Evaluation report on ERA/FoEN institutional capacity and project delivery

About the publication

  • Published: March 2011
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Roosevelt Idehen, Igbinedion University, Okada and Mathew Aghedo,University of Benin, Benin City
  • Commissioned by: Naturvernforbundet
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Theme: Natural resources (including oil)
  • Pages: --
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organization: Naturvernforbundet
  • Local partner: Environmental Rights Action (ERA)
  • Project number: GLO-08/412-2
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.

Oil and gas extraction, production and activities associated with it in Nigeria and other African communities have created lots of problems for the people and their environment. Environmental pollution arising from oil and gas extractive activities comes by ways of oil spills, gas flaring, industrial discharges and the use and dumping of chemical substances. The problems created for the communities include destruction of farmlands, pollution of rivers and estuaries, air pollution and acid rain, loss of mangrove and fresh water sources and the escalation of conflict situations.

In 2007 ERA and Naturvernforbundet started cooperating on a project aimed at giving capacity to the various actors involved to understand the issues, and implement processes geared towards reduction, if not total elimination, of the identified problems. Nigeria has been in focus, with financial support from Norad’s “Oil for Development” programme. Especially from 2010 the scope has been enlarged, as support from Norad’s “Environmental Movements in the South “ programme made it possible to include the work of the Oilwatch Africa network, where ERA is the leading organization.

Purpose/objective of the evaluation:
To describe, analyze and evaluate relevance of the project work, impact, contexts and achievement as well as identify strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities as a learning process.

Review of existing relevant documents relating to the existing contract; semi-structured interviews with project staff, target groups, participants, environmental lobbyists, government officials, lawyers, and CSOs; participatory tools for group discussions and interviews; visits to project areas/communities in the rural communities; publicity materials and other indicators of level of impact.

Key findings:
At the level of efficiency and capacity to deliver, the evaluation established the successful implementation of the programme. Undoubtedly, ERA has the capacity to deliver on project goals. The project is sufficient to galvanize public awareness and participation on environmental advocacy towards the desired paradigm shift in terms of policy change in favour of the environment and sustainable development.

ERA provides the opportunities for robust debate and enhances environmental awareness of the general public and support policy formulation.

ERA’s towering image is due to its respectability as a grassroots advocacy group working at national and international levels. Its influence in shaping Nigeria’s environmental profile for the better is growing in its increasing involvement in formulating alternatives. As a pioneer Nigerian environmental advocacy NGO it is providing support and direction for young and up-coming civil society groups across the nation as well as regional coordination and collaboration on environmental issues.

The campaign-advocacy and mobilisation-consciousness raising strategy of ERA has had a profoundly positive effect on the attitude of communities to environmental issues. As a result of the positive impact of the interventions, communities and civil society groups have inundated ERA with demands for more interventions.

Since 1999 ERA has developed an improved working relationship with national and state governments and collaborated on several environmental issues.

Nigeria’s National Assembly has relied much on ERA’s expertise when dealing with environmental issues such as climate change, bio-diversity and forests, the EITI process, oil spills, stop gas flaring, and other environmental issues of national importance.

Limited institutional funding has undermined the attempt to get a full complement of the staffing needed for such a high profile NGO that is limited by funding and staffing needs.

For change to be more evident, ERA needs to intensify and collaborate with other NGOs and CBOs in their lobby strategy in order to pressure the necessary paradigm shift in environmental management and development.

ERA will require additional support to extend the projects to many other oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and also to concretize the Oilwatch work in the four designated countries. It is also recommended that more countries in the south should be incorporated.

The “stop gas flaring” campaign is urgent and requires renewed vigor. So also is the new “leave oil in the soil” campaign that requires more strategy and momentum to make it more readily acceptable to policy makers and the generality of the Nigerian public. ERA needs to work more with her international allies as well as national policy makers in Nigeria to put pressure on oil companies to stop gas flaring in Nigeria and adopt internationally acceptable best practice in their operations.

Even if ERA is doing quite well and producing results, they can do more than it is currently achieving. ERA has the moral force and credibility that can demonstrate greater results and social change in Nigeria.

ERA’s management should work towards additional funding and the diversification of funding sources, so as to increase their capacity to cope with the enormity of task involved in their goals. Core funding to ensure organizational capacity building and continuity is essential to growth and efficiency.   

The Management Board should be further strengthened to take up the responsibility of providing direction, oversight and advice to the Management Committee. The Management Board should meet more regularly in a year, to provide greater direction.

Comments from the organisation, if any:

Published 18.11.2011
Last updated 16.02.2015