Friday, June 28, 2013

Talking About Children’s Rights

“We can provide solutions to Nigeria’s problems,”  a sharp and thought-provoking response from a mere toddler  who was among a group of 5 – 11 year old school children at a program in the U.S. Embassy, Abuja.  The program in commemoration of children’s day focused on the Nigerian Government’s Child Rights Act.

When asked what rights children had the responses by the children were very insightful – clearly, they had a pretty good idea of what rights they have.  Answers given include right to speech, right to education, right to movement and right to worship.

Monday, June 17, 2013

307 American “Holidays”: June Edition

For Americans, nothing is too unimportant to celebrate with a day, week, or even month!  Want to encourage awareness of sauntering?  June 19th is yours!  Do you passionately wish to share your abiding love of clay with others?  Have a whole week.  But why settle for a day or week when you can dedicate an entire month to the refreshing wonders of iced tea?  Americans take less holidays than almost any nation on earth, yet we clutter the calendar with an astounding number of questionable celebrations.  We found 307 “holidays” on record for the Month of June alone.  We spared you 304 of them.  You’re welcome.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Social Media in Fighting Corruption

U.S Speaker on anti-corruption, Mr. Peter Ainsworth, spent a few hours at the American Corner in Abuja yesterday with a small group of civil society members active in social media to discuss how it can be used to fight corruption. There was a live tweet component of the program that allowed the outside audience to join in the conversation and ask questions.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Young People Also Talk About Corruption

Today we heard from young people their views on corruption.  At Government Secondary School Wuse, U.S. Speaker on anti corruption Peter Ainsworth interacted with students from public schools in Abuja on corruption, particularly how it affects them. 

The first question Mr. Ainsworth asked the students was their definition of corruption.  Answers included the following:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Fight Continues

Today is the second day of the U.S. Embassy hosted program on anti-corruption.  The Speaker, Peter Ainsworth, who is Senior Deputy Chief for Litigation - Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division in the Department of Justice, was at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.  There he interacted with members of the faculty lead by Head of Academics, Bob Osamor.

Just as in his interaction with civil society, Mr. Ainsworth emphasized that fighting corruption is a continuous process and hope must never be lost.   He said, although systems and approaches in the U.S. and Nigeria may differ, the goal is still the same and that is to successfully enforce anti-corruption laws as deterrence for future behavior.  As simple as this goal seems, achieving it is not simple at all and the U.S., after working on this for two hundred years still makes mistakes.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Fight Against Corruption is Continuous Commitment

This week the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, is hosting an anti-corruption program with U.S. Speaker Peter Ainsworth.  Peter Ainsworth is Senior Deputy Chief for Litigation - Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division in the Department of Justice.  His section investigates and prosecutes public corruption, election law, and conflicts of interest offenses nationally and internationally.  In addition he personally serves as lead attorney on high-profile matters handled by the Section.  One such high profile case is that of Rickie Scruggs, a highly influential, highly connected and rich Attorney in the State of Mississippi who tried to bribe Judge Henry Lackey, which Mr. Ainsworth used as a case study in his interaction with civil society groups this morning at the National Center for Women Development in Abuja.  The program was put together in collaboration with the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Something Special in Worcester

On a recent training trip to the United States, I visited the city of Worcester in the state of Massachusetts. With a population of about 180,000, this former manufacturing hub is today a center of excellence for higher education, healthcare and medical research.  While there is a lot going on in Worcester, most notably the various attempts to reinvent the city, what I found more interesting were the programs offered for young people.  My training colleagues and I interacted with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Y.O.U. Inc (Youth Opportunities Upheld) and visited a youth center, all of them with   an overall goal to groom their youth into mature, well adjusted, responsible and productive members of the community.