Project #AbattoirNigeria is a nationwide public health advocacy and journalism project that investigated, reported and engaged the Nigerian public on the challenging issues of unhealthy abattoirs, poor meat hygiene and eating infected meat. It was postulated that these issues are leading to a high risk of transmission of food borne and zoonotic diseases. The project was implemented between February and December 2017, with support and funding from Code4Africa’s ImpactAFRICA program.
Project activities included conducting field investigations, interviews, and laboratory tests; collecting and analyzing data (from interviews, questionnaires, pictures, videos and laboratory tests); organizing advocacy events in abattoirs; and engaging in on-site dialogues with presiding government officials and abattoir workers. Subsequently, we published a series of 3 articles and social videos, and promoted media advocacy on the issue.
The project involved a physical and virtual work collaboration with a team of government officials, veterinarians, public health officials, meat inspection officers, butchers and cattle herders, photographers and videographers in 11 states across the geo-political zones of Nigeria. To ensure high participation in the project, we networked with and garnered the support of stakeholders such as government offices in charge of state abattoirs and the heads of association in the abattoirs.
The articles were published in 3-parts on print and online news platforms in both English and Yoruba languages. Some online link can be found as follows;
A major successful outcome of Project #AbattoirNigeria was that it led to a major shift in Oyo State’s government’s policy implementation on meat edict and laws governing abattoir positioning and use. Upon publication on the description of state and activities at the Ibadan Abattoir (Article 1), the story incited online conversations and got to the notice of Ministry of Veterinary and Livestock Services (the office in charge of the abattoirs). On receiving the news, one of the state’s Ministry with the most dilapidated abattoirs immediately swung into action and had dialogue meetings with the cattle traders, butchers, meat sellers and meat inspection officers. Eventually within months, this led to a relocation of the abattoir workers to a newly built, upgraded and better-equipped abattoir (which had previously been in dispute for years). In addition, old and new meat laws/policies were re-established, and additional meat inspection officers were employed for more effective supervision.