Home Bridging engagement and accountability

Bridging engagement and accountability

July 2019-August 2020

Summary

This project aims to increase communication between civil society organisations (CSOs) and individuals, and the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) to improve transparency and accountability in infrastructure projects to develop the Niger Delta. SDN will roll out a public information and advocacy campaign to encourage CSOs and individuals to engage with the NDDC over their development priorities, and to report to NDDC local development projects that differ from their purported status on the NDDC’s existing Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS). SDN will also commission a new mobile phone app to make it easier to engage with the NDDC and report issues.

Community Monitoring and Advocacy Groups (CMAGs), started in several communities by SDN previously, have already demonstrated that communities can define their collective development priorities and engage with agencies and government to leverage change. SDN will harness the success of CMAGs to lead the way in engaging with the NDDC over planning and implementing development projects in the Niger Delta. SDN will train the public and community groups on how to use the mobile app to:

  • see what NDDC-sponsored projects are happening or planned in their area.
  • report the status of NDDC-sponsored projects to the agency for a more rapid response.
  • define their development priorities to the NDDC to shape projects and investments in their areas.

Aims

To contribute to the reduction of incidences of corruption in Rivers State by improving social and political accountability of duty bearers and service providers with a focus on the NDDC.

Key activities

  • Develop a mobile phone app to facilitate engagement between the public and the NDDC, using the KSIHub, which supports tech-based livelihood options in Port Harcourt city.
  • Commission a programme of radio broadcasts encouraging the public to use the mobile phone app, and explaining how it functions.
  • Partner with BudgIT to give face to face training to government/the NDDC officials, CSOs, and target demographics on effective project planning, monitoring, and tracking.
  • Support CMAGS to engage the NDDC via the mobile phone app in a way that represents the interests of all groups within their community.
  • Foster engagement by the NDDC in the mobile phone app extension to their PMIS platform.

Context

Communities that host oil extraction live alongside the daily exploitation of their resources, sometimes with significant local pollution or impacts, without seeing benefits accrue to them in the form of improved infrastructure or investment in livelihood opportunities. The NDDC is a key government agency mandated to focus on development in the Niger Delta. However, a poor track-record including a historic lack of transparency, a reputation of endemic corruption, and the failure of promised infrastructure projects to materialise has created distrust and disengagement in the NDDC amongst people living in the Niger Delta. There has been some progress by the NDDC in improving transparency via their PMIS public online platform which includes some details on the commissioning, location, and progress of projects, and the contractors involved.

However, non-governmental organisations, companies, and agencies, such as NDDC, that deliver projects in the Niger Delta need to begin by asking, listening, and responding to the needs voiced by communities. This engagement must be inclusive of voices that are often marginalised and silenced within communities, including women, young people, immigrants, people living with disabilities, and those forced into unconventional or illicit livelihoods.The NDDC, as the primary government agency focused on development in the Niger Delta, needs to lead the way in building on the progress made through the PMIS platform, by listening and responding to needs voiced by communities. This engagement must be inclusive of voices often marginalised and silenced within communities, including women, young people, immigrants, people living with disabilities, and those forced into unconventional or illicit livelihoods.

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Project resources

Funders and Partners

Published: 11.12.2019