Recently the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project(NEWMAP) in collaboration with Aries Concept the project’s communication firm, held series of activities to mark this year’s World Environment Day in the 1st mover states of Abia, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Edo and Imo, between 6th and -10th June 2016.
World Environment Day(WED) is observed every year on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.” It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
This year, in celebrating WED, the Project embarked on various environmental and media activities to upscale public sensitization and awareness including waves of community /public engagements to sensitize the public, as well as build support for best environmental practices.The primary aim was to raise public awareness and solicit support of relevant stakeholders with a view to participation and ownership.
Thus from Sunday 5th to Friday 10 June 2016, in line with the mandate of the Projects’ strategic Communication Firm (Aries), and in collaboration with the states project management Units (PMUs), series of public engagements took place to further boost the visibility of the project, and the consciousness of the various stakeholders. Other activities deployed included robust media interactive sessions; media tour of project sites and Radio talk shows on safe waste disposal and maintaining the environment
WED activities in Imo State
- Public sensitized on importance of proper waste disposal
- Stakeholders informed of adverse effects of blocking the drains.
- Media practitioners conducted round project sites to encourage factual reportage.
- Stakeholders informed of progress at NEWMAP intervention sites and Project compensation of over 20 million to 387 Project Affected Persons in three gully intervention sites, namely; Eziala-Obizi, Iyiuzo-Ihioma Ogberuru and Umueshi Ntueke Amanato erosion sites
- 21 Community Interest Groups (CIGs) also submitted proposals for community driven development programs/businesses such as poultry, piggery, fishery, cassava production and processing as well as oil palm production among others.
NEWMAP informed stakeholders of proposed plan for community members in the area of training to enhance their means of livelihood and at the same time ensure that there is less pressure on the soil.
WED celebrations in Enugu
In Enugu State, the WED day celebration took a different tone starting with visit to Ajali Gully Site in Ugwuto Nsude Community with large number of the community members led by HRM Professor Kenneth Onyia.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Lechukwu Agatha Uju, Enugu State Project Coordinator said Enugu NEWMAP was marking the World Environment Day to showcase the project activities in the state. She emphasized that environment is life and everyone must protect it.
She pointed out that the current erosion problems in the state were as a result of human activities.
Speaking earlier at the event, HRM Professor Kenneth Onyia said NEWMAP has positively impacted the community both economically and environmentally. He expressed joy that Nsude community was committed to NEWMAP project and firmly assured that his community will protect the sites for sustainability.
In Ebonyi State, the World Environmental Day activities was flag-off by Chief Moses Ogodo-Ani, Commissioner for Environment, along with the community members, the state project management unit and other stakeholders at Nguzu Edda gully erosion and remediation site.
The Commissioner commended the contractor for the progress achieved so far in the on-going construction work and reiterated the importance of early completion of work on the site.
Speaking during a media round table session, Dr. Philip Echiegu, Ebonyi NEWMAP Project Coordinator noted that apart from gully remediation works, NEWMAP released N13m to address the livelihood component of the project, with about 839 beneficiaries. According to him 20 community interest group have been formed and trained in various community driven development business programme such as poultry, piggery, fishery, cassava production and processing as well as oil palm production among others.
Project site community members were sensitized on proper waste management and rain water harvesting. In his remarks, Chief Agwu Ugwuocha, Chairman of the Community Association expressed gratitude to the World Bank, NEWMAP and the State government for the intervention. “ We never believed that this land would be reclaimed he said as all hope was lost and he assured that the community would do the needful to safeguard the environment by desisting from practices that would trigger gully formation or lead to land degradation.