Yanme, a community information sharing platform initiated by our partner organization Rethinking Cities, offers young people from low-income communities in Lagos the possibility of reflecting on solutions to socio-economic issues within their communities, of sharing their experiences stretching beyond their neighborhoods and engaging political decision-makers.
Residents in Lagos are often of the belief they know how difficult life is in densely populated low-income communities of the city and what kind of hardship these residents experience. They equally assume that due to such hardships and prevailing unemployment, young men living in those communities constitute a real danger to society, thereby falsely branding them as criminals, uneducated or unorganized. Information about their challenges, dreams and aspirations are not accessible to other members of the society.
Therefore, citizens in Lagos are hardly aware of the relentless efforts community leaders, youth, women activists, and neighbourhood associations undertake to ensure development and the provision of basic services within their neighborhoods.
YanMe, which is a word derived from a popular Nigerian street slang meaning ‘tell me’, is a youth-led community journalism project initiated by Rethinking Cities that seeks to change these negative beliefs. It provides a platform that brings together young people from informal and low-income communities in Lagos who tell stories of resilience, present their demands and possible solutions to community issues, and advocate for an inclusive city and better governance. YanMe is set up as an online radio and video-on-demand platform streamed on YanMe.org, through which young people can make their voices heard and express themselves. Continuous training, monitoring and evaluation enable the young people to build and perfect their capacity in producing audio and visual content about urban development issues in their communities.
YanMe.org is currently running stories from Ajejunle Ikorodu, Ijora Oloye, Oreta, and Oworonshoki communities in Lagos State. They discuss forced evictions, access to water issues, insufficient economic opportunities and the need for adult literacy. It allows the youth to exchange experiences, network, and gradually grow into a stronger and united force. They hope to establish a physical studio in one of their communities as a hub for content creation and training. It will host political candidates during elections, political office holders, government officials, celebrities and influencers who will all have the opportunity to see first-hand the challenges and opportunities that persist in low-income and informal communities. Hopefully, these stories of their resilience will gradually change the negative perception many Lagosians have about low-income communities.
See more at yanme.org.