Nigeria and 11 other nations of the Sahel and West Africa Programme in Support of the Great Green Wall Initiative (SAWAP) rose from the 4th Conference that held recently in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra with assurances of commitment and collaboration towards ensuring successful delivery of various ongoing development projects, promote food security and work towards the protection of biodiversity in their respective countries.
Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian delegation, the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) Communication and Community Mobilisation Specialist, Dr. Adebayo Thomas, acknowledged the SAWAP/BRICKS initiatives. He expressed gratitude to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for supporting the implementation of NEWMAP, a sustainable land and water management initiative that aims to reduce vulnerability in targeted watershed areas through efforts at reversing land degradation in the East and desertification in North.
Describing NEWMAP as a success story, Dr Thomas added: “NEWMAP is providing innovative solutions to the age long problem of erosion and watershed degradation in Nigeria. The project combines state-of- the-art designs supported with flexible structures (such as gabions) and nicely complemented by bio-remediation measures. These innovations are anchored on active community participation and ownership. This has resulted in the rehabilitation of 229 hectares of lands (as at April, 2017) and the restoration of livelihoods to over 3,825 poorest (of which 58% are women) Nigerians in targeted watersheds. Direct beneficiaries today stand at 7,312,635 as against the targeted 681,000 by June, 2020.”
Adebayo added that in its four years of implementation the project has been able to salvage 2,460 houses, three churches, four public secondary schools, and 25 major roads from the shackles of looming gullies. He said civil works and land remediation in 21 major sites across seven first mover states of Abia, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo are at 98% completion with 15 of the sites ready for commissioning, while an additional 39 new degraded sites have been approved for intervention across same first mover states.
According to him, “NEWMAP activity of Component 2 successfully installed 200 hydrometric equipment (consisting River Automatic / manual gauging stations, Automatic Flood Early warning systems) across two major hydrological River basins: The Anambra-Imo and Cross River Basins.
“All the success stories have endeared many states to the project. Based on the progress recorded by the initial seven states, in September 2015 additional seven states (Delta, Gombe, Kogi, Kano, Plateau, Oyo and Sokoto) joined the project having met the necessary selection criteria. Presently, the third phase of states that recently joined the project includes Akwa Ibom, Borno, Katsina, Nasarawa, and Niger states; thus making a total number of 19 states in the project,” he said.
All other participating countries presented status reports of their various projects as well as success stories.
The Nigerian team to the conference comprises Joseph Idoko (National Project Engineer), Dr. Adebayo Thomas (Project Communication & Knowledge Management Specialist), Mrs Ruth Peters Mshelia (Livelihood Specialist) and Ayuba Anda Yalaks (Water Resources Specialist).
The 4th Conference of the Sahel and West Africa Programme (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative as part of the project “Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Services (BRICKS)” held from May 8 to 13 2017, in Accra, Ghana. It also entailed tour of some project intervention sites in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
The BRICKS is implemented by the Permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), which is responsible for coordinating the project; the Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel (OSS); and the West Africa Bureau of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The BRICKS Project works with the 12 projects of the Sahel and West Africa Programme (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) in achieving their goals.
The conference brought together representatives of the 12 beneficiary countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Chad, and Togo) and the programme’s sub-regional and international partner institutions.
Thomas said: “The SAWAP is a good illustration of the nexus between land productivity, food security, and poverty eradication. It is a very good time to discuss and show the results of the SAWAP, not only to the participating countries, but to the whole continent, to the donors, and all our partners.”