Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in the Niger Delta (STAND)

The STAND project is an initiative of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), with the objective to engender responsive governance, transparency and accountability from the grassroots. The “Enhancing Community Centres Sustainability” component of the project which is being implemented by NIDPRODEV commenced in 2006 and continues to be in operation in the three Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers.

NIDPRODEV’s portion of the STAND project is operating side by side with other components of the project, which are Strengthening Community and Local Government Linkages (being handled by Pro-natura International) and Strengthening Dialogues on Transparency and Accountability (being handled by Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development). On an overall basis, the project is being managed by Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN).

The STAND project has six (6) centres equipped with computers and internet facilities and providing computer training on basic computer appreciation, internet surfing and also providing other services like typesetting, photocopying, laminating and spiral binding, scanning etc. for residents of the host communities of Oporoza and Ugborodo in Delta state; Elebele and Ogbia in Bayelsa state; and Kpite and Bodo in Rivers state.

Specifically, the STAND project is designed to achieve the following objectives:

- Increase the transparency of Local Government Areas (LGAs)
- Increase the level of accountability of target LGAs to the communities within their region
- Leverage improvements in LGA investment toward basic service provision and achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- Promote good governance
- Link communities to the government so that their identified needs can better be met.

The computer centres already established in the six host communities provide immense benefits to the communities. These benefits include:

- Enabling community members and residents to be computer literate so as to able to access information from the internet
- Providing opportunities for community members to access Local and State Government Budgets on the internet
- Facilitating computer literacy amongst community members, especially the youths, with emphasis on the importance of computer knowledge in the present era of globalisation
- Enabling communities to project their voice and tell their story in their own words without filters from mainstream media.
- Enhancing local communities’ access to first hand information about various states, Nigeria and the world

The theory underlying the STAND project is that transparency and accountability will be strengthened if local communities have access to the right information about local government expenditure and can then be empowered to hold accountable their LGAs. In addition, the centres will help curb social vices that arise as a result of information gaps and misinformation in the communities, as the youths will be positively engaged.

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