Describe your own work
The name of my organisation is Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation that took off as a Health Enlightenment Organisation which later metamorphosed into a full NGO. The organisation was incorporated with Corporate Affairs Commission in 2011 with RC No CAC/IT/NO 46876.
In course of our Health sensitisation, we meet more women than men. We also work with youths as we engage in school based activities. During field work, I have come across women and children who are chronically poor, malnourished and very sick especially in the rural communities in Imo State, Nasarawa, Abia and Rivers State. Gender Violence & Climate Change came to me as one of the cross cutting issues emanating from our daily field activities on Health Enlightenment.
People who are hungry will always fall sick and will not have enough energy to work. They do not have enough food as such will not have all the nutrients that their boy mechanism need. These took us to Gender Violence and Issues. In gender issues, we enlighten women on their rights and in course of teaching them their rights other issues like ownership of lands and land tenures and being deprived of family lands for farming all came up especially for those that are widows. These issues go a long way to show that women are not included in decision-making level and peacebuilding at the community level.
The issue of Environmental degradation and violence propped up too for those in the Niger Delta area of Rivers State. According to the women in one of our interactions, they no longer have farm lands because of government and oil company acquisitions and for the little they have left, there is low yield due to long years of oil exploration and its antecedent issues. Women are deprived of farmlands; their crops do not yield well because of oil spillage and gas flaring. Aquatic lives have been destroyed due to flood, erosion and oil spillage thereby exposing them to commercial sex with its attendant public health issues of HIV/AIDS, Cervical Cancer and other forms of ailment.
Those in the North, are complaining of low productivity too because of temperate issues. That is how we started looking into the issues of Climate change and how we can assist our women. Desertification has dealt adversely to their livestock and crops are rotting in the farm because of too much heat.
Mention one or two key challenges in your work related to climate change adaptation and elaborate it.
Two key challenges are Environmental Degradation of the Niger Delta and Hot Temperature in South East and the North due to lack of rain.
Environmental pollution of the Niger Delta due to long effects of oil exploration, seismic activities and oil drilling has taken a very dangerous toll on food production in the Niger Delta region. Every day Gas Flaring in the zone produces black soothes that covers the crops and land. Oil spillage has led to destruction of aquatic lives thereby depriving women of their daily livelihood of fishing, picking periwinkle and other seafoods for their daily meals and the ones for sale. Vegetables do not grow well again. These environmental degradations have left so many of them without any form of livelihood. It has brought so much hardship that the soothes now are noticeable in our homes and you can imagine the percentage of Health issues these soothes can bring upon the residents of Rivers State and its environs. These man-made environmental changes have brought about low productivity and scarcity of food.
Agriculture in southeast Nigeria is largely rain-fed, it therefore follows that any unfavourable change in climate is likely to impact negatively on its productivity. The could be in terms of effects on crop growth, availability of soil water, soil erosion, incident of pest and diseases and decrease in soil fertility. Women interviewed in the southeast confirmed that their cassava decayed so much in 2016 due to too much heat.
Rains can no longer be predicted and the planting season has been eroded and does not follow its normal course. The hot temperate region of the North is not left out as crops and livestock are decaying and dying due to lack of rain and green foliage for feeds. The women in a farm settlement in Awe Nasarawa lament how badly their crops are doing due to lack of rain. The hot weather and deforestation led to desertification in the Northern region of Nigeria which in turn led to migration of humans and livestock in search of water, fertile lands and lush foliage for survival. It has lowered sea levels, streams are dried up and source of water is greatly affected.
Mention one key challenge in your country related to climate change adaptation and elaborate with examples in ½ A4 (a short case study). Ideally this case study has a direct link with your job, projects or voluntary work.
