SPACES FOR CHANGE | S4C is pleased to announce new funding from USAID’s Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) project to support its slum advocacy work. SPACES FOR CHANGE has been leading the frontline campaign to address the recurrent threats of urban violence and forced displacement in slums and informal communities in Nigeria. For instance, S4C’s free legal representation to Ijora Badia community (affected by recurrent forced evictions ordered by successive administrations of Lagos State), coupled with its facilitation of the high-level engagement and negotiation between several agencies of the Lagos State government and Badia evictees attests to the organization’s commitment to ensure that powerful economic interests by state and private actors do not overrun the rights of local people.
The support from USAID-SACE will enable SPACES FOR CHANGE to deploy a combination of information technology and traditional community organizing methods to empower slum communities to assert their presence, concerns and uniqueness within the urban space; make input to policy discussions and successfully advocate for policy reforms that work for them – creating an approach that can be scaled up to other communities. In terms of strategy, the project, named Ifesowapo, will primarily will merge the use of trans-media tools and programs with a participatory action research approach to build target group’s capacity to challenge and shift hegemonic narratives about slumdwellers while creating a space for systemic inquiry and amplification of local knowledge.
This grant support emboldens the organization’s resolve to challenge the dominant narrative depicting the poor, and the slums where they live, as havens of criminality. State authorities often use this narrative as a justification to evict and displace poor and marginalized communities, exclude them from decision-making, and the state’s urban renewal interventions. The project is informed by an understanding of the conflicted interface between disenchanted citizens and state urban governance systems and an explicit request from various community groups that SPACES FOR CHANGE craft a response to the community struggles for land resources, urban violence and human rights violations in Ijora Badia and Ebutte Metta communities in Lagos Mainland.