Drawing from feedback and input gathered from the broad range of stakeholders engaged in developing PIND’s strategy, it became apparent that even though there are numerous development projects in the region, there has been a lack of conscious effort to identify, understand, document and share best development practices and models. The MODEL project seeks to address this gap and establish a network of institutions and individuals committed to sharing knowledge and learning on development within the region.
In recognition of this reality, PIND created the MODEL project to identify, understand, design, and promote socioeconomic development models. It is believed that the adaptability and acceptability of these models if replicated by government, development partners, communities and other key stakeholders within the region will generate a multiplier effect for business opportunities and job creation that will strengthen the local economy and improve the lives of community members within the Niger Delta.
The MODEL project aims to:
- Identify and share development models that address a broad range of development constraints such as pro-poor market development, service delivery and conflict resolution mechanisms, through the application of an experiential learning approach
- Inform development practitioners and current practices in socio-economic development programs/projects and interventions about various models that could be adopted within a defined context
- Develop a database of development models that can be replicated and scaled up by other development organizations, donors and corporate social responsibility initiative promoters
- Promote the practice of knowledge sharing, experiential learning and research on Niger Delta development programs/projects
- Strengthen PIND’s advocacy program component
In July 2012, PIND facilitated and organized a workshop in Abuja to launch the MODEL project with representatives from PIND’s project partners, the Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) and the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER). The workshop’s objective was to determine which development models would be selected as case studies for the project. Selection criteria used to evaluate the list of proposed models included:
- Evidence of “Perceived Success”
- Whether the project is currently being considered for replication or scale-up
- “Scope” of the project’s geographical coverage
- Use of a participatory approach
- Funding source
- Availability of information on the project
- Project duration
During the process three models were selected:
- Akassa Development Foundation Model
- Songhai Farm Initiative (also known as the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency Model)
- Bonny Utility Company Model
This led to the release and dissemination of two working papers following a year of research on Analysis of Community-Driven Development in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region: Use of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework and Participant Perception of the Effectiveness of the Rivers Songhai Initiative in the Niger Delta.
International Collaborations for the Dissemination Workshops
The release and dissemination of the aforementioned case studies were designed to identify, describe, document and share development models that have obtained a perceived measure of success in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. From the dissemination workshops in Washington, DC, in the United States, in Abuja, FCT and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria saw the sharing of these development models in the development community locally and internationally.
By highlighting development models that work in the Niger Delta, PIND shed light on projects that had hitherto not been given as much attention and challenged audiences in both countries to think differently about development issues, not just in the Niger Delta, but in Nigeria at large.