The constant clashes between Fulani Herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt, South East, South-West and South-South are typical challenges in Nigeria. Militancy and cultism are yet another challenge that was brought about by environmental degradation and underdevelopment of the Oil Rich Region of Nigeria. Livelihoods have been disrupted and decreased by both the oil exploration and gas flaring in the Southern Region in one hand and desertification in the North in the other hand. Most people see these every day clashes as political but the Agricultural scientist and climate change crusaders know otherwise. They believe that the desertification in the North has brought about massive migration of Herdsmen and their cattles into the Middle Belt & Southern Region that still have green foliage; while the degradation of the Niger Delta gave rise to Militancy and cultism.
These cattle rearers are moving from community to community looking for grazing lands for their cattle and destroying crops and farmlands in the process. Some communities who have risen to protect their lands and crops always leads to mayhem and destruction of lives and properties in numbers and our government is not doing much to check mate these clashes. Based on these constant security risks, so many people have ran away from their homes and communities thereby bringing about scarcity of food.
The media – print and electronic are agog with the tragic stories that emanates from these daily clashes. Social Media have more to say about these as many have ascribed them to ethnic cleansing of Southern Christians by Northern Muslims. One is confused on what to believe anymore.
In my own community the Stories of skirmishes are abound about women being harassed and beaten up by these herdsmen in and around the farms. These have also brought about women and other community people losing interest in going to farms. Men cannot venture into the forest on their own to check their animal traps except in the company of other men.
Can you give one example of an initiative in your country where climate change adaptation in food security and/or natural resource management is implemented in an inspiring and successful way?
In line with the Cassava Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria, a total of N629,847,348 has been invested to provide 565,000 bundles of stems of improved varieties to farmers through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme. Over 600,000 direct and secondary new generations of cassava farmers- men and women- have been trained and oriented towards commercial production and agribusiness.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and University of Agriculture Umudike(National Root Crops Research Institute) initiated this program when it was reported that farmers are complaining of low yields in their cassava production due to climate change and as part of the measures of climate change adaptation policy and program of the Federal Government of Nigeria. 35 improved varieties of cassava stems were given out to different Agricultural offices in Local Government Areas for trial. These stems where in turn shared out to selected farmers that are into the cultivation of cassava. Out of the 35 varieties tried 10 types came out better.
These 10 varieties of Resistant Cassava Stems have been tried out in most Local Government in Abia State and its adaptation confirmed. These are the stems being planted by all in all the Local Government Area in Abia State and other states that are into cassava cultivation and production. The Agricultural Officer in Arochukwu Local Government Area – Mr. Stanislus Amah revealed these when he was interviewed by me in preparation for this course. These stems according to him, have been shared out to farmers and the yields has been wonderful. When asked why some farmers had decayed cassava in 2016, he said that if cassava is planted in water-logged land they will definitely decay. So we have to be sure that the farm is not a water-logged land to get best from the stems.
The only challenge these varieties have is that it is very sweet and because of that animal love eating it. So, farmers have to do an extra work of keeping watch over their farm to keep away all forms of animal from destroying their crops.
According to Mr. Amah, there is usually a zonal meeting where complaints of farmers are reported and discussed before taking up to their Monthly review meetings. That is the platform and forum where complaints from farmers are usually handled.
Write down your learning objectives based on the key challenges and the link between climate change adaptation and your work. What do you want to get out of the course
The UN declaration of Human rights made it explicitly clear that everyone has the right to access food and the economic capacity to do so. Based on that, the following is forms my learning objective
- To acquire knowledge and skill that I will be exposed to in this course on natural sequence, man-made climate change and think of alternatives
- To understand climate change and its adaptation as it concerns food security, agriculture and natural resources management.
- to acquire knowledge of climate change concepts and assessment of the vulnerability, resilience, coping strategies and sustainable development processes.
- To lean on the exposure of climate smart agriculture and natural resource management which will assist me in further discussion and make proper practical inputs to relevant agencies and targeted groups working on Food Security and climate change.
- To benefit from the vast interaction on the policy making processes, advocacy and integrating climate change issues into existing policy processes and rural development strategies and ways of praticalising same to the targeted group.
- To learn more on the activities of man that facilitates the depletion of the ozone layer and how it can be played down