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Political student uses her expertise in Nigeria

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 June 2011

Veronica Oakeshott

Veronica Oakeshott

Archant

A Newham student who used her political expertise to help bring democracy in Nigeria has received an award in recognition of her achievements.

Veronica Oakeshott graduated from City University London at the Guildhall with an MA in Political Campaigning and Reporting.

She also received the Jack Amos Award, a prestigious prize given to the top student in the course in memory of Jack Amos, a film maker and activist who died last year.

Since finishing her degree, Veronica, who lives in Harcourt Road, Stratford, has had the chance to put her new-found political campaigning skills into action.

She said: “I spent three months in Nigeria working for London-based a not-for-profit organisation, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, to assist local reporters and news outlets to develop tools that would help them to report on the elections more effectively.”

She worked with workshops in political and election reporting for journalists across Nigeria in the lead-up to polling for the country’s new president on April 16. She also helped them establish an independent news service, distributed via mobile phone to over 1500 journalists, to enable them to write and broadcast without political or commercial influence.

“It was incredible to experience a country still in the process of building a democratic system of Government. I was particularly inspired by the Nigerians’ dedication to democracy in their country. Over a three week period three separate elections were held, requiring voters to spend an entire day at the polls and adhere to curfews designed to deter multiple voting. “

Veronica has also campaigned within her local area, campaigning for HIV facilities within Newham and in 2008 went to America to work on President Obama’s election campaign.

She is now using her skills and experience to set up a consultancy called Vision Campaign Works, advising charities on effective campaigning.

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