People Changing the World
Zigwai (right) campaigning for global
Covid-19 vaccine access
Who are you and how did you become involved in
My name is Zigwai Tagwai and I live in Abuja, Nigeria. I am 30
years old and I have been a ONE Activist for about two years. I work
in the development space on youth engagement, political
participation, good governance and civic education.
In Nigeria, graduates are required to take part in the National
Youth Service Corps program for one year. It was during my service
year in 2013, that my interest in community development grew. I was
sent to a community in Benue state, located in north-central
Nigeria, where I experienced what it was like to not have access to
basic social amenities such as portable drinking water, a
well-equipped health care center, schools with quality teachers, and
came across challenges of drug abuse and child pregnancy.
As part of the Community Development Groups, I supported drug
free school clubs and set up a counselling team to serve as a safe
space for young people struggling with drug abuse and worked with
the community on environmental problems like erosion, which had led
to people losing their homes and farmlands.
There were so many challenges to be addressed and I did the best
I could to help out, but I needed a bigger platform, the right
instruments and better resources to help drive lasting change.
Can you tell us about the work you do now?
There's a high level of voter apathy, lack of accountability and
transparency by the elected officials, and a gap in political
education of citizens in Nigeria, which drives the work I do.
I believe that there is a need for Nigerians to understand the
power that they wield, as well as the responsibilities they have in
ensuring that there is good governance, active democracy and
sustainable development in Nigeria.
I've worked on several public advocacy projects with
organisations like Open Society Initiative for West
Africa (OSIWA) focused on educating Nigerians on
their civic rights, the functions of the instruments of the state,
and how they can effectively engage their elected representatives
within their communities. I'm also actively involved in initiatives
that aim to ensure free and credible elections in Nigeria like Accountability Lab Nigeria and the
Young African Leaders Initiative
What motivates you in and outside of your
An end to extreme poverty and preventable disease means a life of
dignity, self-respect and confidence as well as growth and
stability. Everyone wants a better life and a system that works
The only way that can become a reality is if we all become
intentional about ensuring that the infrastructures and policies
needed are put in place. My desire for a better life for myself, my
family, my community spurs me to keep at it, do more and speak
Outside of work, I listen to music and dance a lot (which I know
how to do very well), watch movies, travel and spend time with
friends and family. I recently saw OMG: The Musical, which
is a Nigerian stage play about three great heroines fighting against
patriarchy in Nigeria.
📺 Watch this video of Zigwai who has a message for anyone thinking about getting
involved in social change!