Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) with support of 350 Africa and the Global Greengrants Fund is mobilising and building the climate resilience of coal mining impacted communities in Kogi and Benue states in Nigeria.
The communities have been on the receiving end of environmental degradation as a result of coal mining activities, threatening their health and livelihoods especially that of women because they are a significant part of livelihood.
Women are more vulnerable and bear most of the brunt of the impacts of coal mining in these communities. Wastewater from the mines has polluted their water and lands, making the sources of water in these communities unfit for human consumption and domestic use, their lands becoming infertile leading to decrease in crop yield and dying vegetation.
Women and girls lose their productive time going long distances in search of clean water for drinking and domestic use as well as fetching fuel wood for cooking.
According to David Michael, the Executive Director of GIFSEP, the action is part of the community climate resilience building activities, wherein GIFSEP created awareness on the impact of coal mining, mobilised 100 community women and formed groups of women community environmental champions.
The groups are now formally registered as cooperative groups and trained on community mobilising.
Three groups Village Savings Loan Associations (VSLA) were also formed in the community and beneficiaries were trained on financial literacy and how to operate a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups to empower the women to access small credit loans to startup businesses to improve their livelihood and build climate resilience.
The beneficiaries were also trained with practical demonstration on rainwater harvesting and water harvesting systems were installed in Awo-Akpali and Onupi communities of Kogi State. Additionally, the beneficiaries were trained on the use of energy efficient stoves and on climate smart agriculture where they were introduced to use of household manure to improve soil fertility and use of improved seeds.
Michael called on the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to monitor the activities of coal mining companies especially in Kogi and Benue states to ensure compliance to environmental quality standard and the rights of the communities are respected.
He further called on the mining companies to abide by global accepted standards to avoid the human and environmental cost of mining while transitioning to renewable energy.