On January 22nd 2015, Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITEAfrica) organised a kick-off meeting for a project entitled “Promoting Effective Niger Delta Institutions through Improved Social Accountability” (PENDISA). Funded by USAID and PIND through Chemonics, PENDISA is a 2-year project which is aimed at using social accountability tool to strengthen citizens’ demand and voice in relation Niger Delta Institutions by ensuring that they become more transparent and accountable, through evidence based advocacy that will enable these institutions become effective instruments for economic development of the Niger Delta. The project is being implemented in 12 communities in Delta and Ondo State.

The meeting which was attended by representatives of Chevron Nigerian Ltd, Morgan Smart Development Foundation (MSDF), Egbema Gbaramatu Development Foundation (EGCDF), Itsekiri Regional Development Council (IRDC) and Ilaje Regional Development Council (IRDC) held in Warri, Delta State.

Mr. Jerry Nwigwe, Senior Program Manager LITE-Africa said the partners in the project were brought together to sensitize them on the project goals, implementation strategies, and roles and responsibilities and also to share the project work plan. Speaking further, he explained that the project objectives are to; Enhance the capacity of community led-GMoU structures in Delta state and Ondo states to advocate and engage Niger Delta institutions; Improve engagement between Niger Delta Institutions and communities in the region on good governance and economic development; Create awareness on transparency and accountability mechanisms for engaging NDIs among stakeholders within the region.

Speaking on the methodology of PENDISA, Mr Arinze Ojukwu, Programmes Officer LITEAfrica said the project will engage in innovative 2-way communication structures, data collection systems through a Citizen Report Card (CRC) to be conducted in 12 project communities. The CRC will provide data to support a variety of pro-poor efforts and improving governance and more accountable Niger Delta institutions through community driven pressures.

Mr. Daniel Ayodele of Morgan Smart Development Foundation expressed joy at the focus of the project noting that it is a very laudable one and MSDF is happy to partner with LITEAfrica in its bid to improve transparency of Niger Delta Institutions