Implementing Faith-Driven Social Change takes a look at our faith-based
tobacco control initiative, which took advantage of the cultural
diversity and the volatile religious makeup of the Nigerian population
for positive tobacco control messaging. This initiative focused
on faith leaders as agents of tobacco control, through messaging
in cultural and moral context. More than 80% of the 140 million
population of Nigeria are devoted members a religious faith. The
leaders in these faiths have great moral control over the actions
of their followers.
The initiative focused on educating the faith leaders about tobacco,
exposing them to facts about the health hazards of tobacco use.
Efforts were made to encourage the faith leaders to provide us access
to their followers, thereby giving us more coordinated audience
of the more vulnerable population.
85% of the faith leaders were ignorant of the health risks in tobacco
use. 60% of them agreed to educate their followers about the dangers
in tobacco, using religious and moral appeal. Over 85% of the followers,
stated that they are willing to quit smoking. Our scope was limited
to one religion in the northern Nigeria. This is a model that will
work with World Development and/or Social Regeneration in any Religiously
Volatile Background like Nigeria, and in most developing countries.
What this means is that, developing new strategies for social change
in our communities, using existing faiths, is imperative for the
achievement of our goals for Social Change.
With the continuous global expansion of the efforts
in social re-generation in our communities, ideas and experience
sharing, has become an invaluable tool. Learning new ways, and practical
approaches, that have proved effective in similar environment, which
can be seamlessly replicated is too invaluable.
I am a Public Health Educator, with journalism background.
As a Journalist, I practiced in Ghana and Nigeria, while reporting
also along the west Africa. I have worked closely with communities,
especially on development issues, and the initiative stated above
is one of our new strategies at driving social change, right through
to the Grass root.
I have attended several conferences and training
workshops, including the International Training for Youth Advocates
in East Hanover, New Jersey, where we also protested at the 2005
Altria Shareholders' meeting. I actually got to attend the Altria
Shareholders' meeting, where I asked their CEO, Louis Camileri question
on the company's global expansion program. I was a speaker (including
a major session on Global partnership) at the 2005 National Conference
on Tobacco on Health, in Chicago. Guest Speaker at the Second Annual
Spit Tobacco Summit in Casper, Wyoming. I will be speaking also
at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Washington, DC, in
July 2006. I am a member of Global Partnership for Tobacco Control,