CIVIC EDUCATION A TOOL FOR STRENGTHENING GOOD GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES AT LOCAL LEVEL IN RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA

A Cross-Section of Members of UNDEF, WUEE and COLIDEIN Staff with participating Communities

Collaborative Living and Development Initiative (COLIDEIN), a non-profit organisation implemented a project titled ‘’ strengthening good governance and democratic processes at local level’ funded by Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) with support from UNDEF. The program which included community visit, advocacies and capacity building training was targeted at training 1000 participants across 5 communities in Port Harcourt City LGA (PHALGA). The communities were Abuloma, Orochiri, Orogbum, Oromeruezimgbu, Oromineke, Abam-Ama.

Highlights of the training:

Ms. Chidinma Mbaegbu, the Executive Director of COLIDEIN, started off the sensitization training by defining Civic Education as ‘the provision of information and learning experiences to equip and empower citizens to participate in democratic processes (WUEE 2020). In order words, knowledge about citizens’ rights and responsibility in democratic governance. She mentioned that good governance and development comes only when people are aware of their rights and roles and take strategic actions in pursuing it. Ms. Mbaegbu pointed out that participatory governance does not mean a call for fights and conflicts rather calls for engagement and negotiation for better life. She listed some practical steps open for community’s civic engagement such as; participation in voting exercise; development of Community Charter of Demands to extract commitments from political aspirants; participation in Budget processes; and the use of Score-Cards to evaluate public officers and hold them accountable.

The community leadership thanked the organisers of the event COLIDEIN and their funders Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) / UNDEF for coming and making their community beneficiary of the program. They reiterated the importance of civic education and urged the community members to empower their minds and actively participate in bringing about sustainable development in the community. Further, he urged the COLIDEIN team to not abandon the community rather it should adopt the community and find other means of empowering the women and youths with livelihood support schemes.

INTERACTIVE SESSION

During the interactive questions and answer session the major issue from the community was on how the COLIDEIN team can help them to engage their political office holders and also give micro-credit assistance to those who want to start off business ventures. In response, the Executive Director;COLIDEIN, promised to support any community that calls for assistance and highlighted that the main aim of this civic education training is to awaken people up to their rights and responsibility. Also take actions to engage with their public officers for accountable and transparent democratic governance.

In Oromineke Community – The Royal Highness Eze Christopher Wonodi said; the community leadership thanked the organisers of the event COLIDEIN and their funders Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) / UNDEF for coming and making their community beneficiary of the program. They reiterated the importance of civic education and urged the community members to empower their minds and actively participate in bringing about sustainable development in the community. Further, he urged the COLIDEIN team to not abandon the community rather it should adopt the community and find other means of empowering the women and youths with livelihood support schemes.

Communities Involved are: Abuloma, Orochiri, Orogbum, Oromeruezimgbu, Oromineke, Abam-Ama, all in Port Harcourt City (Phalga), Local Government Area.

From Left , Ms. Chidinma Mbaegbu (ED, COLIDEIN) with Students

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