The European Union-Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) Programme has called for enhanced synergy between the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to boost sustainable development in Nigeria.
The EU-ACT Focal Person in Rivers, Mr Temple Oraeki, made the call during a workshop for partners of EU-ACT, CSOs and media representatives in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Oraeki explained that ACT programmes, designed by EU were in response to the identified need to invest in and engage with CSOs and provide capacity strengthening support to the selected ones, among other objectives.
He said that ACT was working with over 200 CSOs across 10 states in Nigeria – Rivers, Edo, Sokoto, Kano, Adamawa, Lagos, Plateau, Enugu, Borno and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Oraeki said that the EU supported over 20 NGOS in Rivers which had been at the frontline promoting sustainable development in various sectors.
Also speaking, Wonne Afronelly of MyEnvironment MyWealth Nigeria, urged the media to assist the CSOs and NGOs to identify quality contents and liaise with them to create sustainable contents.
She called on the media to reach out to grassroots through the organisations, adding that they should always engage government in every way possible in order to maintain the trust as the watchdog.
Afronelly, however, noted that funding was important for CSOs to achieve sustainable development and urged the media to support sponsorship to them.
A social development expert, Mr Temple Oraeki, said that the roles of CSOs cut across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to impact positively on humanity.
According to her, CSO roles in Rivers include empowering communities and giving voice to the disorganised voiceless segments of the society.
‘’The role of CSOs in the state can never be over-emphasised, with a cross section of over 200 NGOs in Nigeria and 20 in Rivers state carrying out various initiatives across various sectors.
‘’Indeed, silence is no more best practice; it is time to change the narrative and tell our stories more, share impacts and more action for humanity and sustainable development,
‘’We believe that with the media, this can be achieved,’’ she said.
Ogbanga, however, said that part of the challenges faced by CSOs in carrying out their roles in society was lack of funds.
Others included lack of feedback and social support which tended to suppress their enthusiasm in their work.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that EU-ACT programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.
The programme aims to contribute to more inclusive, effective, accountable and gender responsive development through enhancing the credibility and role of SCOs as drivers of change for sustainable development in Nigeria.