Spaces for Change at 10, recommits to championing citizens’ civic participation in governance, economic, environmental justice
…also in the forefront of strong advocacy against closing civic space in Nigeria by the authorities
Raised from an online discussion forum on Facebook social networking site in May 2011, and now transformed to a highly-respected advocacy organization with two offices in Lagos and Owerri, Imo State, SPACES FOR CHANGE | S4C is commemorating its decade-long existence.
A statement given to Persecondnews.com said: “It’s been ten years of solid impact, of building new knowledge and of providing levers for steering policy and systemic reforms.
“SPACES FOR CHANGE | S4C started in May 2011 as an online discussion forum on Facebook social networking site with an objective to provide a coordinated platform for young Nigerian professionals to engage in informed debates about social and economic policies and programs in Nigeria.
“It capitalized on the accessibility of the social media to promote civic participation, especially of young people in democratic governance, while reinforcing the philosophy of youth engagement in critical issues bordering on economic justice, housing and urban development, environmental justice, and national security.
“Tapping the volunteer resources and professional networks developed in the online community, S4C was registered in March 2012 and has since then, transitioned from a Facebook discussion group into a highly-respected advocacy organization with two offices in Lagos and Owerri, Imo State.’’
Run by a five-member board with a healthy balance in favour of women, S4C’s board members are renowned experts in diverse fields — medicine, law, energy and human rights.
Among its achievements in the last 10 years, S4C has been reputed for leading rigorous research investigations characterized by in-depth analytical quality and objectivity.
S4C’s research action majoring on the organization’s four major thematic areas — energy, civic space, gender inclusion and housing matters — has exposed human rights injustices as well as the gaps between policy and practice.
It has also proffered forward-thinking and reflective recommendations that have formed the basis for sectoral advocacy, policy development and reforms, media analysis, business and investment decisions.
“S4C’s journey tells a compelling story of the transformation of raw passion into a powerful tool for social change. Ten years ago, we created a dream that demanded strength, dedication, and purpose.
“The rigorous researches, policy analysis, legislative engagements, online exchanges, stakeholder alliances, and public advocacy we have done in the past eight years represent both a glimpse of that dream and a peep into the future of the organization.
‘’Ecstatically, Spaces for Change also stated: “With the deepest joy and excitement, we are very proud of the many and great tasks we have accomplished in a short time.
“The greatest of our achievements is the growing number of passive citizens, especially the youth and marginalized populations we work with, who have suddenly found their voice, and now firmly understand that they are active participants in decision-making and nation-building. ‘’
It expressed the appreciation of the Board and staff of S4C to its numerous partners, donors, volunteers, allies, corporations, networks and supporters online and offline for buying into the organization’s vision, supporting its core mission over the years, and walking together with us to become stronger and achieve greater milestones.
“Without you, there is no us. Although a lot has been done, we recognize that more work lies ahead. And together with all of you, we must trudge forward, ever hopeful of a better tomorrow.’’
Meanwhile, Mr Femi Soneye, the Publisher of Persecondnews.com, an online publication headquartered in U.S. and Abuja, has felicitated Spaces for Change on the milestone.
“Congratulations Vic! S4C over the years has effectively addressed the ills of the community! I’m glad to have followed your works. S4C has been in so many important fights at such a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s history.
“The community benefits when good people do good things to bend the arc. You have grown to this stage and won tough fights cos’ of you and the team’s passionate and committed strategic savvy and the drive to deliver results that matter at every opportunity, every day.
“May God continue to uplift you and take S4C to greater heights,’’ Soneye said in a message to the Executive Director, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri.
Soneye, who described Victoria as a woman of integrity and highly cerebral with a knack for details, commended her capacity for piloting the affairs of the organization.
“We are delighted to be associated with you, more power.’’