Data collection: MAJI train CSOs on environmental monitoring 

A group photograph of participants at a one day capacity building for CSOs on data analysis for environmental protection and climate adaptation, organized by MAJI in Port Harcourt.

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

A Non Governmental Organisation, Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI) with support from French Embassy in Nigeria, yesterday in Port Harcourt, trained some members of the civil society organisations on Data analysis for environmental protection and climate adaptation.

The about 30 participants at the one day capacity building were selected from three states; Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers State.

In his remarks, Okoro Onyekachi Emmanuel, Coordinator of MAJI, explained that the training will enhance the capacity of the CSOs in area of environmental monitoring and advocacy.

He said: “This activity today, is a project supported by French Embassy im Nigeria  and specifically targeted on empowering CSOs and stakeholders to be able to use available data, analyse useful information for strategic engagement.

“Over the years we have noticed as an organization that stakeholders, CSOs and CBOs at the community level have been collecting and sharing information, however that information has been shared unrefined and for us we see this as a gap. If data is unrefined, then why can’t we refine that data in such a way that it becomes easy to read, becomes a tool that key stakeholders can use to engage the government, strategic stakeholders and agencies in charge of environmental Protection.

“So, to plug that gap we have brought this project, to build the capacity of CSOs, media, and community monitors. And we also engaged rural women schools in three different states.

“This project is focused on three different states; Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states and it will cover trainings, capacity building, climate change adaptation and advocacy skills to key stakeholders both at state and national levels”.

However, the MAJI coordinator disclosed plan by the group to engage more 60 monitors from three states on the capacity training. He added that 260 women would be engaged, with expectation of 1000 youths trained and engaged in environmental monitoring.

“At this stage we are looking at 30 CSOs from three different states as earlier mentioned. We are also looking at engaging about 60 monitors from three different states and we are also going to be engaging 260 women from each state of Bayelsa Rivers and Akwa Ibom and then we will interfacing,  creating environmental crops in 60 schools and hope that from those schools we will be able to engage about 1000 youths.

“The idea is that at the school stage we teach them how to appreciate the environment, how to appreciate green, we teach them how to appreciate tree planting, how to appreciate the impact that biodiversity Structure can have in the environment and so doing we are creating leaders that can grow up tomorrow and impact other people across the communities of the state”.

Speaking on the topic “Utilising data for informed advocacy strategies in the environmental sector”, Mr Tijah Bolton-Akpan, noted the important of data in the monitoring of environment.

“Data is very important for us as citizens because it makes us to have an informed decision and is also more important for policy makers because data is part of the planning process. It is important for us to make decisions that are actually rooted in evidence.

“The Niger Delta region where we live is environmental hotspot, biodiversity hotspot, unfortunately that biodiversity cover is being threatened alot today, especially from the activities of the oil and gas industries. What we are doing here is a response process, how citizens can use signs in monitoring activities, how they can utilize data to make informed decisions and demand for accountabilities from state actors who are on environmental sector.

“Today, we have been able to look at some of the data signs available and their sources where citizens can actually obtain data and utilize it for asking right questions”. 

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