In a world where people largely mind their own businesses in the midst of violence, insurgency, health deficiency and all forms of unrest, civic engagement has been simply put to mean solving any of these issues that confront one’s environment.
Civic engagement is doing your part as a citizen – Barrack Obama
The Convener, Wellbeing Initiative, Toyyib Abdulkareem, speaking at the seminar on Yattiyr online forum, succeeded in doing justice to the issue of civic engagement. According to him, civic engagements involve a lot of things towards making the communities better, majorly about being a citizen. Citizenship is the tool that makes one involved or care about one’s community.
The most important thing about the above definition is that, when it comes to Civic engagement, nothing is too small. One only needs to be a citizen. One only needs to care. That is, care actively enough to be involved in the process. Being a citizen also means doing what one should be doing, and what everyone else should be doing. When you volunteer your time, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to promote the quality of life in your community, or when you find ways to positively impact individuals, organizations and issues, contributing to the common good of a community — it is civic engagement, and when you are civically engaged, you are a LEADER! That is CIVIC LEADERSHIP!
In other words, Civic engagement is about being a citizen everyday of one’s life, going the extra mile to contribute to the community as a citizen, what we were taught us in social studies; helping the blind cross the road, stopping a running tap or removing a thorn from the road. In our context it is about solving a problem in our community as regards education. When you do any of this (participate in solving a problem by volunteering your time and resources), you are a civic leader. Although nobody gives you the title, you own it and you earn it.
Toyyib Abdulkareem, in relating his personal experience said, “In 2015, I graduated from the Department of Physiology at University of Ilorin. I had finished thinking about focusing on cardiovascular science. I was only looking at the books and the science behind the whole thing. Then I did some online courses to develop my knowledge further in science. Last year, I started a postgraduate degree in Pharmacology at University of Ibadan towards developing my expertise in molecular cardiovascular science. Now due to this exposure, I started adjusting my life for optimal health science undergrad. I engaged in weekly walks, disengaged from sugary and carbonated drinks, hard drinks, smoking, and reduced my salt intake.”
“It was a personal thing for long until I discovered people don’t know these things. People not in the medical sciences eat whatever and do whatever. Then it dawned on me. What would be the essence of my knowledge if people will die from what I know? I was only privileged to know because of my academic background. No matter how ridiculous it might sound that someone doesn’t know salt is bad, they are not to blame. They simply do not know.”
Toyyib then said he started “The Wellbeing Initiative”, a community of young minds reducing non-communicable diseases one community at a time and joined the fight to reduce preventable deaths.
He concluded by saying “In the end, this is what it is about. Making use of what you have, volunteering and caring to make a change.”
Civic engagement is your obligation as a citizen, it is your civic responsibility. Dare to make a difference today.
We are a group of young minds influencing our little sphere by providing hope of education to indigent children and that of the future to their families.
You can support this vision by your voluntary donation
Excellence for all… Yattiyr!