To enhance communication between elected officials and community members, LITE-Africa facilitated two Stakeholder Policy Dialogues in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa State and Isoko LGA of Delta State on 27 and 28 July 2011, respectively. The Dialogue allowed community members to gain a greater understanding of the objectives and functions of their Local Government. At the same time, government officials were able to hear, first hand, the needs and concerns of their communities in terms of human and economic development.

Local government representatives noted that the Local Government is the “grassroots government” as it is the closest arm of government tat the community level. Community members expressed disappointment in government, noting their limited presence in the community and their failure to consult community leaders and members on the allocation of development funds. Moreover, they argued that government has failed to address their development needs evidenced by a lack of public services. Through this dialogue a communiqué was produced with specific steps for structured engagement between elected officials and the communities they were elected to serve. LITE-Africa will monitor and facilitate this agreement through technical assistance and mentoring. The dialogues are part of LITE-Africa’s Livelihood and Governance Programme (ONLAG) funded by Oxfam Novib.

The programme has made a tremendous impact on these communities. Some gains include:

• Measured increase in household disposable income and savings

• Enhancement of existing livelihoods and creation of alternative livelihoods for supplemental income

• Increased dialogue on the issue of lack of female participation in community governance structures through gender sensitization trainings.

• Verbal commitments by community leaders to better incorporate women in the upcoming elections

• Enhancement of women’s leadership potential through leadership training.

JoomlaWatch Stats 1.2.9 by Matej Koval