Using Democratising Processes and Social Mobilisation to Improve Health Welfare and Social Well-being in the Niger Delta

 

Dr Cal Amayo

Principal Organiser of Ethiope Foundation

 

Fellow activists and supporters,

 

The vision of Ethiope Foundation is to engage in work that will ultimately address various health related and environmental needs in Nigeria and to impact progressively on the whole of Africa as is deemed necessary. This vision is hinged on the fact that any solution-oriented work that is sustainable and that works in one part of Africa within certain criteria is reproducible throughout the Sub-Saharan continent. More so and adding other underpinning factors, the Ethiope Foundation focus is on the assistance of African people are faced with the same basic problems, same elusive barriers and their suffering is due to common historical layers of knowledge that are evident throughout the continent.

  

It is therefore essential to point out and emphasize this concept is to demonstrate the willingness of Ethiope Foundation to scrupulously and meticulously spend time and energy seeking to examine all the factors that will enable work in the areas of health improvement, better sanitation, ecocide mitigation, sustainable livelihoods and individual / communal well-being to be successfully delivered and maintained in the region.

  

In a proper democracy it fosters broadened participation of citizens in governance decision making and the necessity of increasing reach to citizens. However, in a poor performing democracy both ‘participation’ and ‘reach’ are either shrunken or stunted leaving citizens’ without a ‘voice’, regardless of their living condition. Social mobilsation will build that voice and making count in democratic decision making at all tiers of government. This is the basis of the development of our vision and philosophy.

  

Having said all that it is essential to outline the purpose and direction of Ethiope Foundation and try to enlarge the philosophical approach that focuses on using democratic principles and social mobilisation to lead the cause for improvement of health, sanitation, clean environment, clean water and air as well as improve the well-being and livelihood of the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians as a whole eventually.

  

We are aware that Ethiope Foundation is not the only agency working in its chosen; there are groups that have done highly dedicated work on the ground for the development of health, sanitation, environmental clean?ups in Africa. Most notable is the untiring work of environmental campaigners such Nnimmo Bassey of ERAction, the recently deceased Oronto Douglass (who will sincerely be sorely missed) and we must never forget Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP (that we have already liaised with in generating solutions to the clean / potable water problem in the Niger Delta). We deduce that if the problem of ecocide persists and remains widespread then more effort, more good hands, more organisations and more good thinking will be necessary to vastly improve on the outcomes numerous interventions that have attempted and succeeded / failed with.

  

If most the work done so far has been approached in a 'one-size-fits-all' manner of providing solutions and concrete bespoke solutions are failing we all must collectively do what we can possible to learn from such approaches and will take time to do enough work in research, auditing and quality improvement planning. Sometimes great works to solve environmental problems in Nigeria is undone by simple internal barriers and external considerations. We shall collaborate and share information with such groups. The Ethiope Foundation is about working in collaboration where competition has failed Nigerians.

 

In any case, since through centuries 'top to bottom' approach to solving problems in Africa and typified by Niger Delta has failed it is time now to adopt and practice the 'bottom to top' approach through democracy and social mobilisation to encourage true participation from affected peoples and seek their support. Collective problems require collective solutions.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 The Problem


 

Should this mess (pictured above) be the future of millions of people and the land they have always lived on? Should this mess be the inevitable outcome of oil extraction and profit-making? How do we stop this mess from happening again and mitigate its impacts? Is it fair that the residents of this region where oil production is undertaken is destroyed while the regions where the oil is consumed have ever-increasing standards of living?

 

These are the questions and challenges, concerning massive and relentless ecocide afflicting the Niger Delta ecocide and the resulting consequences, that the Ethiope Foundation is totally committed answering and resolving through fostering innovative thinking and a commitment to untiring practical work, respectively. The problem is old but new approaches and focuses must be developed and provided tackle it. The devastation of the livelihoods and the lands of the Niger Delta should be a thing of the past and we shall work towards achieving it.