Riverine Communities Health and Development Organization (RIVCHO) organized a one day town hall meeting in Okwagbe community, Ugheli south LGA, Delta State. The objective of the engagement was to “Increase Citizen’s Demand For Transparency & Accountability.
Okwagbe is a riverine community in the Niger Delta which can be accessed from both land and water, It has an estimated population of over 300,000 people most of which are women and children. It is one of the largest rural communities in Delta State, Okwagbe community also has the largest rural market in both the local government. The community was selected because it has a huge chunk of abandoned projects by both NDDC and DESOPADEC. These projects range from roads, to schools to market urbanization, water and sanitation among others.
During the town hall meeting, Community members decried their lack of participation in the budget process, they recalled a local government led needs assessment done over six years ago as they only needs assessment in recent memory.
Representatives of Men, Women, Youth and community leaders pledged to engage NDDC and DESOPADEC to complete all abandoned projects in the community. A follow-up visit is scheduled for January 2017. Letters to schedule advocacy visits to NDDC and DESOPADEC are currently being drafted.
The Town hall meeting was held under the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement project wish is managed by Chemonics and supported by USAID and PIND. The project involved strengthening the capacity of CSOs and community members to engage Niger Delta Institutions such as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) and Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
The Town hall meeting was attended by 34 persons; Two RIVCHO staff, 17 Female and 15 Male.