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Nigeria

Development Marketplace 2009 winner honored as 'Young Laureate'

Tom Grubisich's picture

Development Marketplace 2009 winner Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu of Nigeria is the recipient of a $50,000 Rolex "Young Laureate Award" newly given to five pioneering social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 from around the world.  Besides the cash that will be earmarked to advance their innovation-focused projects over two years, Ikegwuonu, 27, and the other Laureates will have access to mentoring from groundbreaking experts who are past winners of the watch company's long-established Awards for Enterprise.

Ikegwuonu and the other awardees were selected from almost 200 nominees for launching "innovative projects [that] have begun to have a profound effect on their communities and potentially could improve the lives of millions of people," the citation said.

The young Nigerian was recognized at the Development Marketplace 2009 competition for his plan to produce an interactive 20-episode radio drama designed to help small farmers in the southeastern region of his country figure out how to better manage the risk of growing crops in extreme weather that swings from storms to droughts. The adverse weather has been intensified by climate change that has hurt farming across Sub-Saharan Africa and clouded the hopes of many developing countries to reach their 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

Copenhagen Climate Talks -- Viewed From Nigeria

What do the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen mean to the many millions of people who will be most affected by global warming?  DM2009 winner Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu (with microphone in photo below) has some on-the-ground answers from Nigeria.  Ikegwuonu's novel radio drama project will help educate up to 15 million small farmers in southeastern Nigeria whose livelihoods are affected by torrential, soil-eroding rains aggravated by climate change.

1.    Given an opportunity to address world leaders in Copenhagen, I would tell them that climate change is global but the solutions are local. To this end education is the key to long-term climate adaptation. While education on climate change mitigation and adaptation is well advanced in developed nations of the world, it is relatively unknown among billions of people at the base of the pyramid in developing countries who ironically have the least means to cope in the event of climate change- induced disaster.  I would tell world leaders that efforts to tackle climate change must first dwell on education because it breaks all forms of barrier, poverty included.  Education opens the mind and motivates the quest for results. An educated person is empowered to make better choices.  Furthermore, people cannot be developed but can only be given options through a system of education to develop themselves.

2.    Climate change is relatively unknown in Nigeria. This is because people have not been properly educated or informed.  Rural people consider climate change to be a short-term weather change but fail to realize that the change is not short term but long term. Indeed some conversations centered on mitigation and adaptation are being taken at Federal government level in Nigeria, but the outcome of these conversations is still relatively unknown to Nigerians. However, the present Copenhagen COP 15 has drawn small media attention to climate change, but this has not sparked up a debate which Nigerians are used to on such an important issue.  More media attention is desired.

 

Driving adaptation with effective communication tools in Africa

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Part 2 of 2 -

As efforts to develop and diffuse adaptation mechanisms in Africa and elsewhere grow in momentum, one major constraint has been the failure to develop an effective communication strategy to drive the process. Effective communication as a sub-set of development needs to be developed in order to get the message down to the bottom of the pyramid where those most affected agglutinate. The concept of information in general, and of climate change adaptation information in particular, as a resource for effective adaptation and development, needs to be domesticated well beyond the current cozy confines of conference rooms and research hubs. (Photo by Curt Carnemark, World Bank)

In Guinea, rising sea levels linked to global warming is feared to likely result in stronger coastal currents, higher tides and sea encroachment of land. Guinea’s coastal region, home to West Africa’s largest and richest mangroves, would therefore bear the brunt of global climate change. The region’s entire economy is now under threat. It is feared that the main victims of all these climate variations would be people living near the coast. An estimate of 2 million people are likely to suffer income losses.

Conflict, Displacement, and pro-poor Adaptation

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

Migration is the default adaptation strategy of the poor.

Rising sea levels, more frequent flooding, and droughts could displace millions of people by the middle of the century. And if the predictions of sharply declining agricultural productivity come true, farmers will to an increasing extent abandon rural areas in search of new livelihoods.  

Making development projects more responsible

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP), a Nigerian NGO, is currently promoting the Mor-sand filter in the restive oil rich Niger Delta region. The Mor-sand Filter, an improved adaptation of the slow-sand filter, integrates the combination of coagulation and filtration as effective processes for the reduction of the concentration of microorganisms in water.

Leader Writing as Participation in Governance

Sina Odugbemi's picture

In the early 1990s, I was on the Editorial Board of the leading newspaper of record in Lagos, Nigeria until I left for the UK. It was called The Guardian; and  it is still there. I had been in the Nigerian media for a while and to be invited to join the Editorial Board of The Guardian in those days was regarded as an achievement. So I was pretty happy with myself.


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