CEHRD organised interactive sessions between the youths in Abual/Odual, Gokana and Phalga LGAs and Government Agencies in Rivers State. The interactive sessions provided a level playing ground for community youths to meet with relevant government elected and appointed employment/empowerment directors and officers. During the interactive sessions, community youths had the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. The interactive forum also provided an avenue for invited directors and officers to communicate the activities of their agencies, dispose of rumours and advice communities on the recruitment and selection processes as well as how to keep abreast of recurring and upcoming opportunities.
The interactive sessions led to increased visibility of the networks’ activities, increased collaboration and partnership of relevant government agencies with the networks, community leaders and youths from the 38 communities in the 3 LGAs, increase in information dissemination and campaign for peace; increased commitment to the right values and non-violent strategies in transforming community economic actions into significant development and creation of youth employment registers in the ministries and local government, where youths can come at their free time, register their names, the community, sex, previous qualifications and the skills they need to acquire and a more transparent selection process.
During the year 2016, CEHRD trained its staff in the areas of proposal writing and fund raising, project design, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy and institutional engagement. CEHRD staff also participated in other training activities organised by other organisations, partners and stakeholders.
CEHRD organised capacity building training for members of the Rivers and Bayelsa States Houses of Assembly. The capacity building training was designed to strengthen the capacity of State legislators on regulatory policies and best practice mechanisms that will enhance their work as representatives of constituencies of which local communities are part of and so look up to them to initiate the change process. Participants at the training includes: Elected members of the Rivers and Bayelsa States Houses of Assembly, Legislative Aids, Administrative staff from the two Houses of Assembly, Key Civil Society Partners of CEHRD, Resource Persons drawn from the civil society and academic institutions and the media.
The training programme held for two days respectively in each State and was implemented in collaboration with Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria.
Bayelsa State House of Assembly Key Resolutions
Rivers State House of Assembly Key Resolutions
Participants resolved as follows:
CEHRD organised the second phase of trainings for the Rivers state community monitors on the 18th of August 2016, in Bori, Khana Local Government Area in Rivers State. Also, the second phase of trainings for the Bayelsa state community monitors was held on the 26th of August 2016 at the state capital, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
The trainings were aimed at exposing the community monitors to innovative ways to further partner with the regulatory agencies and increase synergy, especially during the implementation process of the recommendations contained in the UNEP report and increase the capacity of the community monitors to share information via the social media platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter) using the android smart phones.
The representatives of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA, built the capacity of the oil spill monitors to collect data using NOSDRA approved mechanisms and data inputs procedures, for quick reporting and remediation of impacted oil spill areas and locations in the Niger Delta.
CEHRD organised training of community monitors in Bori, Khana Local Government Area in Rivers state on the 4th of May 2016, while the training of community monitors in Bayelsa state was held on the 26th of March 2016 in the state capital, Yenagoa. The Bayelsa zonal office director and other officials from NOSDRA were in attendance and also anchored the JIV trainings and interactive sessions. The training focused on developing the capacity of the participants to use audiovisual techniques to qualitatively monitor oil spill activities and understanding Joint Investigation (JIV) processes in impacted communities.
CEHRD built the capacity of 20 community monitors comprising 15 men and 5 women from 14 communities in Rivers State and 21 community monitors comprising 13 men and 8 women from 14 communities in Bayelsa State and developed one (1) environmental incident Data sheet for Rivers and Bayelsa States; explored possible ways to incorporate the community monitors into the implementation plan of the UNEP report, which was flagged off by President, Muhammadu Buhari in June 2016. This is with the aim of carrying out independent monitoring and documentation of the process.
CEHRD and representatives of the peace club paid an advocacy visit to the Rivers state Commissioner of Police (CP) - Francis M. Odesanya on Friday August 26th, 2016. The advocacy team was made up of CEHRD representatives, two female and one male peace club members from Marine Base and the Peace club facilitator. The meeting with the Rivers State Commissioner of Police - Francis M. Odesanya also had in attendance the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Finance and Administration, Y.R.K Okoro.
The advocacy visit is to seek support from the Nigerian Police to ensure that the Violence against Persons' Prohibition Act (VAPP) is enforced by ensuring that gender desks in every division as directed by the former inspector General of Police- Solomon Arase are functional.
