Civil Society Support Initiative on Political Marginalization in the Niger Delta in Nigeria
The project was built on the grantee’s experience of the most urgent problems of local communities in the Niger Delta, and particularly of women, youth and other vulnerable groups. It aimed to engage with three sets of stakeholders: CSOs at local level in the nine Niger Delta states; representatives of marginalized groups (women, youth and the disabled); and officials from three branches of government. The project’s focus on working with the CSOs and beneficiary groups in strengthening the basis for broader-based citizen participation in the political process was highly relevant to addressing the democratic deficit in a region where there is widespread distrust of the governing authorities and the absence of a belief that the voices of the people will make a difference in decision-making.
Despite some limitations overall, the project proved to be effective in building the capacities of its target groups, in enhancing their self-confidence, and in motivating many to take further action. Follow-up activities undertaken by participants included “stepping down” the training to others in their local networks, and organizing advocacy and public awareness initiatives. The project succeeded in contributing to increasing the levels of participation in the public realm by both CSOs and beneficiary groups.