A week ago, we joined the rest of the world to celebrate world social justice day. To us, it wasn’t just another international day to design posters for and hashtag our way around social media. Social justice is one of the core pillars for us at Speak Out Africa.
What is Social Justice?
Social justice has been commonly defined as justice that ensures the distribution of wealth and other resources within a society. According to the San Diego Foundation, Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities.
The SDF definition mirrors our thought on social justice. We envisage a society where there will be inclusion and access for everyone. Where children in rural communities will have a comparative standard of education with their peers in urban areas. A society where people in prisons will be treated with dignity and have access to necessities.
This year’s theme is “Achieving Social Justice Through Formal Employment”. The issue of employment -formal or informal is a key aspect in achieving social justice. Across Nigeria today, there is so much rancour against the government. This anger has been extended to the elite- real or perceived. The root of this is the fact that many young people do not have jobs or are grossly underemployed. The schools are poorly funded producing graduates who cannot compete on the global scene. Also, there is an institutionalized case of prebendalism.
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” -Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass in his famous quote itemizes the outcome of a society of people who are neglected, oppressed, and are without jobs. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria stands at a staggering 33%. The outcome of this unemployment (together with other forces) is violence, agitations, and robberies.
As a nation, how do we ensure that everyone who is part of this sovereign entity will be guaranteed free universal basic education? Quality secondary and tertiary education and an enabling environment to thrive upon graduation?
Currently, different groups are agitating for different things. Some for secession, others for resource control. What is common among the groups is that the foot soldiers are often unemployed or under-employed, people with little or no education, and people who feel marginalized and oppressed.
To achieve social justice, the government must seek to operate a government that addresses the concern of the people. At Speak Out Africa, we are addressing this menace by providing educational materials to low-funded schools. We do this by donating benches, whiteboards, renovations, and equipping libraries.
While non-profit organizations help in solving some social problems, it remains the work of the government to ensure social justice for all.