content, discussing the meaning of each principle with the participants. Each participant was able to get a copy of the Earth Charter. At the end of the lecture, 60 volunteers were selected to constitute the Earth Charter Project Team in Plateau State.  This Project Team has started implementing some activities…


Full reports on the activities with NYSC, YEDI and Earth Charter can be found here:  http://ecyg.wikispaces.com/Nigeria_YEDI