The Guardian
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UK group, NGO seek improved development strategy in Niger Delta


THE United Kingdom Foreign Common Office, weekend, intensified efforts at training and empowering indigent groups and organisations within the Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom towards adopting the development initiatives mapped out by the British government to assit the local communities in the region.

Already, the British government through the UK based advocacy group, Stakeholders Democratic Network (SDN) and other partners including the Pro-Natural International (Nigeria) and the Bayelsa State government have embarked on visitations and assessment tour of community self-help projects to ascertain their status and need for support.

In a statement at the weekend in Yenagoa, the Pro-Natural International media consultant, Comrade Adams Domo said the training programme initiated by the British Foreign Office through the British High Commission in Abuja and titled: “Scaling up Community Development Foundation Initiatives in the Niger Delta “was targeted at welcoming local advocacy groups and state governments to adopt development, transparency and committed strategies toward empowerment and development of the people.

A director at the Training and Research Unit of the PNI, Mr. Alexandra Uzere Ukoro, explained that the attendance of advocacy groups was also based on the research study done by the Institute of Sustainable Development on the baseline and training needs, knowledge gap and potentials of numbers of civil servants, development agents and the advocacy groups in the three states.

Ukoro said the result of the research done by the PNI subsidiary was adopted to develop a training toolkit for mapping out development strategy and the training workshop is designed to build skills and capacity.

The British government has, however, through the UK based advocacy group, Stakeholders Democratic Network, has embarked on a project assessment tours of Elebele and Ogbia communities in Bayelsa State.

The assessment tour, according to the PNI,was meant to allow officials of the state government and other interested donors such as the Department for International Development and the Stakeholder Democratic Network to identify various self-help projects at the communities and areas in which assistance are needed.

In his speech during a meeting held at the STAND centre in Ogbia, the official of the Community Development Department of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Local Government, Mr.Okpako Richard commended the efforts of foreign donors and advocacy groups for adopting a pragmatic approach towards sustainable development in the various communities of the state.

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