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A case study of community engagement research to promote_cped

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A case study of community engagement research to promote_cped

  1. 1. A Case Study of Community Engagement Research to Promote Peace among Communities in Nigeria’s Niger Delta By Andrew G. Onokerhoraye Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED) Benin City, Nigeria.
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION • Community engagement can take many forms and partners can include organized groups, agencies, institutions, or individuals. • Collaborators may be engaged in research, or policy making. • Community engagement is important to ensure the protection of participants, for building a trust relationship between researchers and the community and to address ethical issues arising from research. • There are several examples of community-based research in Africa on how communities can be engaged effectively on such an exercise. • Community engagement can be by means of orgainising community meetings, consulting community leaders, and working with community development organizations. • This presentation is on one such case study of community engagement research to promote peace among five communities in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
  3. 3. BACKGROUND • Niger Delta region has been characterized by violence and conflict over the years. • The violence and conflict of the region are visible in different communities. • These conflicts have negative effects on development at the grassroots level in Niger Delta. • Peace building and conflict resolution has been a major challenge to key stakeholders including policy makers. • CPED experience shows that sustainable peace can only be achieved with the participation of the grassroots population in their communities. • With funding from United State Institute of Peace (USIP) CPED carried out the project in 2010. • Five adjacent communities inhabited by Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic groups in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State were involved in the research. • Each of communities has a population of between 2,000 and 3,000 people and composed mainly of Ijaw or Itsekiri ethnic groups.
  4. 4. METHODOLOGY • Preliminary assessment by CPED research staff of the challenges facing the target communities with respect to the need for peace and this prompted the need to develop a proposal. • The research proposal was discussed with key stakeholders in the five communities and they had the opportunity of contributing to the final version before it was presented to USIP for funding. • Upon approval by USIP, CPED research team embarked on the mobilization of the various groups in the five communities. • A project Steering Committee of 20 members comprising of the research team and three elected representatives of the various groups in the five communities was set up to manage its execution. • The Steering Committee participated in the design and review of the survey instruments (household questionnaires, community questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus group discussion guides. • The field survey staff were recruited from the communities and trained in the administration of the survey instruments.
  5. 5. RESULTS • The quantitative and qualitative surveys were professionally analyzed by the research team. • The findings of the survey show that different types of violent conflicts characterize the target communities. • These include intra-community, intercommunity, inter-ethnic, conflict with oil companies with consequences for the people and socio-economic development of the communities. • The findings of the survey were presented and discussed in the first instance by members of the Steering Committee and later presented to the key stakeholders in each of the five communities. • The key recommendation that emerged from the findings which was agreed to by all stakeholders is that a Peace Committee embracing the representatives of the communities should be set up and that the chairman should rotate among the communities. • Under the auspices of the Peace Committee a Peace Pact was signed which is still sustainable till today.
  6. 6. POLICY LINKAGE • The model which emerged from this community engagement research was presented to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Delta State Government. • Some aspects of the model have been integrated into the Delta State conflict resolution strategy known as Peace and Security. • Other NGOs working on peace building in the Niger Delta region and some oil companies have also adopted the community engagement model of peace building and have used it in other localities in Niger Delta region.
  7. 7. ETHICAL CHALLENGES • The communities were not just used to collect data but participated in its executions and the results were presented to them. • Helps to promote policy adoption as community stakeholders become part of advocacy and dissemination once they become part of the policy recommendations. • Achieving effective and respectful partnership in such projects is an inherent challenge. • Respect for communities has emerged as a related principle for researchers to uphold and is especially pertinent in community-based and participatory research. • In some circumstances, merely “token” partnerships may be instituted or significant differences of power and privilege may remain unaddressed and result in stunted collaboration. • In working with communities and other partners, questions may be raised regarding the ownership of and control over study results, including the response to negative research findings.
  8. 8. • There are questions about the need to ensure that methodological rigor is maintained and logistical aspects were addressed. • While the action component was more broadly shared with the community, decisions and implementation of the research component of the project remained more within the control of researcher team. • Given the multiple groups participating in the project, there were obstacles to clearly communicating the purpose and methods of the project. • Steps such as regular meetings with village members and the frequent presence of project staff in the villages helped improve understanding, however comprehension remained a challenge. • Several policy-makers, however, described that the impact on policy, including scale-up, would have been enhanced with more sustained communication of how the project was unfolding. ETHICAL CHALLENGES Cont’d
  9. 9. • The project serves to illuminate the distinctive ethical terrain of a participatory community-based action-research project, including considerations of vulnerability, respect for communities, collective risk, equity, power, participation, partnership and social justice. • The ethical implications of such research exceed traditional framework of ethical analysis to include community-level and partnership-oriented considerations. • Participatory and action-research projects require careful attention and effort to establish and maintain relationships that are characterized by mutual respect, and attention to power and privilege. • Several approaches may help to support this objective, including humility and sustainable engagement on the part of researchers and other actors. CONCLUSION
  10. 10. THANK YOU

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