NYSC/BWS Cancer Prevention Advocates

BWS in its effort to achieve its goals sought out ways to take information about cancer prevention and early detection to Nigerians in the grassroots. The existing National Youth Service (NYSC) Scheme which has been established in Nigeria since 1973 was seen as the most viable opportunity to raise a generation of vibrant, enthusiastic foot soldiers to take the message to every nook and cranny of the Nation.  The NYSC is a National scheme which every Nigerian who graduates before the age of 35 years must participate in as a prerequisite for job application with a view to develop and encourage ties among the youths of Nigeria and to promote National unity. Under the NYSC scheme, Nigerian youths are exposed to different people living in other States in the Country with a view to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirming at first hand, the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups. The idea of the NYSC is that every Nigerian graduate (youth corper) is randomly posted to various States (other than their State of origin and residence) within the Country where he/she is to compulsorily serve the Country for a year.  The NYSC scheme involves an initial 3-weeks orientation camp which holds simultaneously in all 36 States of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in three batches, usually in March, June and September throughout a year.  After orientation, these youth corpers in each State are subsequently posted randomly to ‘places of primary assignment’ in various Local Government Areas in the States for one whole year.  As part of the scheme, each graduate is meant to choose and get involved in a Community Development Service (CDs). One day of every week for their entire year as youth corpers is devoted to his/her chosen CDs group.  BWS is one of such CDs groups approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria since 2008.

How it Works?

A BWS Coordinator in each State of Nigeria goes to the NYSC camp during the 3-weeks orientation camp, speaks to the entire group of youth corpers about the NGO, non-communicable diseases, cancer and the CDs group. Volunteers who desire to choose the group as their CDs group for the entire year in the scheme are then called for. They are registered and followed up on throughout the remaining duration of the orientation camp. 2-3 weeks after the corpers pass out of camp and are well settled in their places of primary assignment, the corpers are brought together and are trained by the State Coordinator for 2 weeks.  They will subsequently be issued an Identity Card stating their membership as BWS/NYSC cancer prevention advocates.  They are also given a graphic descriptive BWS advocate training manual which teaches them more about cancer and its prevention, Breast Self Examination (BSE) banners with pictorials which they are expected to use to teach during their community outreaches and certificate of participation to indicate they have been trained to be advocates of cancer under the BWS/NYSC cancer prevention initiative.

The corpers are then given a free-will to decide how, when and where they will be conducting their advocacy in the various communities they are posted to. They are encouraged to conduct proper community entry by identifying key opinion leaders in such communities, visit them and seek their partnership as advocates of cancer prevention in the community. Our youth corpers visit schools, market laces, community meetings, media houses, religious organizations, town meetings, youth meetings, artisan workshops etc to teach non-communicable diseases prevention and early detection strategies which they have been taught.