In October 2012, when the Follow The Money Team were developing their website, little did they know that the hashtag #SaveBagega was going to reach a staggering 600,000 people from over 100 countries. Consequently, putting more pressure on the government of Nigeria to attend to the urgent need of this ailing community.
— Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) January 25, 2013
Bagega is a village community in Zamfara, Northern Nigeria, where 1,500 children awaits urgent medical attention for lead poisoning. “All we had in mind was to create a web platform integrated with social media tools, and write reports (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Storify) that could amplify the voice of these helpless communities,” say the Follow The Money team.
Follow The Money is a non-profit group that advocates, tracks, and visualizes aid meant for local communities. Meeting with the team a few months ago during a short trip to Abuja, we were impressed by the dedication and achievements of the team and we are delighted to announce that we have awarded them a grant of £9,648 towards the costs of office space, internet, tech support and some advertising and marketing to help extend their reach.
— Follow The Money (@4lowthemoney) August 6, 2013
One of the most interesting aspects of Follow The Money’s work is their ability to harness the power of social media in communities where Facebook and Twitter are the exclusive preserve of a few, rather than real mass media tools. By collecting evidence, conducting interviews and research within these communities, Follow The Money are able to painstakingly build a picture of the problems and issues affecting these communities. They then use this information and their considerable social media skills to put pressure on Government ministers and spokespeople to meet their responsibilities. Mobilising an international community of activists, celebrities and politicians Follow The Money can create an online storm that those in power cannot fail to ignore. We’re delighted to be working with them and look forward to seeing how their next campaign unfolds.