The Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) organized the third in a series of trainings for new civil society organization (CSO) members from August 8 – 9, 2017 at the Rockview Royale Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja. Twenty (20) new CSOs from various states in the country – Anambra, Benue, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Lagos and Niger States – became the latest beneficiaries of the training on immunization advocacy.
National Convener of WAVA, Dr Chizoba Wonodi, began proceedings with a welcome remark and enumerated the objectives and expected outcomes of the training. She expressed delight at the growing number of members to the coalition and stated that WAVA was nationally recognized in the area of advocacy for immunization. She therefore encouraged participants to fully partake in the training and begin engaging in activities for immunization advocacy, in order to gain increased relevance in the health sector.
Speaking on the lecture ‘Advocacy 101’, Mr. Ayo Ipinmoye enlightened the new recruits on tried and tested methods to improve advocacy for immunization. He emphasized that advocacy aims to change policy at the level of key influencers. Other lectures were presented by members of the WAVA Secretariat on topics including Overview of immunization program and its funding in Nigeria, Overview of the common vaccine preventable diseases, Vaccine as a life-saving commodity, and Data Sourcing & Monitoring and Evaluation. This round, new training modules on immunization budget tracking and the effective use of social media for advocacy, were added to the program package.
Participants also took part in a group work session to carry out a stakeholder mapping and analysis for the development of an advocacy plan for immunization financing at the state level. Members of the press were also invited to take part in a panel discussion on the role of media and film as effective tools for advocacy.
On day two, older coalition members teamed up with their new comrades to take part in WAVA’s maiden annual general meeting (AGM). The AGM expounded the tenets and objectives of the WAVA coalition and sought to strengthen the Secretariat’s and members’ functioning, effectiveness, synergy and commitment to the cause of advocacy for immunization financing and equitable access to vaccines. Special invitee to the AGM was Policy Advisor at the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Mrs. Chioma Osuji. Mrs. Osuji – who represented a CSO coalition of over 600 members – shared experiences on how to build a coalition over time, highlighting success elements, best practices and success models to adopt.
In total, the event witnessed 47 participants from 33 new and existing CSO members from 14 states, including the FCT. Trained members were expected to carry out step-down trainings for staff members in their various organizations. Media coverage of the occasion was conducted with nine media organizations including the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Silverbird Television (STV) and Inclusive Press.