University of Winchester

ABSTRACTS /Tosin Orogun

Implementing Faith-Driven Social Change

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.

Biographical Statement

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, Washington, DC.


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