In his contribution, the Director of Programmes, CEHRD, Mr. Styvn Obodoekwe appreciated the CP for making out time to receive members of the advocacy team, and also solicited the enforcement of the VAPP Act 2015, which was signed into law by the former President – Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He noted that, while efforts are being made by the peace club to raise public awareness on the VAPP Act, it is also important that the police give an enabling environment to bring offenders to book, thereby serving as deterrent to others.
Responding to the presentation by the advocacy team, CP Odesanya appreciated CEHRD and the Peace Club for its work in the last three (3) years, and promised that the Police will do all within its capacity to give attention to it and other security issues which have posed immense challenge to the command in recent times. CP Odesanya on that premise instructed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Finance and Administration (Y.R. K Okoro) to identify and to assign gender desk officers across other police stations under the command to take-up issues around violence against persons.
CEHRD organised an Official tape cutting and inauguration of the mediation centre in Mogho community, Gokana LGA, Rivers state on Thursday September 8th, 2016 by His Royal Highness - Mene Steven Kpea (Paramount Ruler of Mogho community) cutting the tapes.
During the commissioning, His Royal Highness - Chief Stephen Kpea encouraged community members to imbibe the culture of peace by ensuring that issues affecting them are properly addressed by channelling complaints to the peace club mediation centre, where reports of incidences of disputes would be captured for a prompt action, mainly through mediation. He promised to take it up as his responsibility to abolish the law that prevents first daughters from getting married except they have delivered an illegitimate child to their fathers and also ensure that other harmful practices that infringe on the rights of women in his community will be abolished because these laws were made by men and they have in no way helped the women or the children.
Twenty (25) youths were empowered through a conflict resolution and civic engagement training. The training empowered the youths to use various strategies in their engagement with relevant state agencies in demand for equal participation and benefits from government sponsored youth employment and empowerment programmes in the state.
The experience sharing was impactful as there was rich knowledge transfer and renewed commitment to break forth in the pursuit of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in the design and delivery of youth empowerment programmes in Rivers State. There is improved ownership mentality among the youths for the programme.
The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) and, Kpor, Okana and Marine Base Youth Leadership Networks in line with its search for accountability of government to the people and the youths, and working to reduce youth unemployment in Rivers state paid advocacy visits to several Ministries, Agencies and Enterprises including the Ministry of Youth Development, Ministry of Employment Generation and Empowerment, National Youth Council PHALGA Chapter, Rivers state. Also visited were the Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, National Directorate of Employment, Abua National Youth Council, Head of Local Government Administration in Gokana LGA, Chairman, National Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE) in Abual LGA, and Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State chapter.
The advocacy visits were part of the strategies aimed at ensuring that the objectives of the programme which is to prevent and reduce conflicts in employment/empowerment programmes through strengthening community and youth bodies’ capacity to non-violently demand for an equitable, transparent, accountable and inclusive process is being realised. The Ministries, Agencies and Enterprises visited gave recognition to the youth network and its mission as well as verbal commitment to engage all stakeholders in the employment and empowerment programmes in the project implementation communities and continuously make necessary changes to make the process more transparent, accountable and inclusive.
CEHRD output two organised 24 meetings with the members of the youth leadership networks set up in 3 communities – Okana in Abua/Odual, Kpor in Gokana and Marine Base in Port Harcourt LGAs. Eight meetings were held in each community. The youth leadership network meetings were geared towards strengthening the members’ ability to plan and organise activities aimed at engaging and advocating for more accountable, transparent and inclusive youth employment and empowerment programmes in Rivers State.
The meetings also served as an avenue for vetting and reviewing the sustainability plan of the networks. The meetings created an avenue for each network to plan for key advocacy visits, radio programmes, and strategize on putting the issue of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in the front burner in Rivers state. The executive members of the Networks were able to mobilise their members while taking responsibility for the management of their network.
The youths are partnering with relevant state institutions, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State chapter, NYCN and community leaders to visit selected schools, volunteer mobilisation and engagement with State and LGA primary and secondary schools on need to shun violence in demand for equity in the distribution of economic resources and conflict prevention. 10 members of the network were selected by Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA and served as field enumerators and collated data for the Labour Market Assessment in Rivers State.