As thousands of projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) become classified as abandoned, host communities are being given the skills needed to monitor the commission’s projects and learn how to raise alarm.
Non-governmental organizations have taken up the task of equipping the local so they could identify when a project has failed and raise alarm instead of agitating all the time. This seems to be sequel to the previous seminar on NDDC projects by the BGO and communities.
Now, members of Niger Delta communities where NDDC projects are supposed to be implemented have been charged to take it as a point of duty to monitor and evaluate projects of the commission in their communities to ensure proper delivery.
They were encouraged not to hesitate to draw attention of the commission and other stakeholders to projects suspected to have been abandoned or poorly implemented by contractors of the commission.
The charge was given during a training programme on NDDC project monitoring, reporting and effective advocacy and development of project monitoring and reporting tools suitable for the monitoring of NDDC projects organised recently in Delta State. At the training, communities were equipped with various skills on how to monitor, evaluate and report objectively on status of the commission’s projects in their areas.
It was noted that rather than grumbling and lamenting over failures of the Commission, community members should begin to assist the Commission by monitoring its projects, pointing out irregularities and lapses and demanding quality service deliveries.
Arinze Ojukwu, a programme staff of Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE- Africa) who facilitated the training disclosed that the delivery gaps in the NDDC programme that was set up for the development of the region occur as a result of failure of communities to monitor the activities of the commission.
She noted that her organisation has been worried over reports of NDDC poor service delivery, manifesting in forms of project abandonment, poor quality of implemented projects and non-implementation of approved projects among other issues, and has therefore embarked on a project aimed at monitoring and engagements of NDDC projects across the Niger Delta. The training was part of the activities of the project.
Tagged Strengthening the Capacity of Stakeholders for Effective Engagement of NDDC (SCOSEN).
The project which is jointly implemented by Lite Africa and Community Empowerment and Development Initiatives. CEDI,
Is aimed at strengthening the capacity of stakeholders for effective advocacy, monitoring, reporting and ownership of NDDC projects in two local government areas (Uvwie and Warri South) and six communities (Ugbolokposo, Okuatata, Ebrumede, Edjeba, Ugbuwangue and Ugbori) in Delta state.
The project which is targeted at community leaders, men and women groups, Youth group, people with disability, NDDC management Delta State, and the Media also seeks to facilitate coordination between community stakeholders and NDDC, which would enhance service delivery of the commission’s mandate in targeted communities. The intervention further seeks to promote community members participation in project selection, design and implementation through assessments of NDDC projects.
The project was kicked off on the 10th of April with a consultative meeting with the management of NDDC in Warri Delta state. The LITE-Africa and CEDI team met with Mr Gbubemi Ogor who is the Delta state Director for the NDDC to introduce the project to the commission and also secure its buy in.
As part of the efforts to prepare and empower community members to effectively engage the commission to ensure quality service delivery, series of consultative meetings with the leadership of the six project communities have been held according to Arinze Ojukwu, project staff of Lite Africa who facilitates the implementation of the project.. At these meetings, the leaders were sensitized on the goals and objectives of the project and at the end, the leaders expressed their gratitude that their communities were considered for the project and pledged the support of their communities for the project.
Town hall meetings have also been conducted to enlighten community members on the project objectives, discuss the activities of the project and prepare community members to participate actively in the project activities.