We demand development. It is our right.
The Nigerian government has failed to deliver the most basic social services to the population. The citizens of the Niger Delta see their government as absent and unresponsive, believing there are no channels through which they can demand that government address their basic needs.
STAND recognises that to address poverty in the Niger Delta communities need to become confident agents of change and take the lead in their own development through sustained popular mobilisation and targeted, rights based advocacy.
STAND embraces the notion that accountable governance will only develop in response to an organised and sustained demand for it. STAND offers communities the skills, tools and confidence to hold their governments to account.
Across eighteen communities in the Niger Delta, STAND has invested in developing platforms for sustained community engagement on service delivery, transparency and accountability. In this way communities challenge a political culture in which governments behave like remote patrons who dispense charity at their discretion. STAND encourages communities to adopt a rights based approach to demanding service delivery and accountable governance.
Communities now recognise that development is their fundamental right and that the government is responsible for its provision. Communities have learned to identify and proritise their real needs and ask government at all levels to deliver social services. Communities no longer beg. They speak from the position of power: “I demand development. It is my right.”
“I have come to realize that when I ask for these social amenities, I am exercising my right and not asking for favours. We are not begging when we ask. (...) Before now, if we don’t get favourable responses to our requests, the next course of action would have been violence. (...) STAND project has taught us that with perseverance and dialogue we will have our demands met.”
Igosein Idumon, Member of Ogbia community