LOCAL ACTION FOR COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT (LACE) PROJECT
LACE was a project funded by DFID with a time line beginning from July 2008-March 2009.The LACE project was designed to build on the Progress made in 2007 on the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) project. GADA facilitated the LACE project for Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) in Ika Local Government Area, a community based project geared towards fostering sustainable peace and development at the grassroots level using advocacy skills. The need to build and strengthen the advocacy and networking skills of the women for community and sectoral engagement became the core of the LACE project. The LACE project provided the opportunity for the first town hall meeting after the political crises that engulfed the community. The meeting was able to draw active players within the community including the Local Government Chairman who was represented by the Vice Chairman of the Ika Local Government Area.
POPULAR ACTION FOR GRASS ROOT EMPOWERMENT (PAGE) PROJECT
The project focus was to improve and strengthen local civil society platforms to promote non-violence and good governance in the Niger Delta. In the year 2009, the PAGE implementing team of GADA were given four (4) pilot communities by SDN to anchor for them on the PAGE project. The names of the various communities are as follows; Tere-Ama, Ogbakiri, Otuasega and Ika. The implementing project team of GADA facilitated a three days step-down training in Port Harcourt on Theatre for Development (TFD) in the year 2009 for the women and the youths of Ika, a community in Akwa Ibom State and Ogbakiri, a community in Emoha Local Government Area, Rivers State and two days step-down trainings on Negotiations and Lobbying for the women and youths of Otuasega, a community in Bayelsa state and Tere-Ama, a community at the heart of Port Harcourt city.
The above mentioned communities were selected because they were all coming out of intra-communal crises. Based on this backdrop, the PAGE project intervention proposed by GADA was to get these communities together to share experiences and brainstorm together on sustaining the peace and development in their communities and also draw out underlying issues opposing peace building work in their respective communities. Some of the causes of the conflict in the Niger Delta where divided into three groups namely:
Political, Societal, economic which reflects the complexity of the Niger Delta conflict and shows how the different factors fuelling it are interlinked.. Earlier on in the LACE project, the women had identified the youths in their communities as groups they would like to work with. The training was aimed at increasing the capacity as well as the collaboration between the women and the youths of the above mentioned communities.
The implementing project team of GADA also facilitated 1day theatre for Development (TFD) refresher programme and 2 days drama rehearsal using TFD tools for Ika and Ogbakiri women and youths in Ika and Ogbakiri communities’ respectively. GADA Port Harcourt Office also facilitated community forum in each pilot community on the PAGE project.
Key Successes on the PAGE project:
· The advocacy group members of Ika and Ogbakiri communities in collaboration with GADA and support from SDN facilitated their community forums using Theatre for Development (TFD) Drama tools and methodologies to draw keys underlying issues in the various communities for discuss. On the short term, community members of the two pilot communities were more involved in the development of their communities and in addressing the prioritized need of their communities. On the medium term effects, community members were sensitized of the project, their common needs and were ready to assist in tackling and addressing their various community needs. Ogbakiri women held their first ever peace rally in the community and encouraged all stakeholders to come back home.
Areas of impact
· On the PAGE project, GADA consolidated and further improved on the advocacy skills of the advocacy group members of Ika, Ogbakiri, community in demanding for responsive and accountable service provision and resource use from their respective local government Areas.
STRENGTHENING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE NIGER DELTA (STAND) PROJECT
The aim of the project was to reduce levels of poverty through improved governance and ensure quality of life for communities within the Niger Delta. The principal objective has been to enhance the capacity of communities to identify their core needs, articulate the needs and adopt appropriate advocacy strategies for securing positive responses from targeted stakeholders using the following strategies:
Advocacy for service delivery, transparency and accountability.
Dialogue between communities, civil society organizations and government on T&A in service provision and resource management
Documentation and dissemination of outcomes, lessons and resources
Key Successes on the STAND project:
· In December 2009, the PAGE Project was subsumed into the STAND Project funded DFID due to the their similarity in project outputs. In 2010, GADA Port Harcourt Office in collaboration with SDN supported the women and the youths of Ika community to successfully advocate for a Skills Acquisition Centre and a cottage Hospital in the community. The construction of the Skills Acquisition Centre and a cottage Hospital is now in progress in Ika community.
|Supervisor for health IKA
||Site for Cottage Hospital
||Site for skills acquisition centre
· GADA Port Harcourt office, recently reconstituted the advocacy committee in the community to enhance the effectiveness of the community in demanding responsive and accountable service provision and resource use from local and state governments and development agencies
Areas of impact
In Ika, GADA introduced a strong, coherent and broad based community platform called Ika Peace Advocacy Committee (IPAC) which had the mandate of the Traditional Ruling Body and the community at large. The new Advocacy group was supposed to be able to secure examples of services delivered in response to peaceful community advocacy. This initiative was conceptualized to create community buy-in and ownership of the STAND project as it became increasingly difficult for the Community Based Organization’s (CBO) and GADA to get audience from relevant stakeholders of Ika community.
The STAND project provided most community members of Ika local Government Area a vivid understanding of the term “Transparency and Accountability”.
The use of TFD drama facilitated the discussions of some of the underlying issues in the community that have been impeding sustainable peace and development within the community.
IPAC to some extent can now make contacts with key stakeholders within and outside Ika community to foster with community development.
THE GROUNDWORK PROJECT: MAKING RIGHTS REAL
GADA is also partnering with Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) on the groundwork project aimed at improving understanding and documenting human rights in the Niger Delta by civil society actors and foster grassroots networks with international support that reinforces the application of human rights in daily life. The project provides a platform for human rights education especially for marginalized women. The human rights trainings program was facilitated in two states of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, Bayelsa and Rivers State. The training process gave way to the launch of regional network known as the “The Women Voices Network” (WOVEN). The network has been active in its engagements at local, regional and national levels. It is presently pushing for an Affirmative Action Bill in Rivers State and Violence against Persons Bill in Bayelsa State.