‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children…’ Nelson Mandela
Late last year a video clip of a woman physically abusing a child went very viral.
Immediately and characteristically, the society went for the jugular of the woman. The first response was, she was wicked. That was followed by she must be arrested and prosecuted.
Yes, also characteristic of the state to respond to such populist noise and agitation, the woman was fished out. She was given a social media trial and subjected to public humiliation.
Uhuru! Justice has been served. Deterrence has been instituted. Case closed and serve her right!
Yet, neither the accusers of the suspected woman nor her arresters addressed the tree that produced the fruit, known as the publicised abuse and the roots, upon which it firmly stands.
We seem not to be aware that fruits do not exist without trees and trees do not exist without roots.
We forget that it is a futile and not too wise effort to always gather to express anger, threatening fire and brimstone against a detested fruit and the bearer until we conceive and implementation a strategic plan to either disable the tree from producing fruits or uprooting same all together.
It seems to me that both the general members of the society and those who specialise in defending the rights of children commit one fundamental errors in addressing the plight of the average Third World child:
We do not situate the state of the child and his/her caregivers within the state of the society in which the child is being raised.
We often look at his/her state in isolation of the social, economic and political situation of the country in which the child is being raised.
The tragedy of the foregoing is that history has shown that any advocacy or Social Empowerment Agenda of any type that does not carefully situate its objectives and solutions within the social, political and economic of the society in which the advocate and the beneficiaries live WILL NOT achieve its objectives.
Such isolated advocacy have been reputed to achieve at least seven negative effects:
First It becomes a parasitic social endeavour, which always wait in the fring to latch on a popular incidents to make some noise and keep its relevance afloat. In this age and time and social media, this has a very veritable and profitable adventure for those who use this.
Needless to say that this opportunistic and sensetional and does not in anyway serve the interests of the beneficiaries, whose interests he advocates claims to represent.
Second, the advocates become the direct beneficiaries of their own advocacy. This is what I call misappropriation of benefits. They reap social and economic benefits from their advocacy or Social Empowerment Agenda, while the cause they claim to represent remain stagnant or retrogressive and fortunes of the people they claim to speak are plunged into the abyss of deterioration. They become professional agitators, with this slogan, ‘the struggle continues.’ Yes, the struggle must continue because it is a source of livelihood.
Third, the people for whom the advocacy is embarked upon are demobilised from participating in their own social and economic emancipation. They are by the false security of the fact that they are been represented by a group of people to outsource their social destiny into the hands of their social saviours. You hear them say for example, ‘if Nigeria have 10 people like so and so Social Advocates or Social Empowerment Agendists, the fate of the Nigerian children and parents will be far better today.’
Fourth, sensationalsim of involvement in social solutions dispensary. The advocates or Social Empowerment Agendist are in the habits of gathering people at different paying and free programs, tagged seminars, rallies, symposia. At this programs all the solutions to their social situations of the participants are heaped on them as attainable through personal efforts. A lot of time they are not told that social problems are a reflection of the social, economic and political state and the roles they have to play in addressing that in addition to the recommended personal efforts.
For example, I, in fact think that the first in the hierarchy of personal efforts in Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for Children is for primary and secondary caregivers to be empowered to become socially conscious enough that the Nigerian State has a huge responsibility to play and we must all, through peaceful, engaging, strategic, result-oriented and consistent advocacy call attention of the functionaries of the State(‘elected’ and appointed) to same.
The danger of effect, enumerated in the immediate paragraph, people leave these programs charged, grateful and ready to implement the delievered solutions but they soon discovered there is more to solving social problems than a do-it-yourself approach, built on the faulty fulcrum of ‘everyone to himself and God for us all.’
Fifth the natural consequence(s) of an isolated advocacy is barrenness in the promised objectives and the impact is that people get used to living with their social problems and even accepting them as norms and building their lives around it as fait accompli.
Our space is far spent and I will bring the rest of the effects and the solutions I propose, using the case in hand as a final template…
Do have an INSPIRED rest of the year.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees in this LORD’s day, doing SOCIAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY.
(C) 2019 by Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI…All Rights Reserved
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