Accord’s operational area is mainly the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Our focus is on promoting development initiatives especially in the areas of capacity building, good governance, health and the provision of micro finance and business development services in order to stimulate entrepreneurial economic activity and enhanced income generation for our clients.
Water, Sanitation And Hygiene (WASH)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is a vital tool for addressing healthier and more productive lives for poor people or low income groups in any society and access to WASH has been a major challenge to over 40 percent of urban poor and 56 per cent of rural dwellers in Nigeria. The situation in the oil-producing Niger Delta region has remained a source of concern to stakeholders and development actors. Variously referred to as the "Resource curse" or the "Paradox of Plenty", the region generates some 80% of Nigerian exports and 90% of government's revenue, yet is one of the least developed and poorest parts of the country. Oil exploration and production has led to serious environmental challenges including land, water and air pollution and associated problems.
Women's ability to reproduce makes the need for safe water, sanitation and hygiene especially important. When a woman is pregnant, access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene can be a matter of life and death. After all, the moments and days surrounding the birth of a child are fragile for both mother and child. Over 15% of all maternal deaths are caused by infections within six weeks after childbirth, mainly due to unhygienic conditions and poor infection control during labor and delivery. Therefore, community-based education about the importance of access to WASH can help reduce associated effect of unhygienic environment, prolong life, reduction in maternity deaths, hunger, poverty and lack of access to basic services. However, Civil Society participation in the sector is very limited and NGOs engaged in the sector are few and of limited capacity. This is why we at Accord wish to bring in our expertise and knowledge about the sector to fight for total sanitation in the selected communities in the Niger Delta region which in turn will be a model to other local government areas in the region and Nigeria in general.
Community Health Initiative Project (CHIP)
CHIP is a community based health project that looks at and takes care of the immediate health needs of the people. CHIP works in concert with the community, governmental bodies, multinationals and other relevant development agencies to help communities combat the many life threatening health issues they are faced with.
Rural Communities in Nigeria and especially in the Niger Delta are plagued with some complex health issues and these accounts for the high death rate in these communities. Health problems range from water related diseases to malnutrition, infant/maternal mortality/morbidity, HIV/AIDS and a decline in health facilities and services.
Nutrition: Malnutrition is another major health problem where children aged 0-5 years are mostly affected. Malnutrition cases range from severely malnourished to moderately malnourished and to mildly malnourished. Causes of these can be attributed to lack of correct breast feeding methods, faulty weaning practices and household food insecurity.
CHIP aims to build clients' capacities on good nutritional supplements and food value.
HIV/AIDS: The HIV/AIDS pandemic has received worldwide attention and enlightenment campaigns aimed at creating awareness on the prevention of the disease. Inspite of this widespread campaign, it is sad to note that many Nigerians have poor knowledge of the disease – most Nigerians recognize AIDS as fatal, but just 50% know about the means of transmission or prevention. In Nigeria, the HIV prevalence rate among adults aged between 15 – 49 years is about 3.9%. Nigeria has the third largest number of people living with HIV (source – Wikipedia). The HIV epidemic is complex and varies widely by region. In some states, the epidemic is more concentrated and driven by high risk behaviors, while other states have more generalised epidemics that are sustained primarily by multiple sexual partnerships in the general population. Youths and young adults in Nigeria are particularly vulnerable to HIV, with young women at higher risk than young men. There are many high risk factors that contribute to the spread of HIV, including prostitution, high risk practices amongst itinerant workers, high prevalence of STIs, clandestine high risk heterosexual and homosexual practices, international trafficking of women and irregular blood screening.
The implication of the HIV/AIDS scenario places additional burden on medical care provision, increases the number of orphaned children, reduces the availability of labour (as it involves the active and productive work force) and ultimately has an adverse impact on economic development. HIV/AIDS is a health problem that needs constant attention.
CHIP aims to promote HIV/AIDS prevention, and provide care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Reproductive Health: Women and girls in Nigeria face daily challenges in leading healthy, fully productive lives. Nigeria has about 40% rate of illiteracy among women and one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. Unwanted pregnancies result in unsafe abortion practices amongst young girls and women of reproductive age. Lack of sexuality education, good nutrition, non-use of contraceptives, faulty health services all contribute to the rise in mortality rate of women and infants. CHIP aims to promote programs that will help reduce barriers to safe motherhood. CHIP will engage families and entire communities, through religious and community leaders, to recognise the benefits of family planning and the need to meet the reproductive health needs of young people. We plan to expand community level access to family planning information and commodities to ensure informed reproductive health decision making by women and their families. CHIP raises awareness about maternal health risk and mobilises action to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all women. Contraceptive usage is promoted amongst women for family planning purposes.
Health Care Delivery: Poor health facilities in communities especially in the grassroots areas are also a contributory factor to the problems of health in our society. Most health centres and hospitals are poorly funded and ill-equipped with little or no facilities, drugs and appropriate health personnel.
CHIP would assist communities engage in a drug revolving fund scheme where basic drugs and first aid kits will be obtained at affordable prices. Capacities' of leaders of community stakeholder groups will be enhanced to advocate for proper health care delivery.
Small Business Management And Resourcefulness Training (SMART)
Small Business Management and Resourcefulness Training (SMART) is an initiative of Accord geared towards assisting micro and small business entrepreneurs acquire the necessary tips/knowledge on how to obtain growth for their businesses and sustain it.
In this age of globalisation, local businesses in developing economies face competition from global brands in the provision of goods and services. Consumers are increasingly being provided with greater variety and choices. As a result, traditional tastes and modes of business operation have proved ineffective in providing local business with the skills with which to compete with their counterparts both in the domestic market and the international arena.
A major challenge facing new and existing entrepreneurs in developing economies is the need to adapt the structure of their business enterprise to global competition in an increasingly knowledge intensive global economy, foster innovation and new business creation, and develop new goods and services that respond to changing domestic and international demand.
Experts the world over have agreed that the establishment of micro and small businesses is a major way of fighting poverty. Thus, entrepreneurs who are economically active and can access some funds establish businesses to help cater for their needs and the needs of their dependants. However, majority of these businesses crumble along the way as a result of mismanagement of funds and inadequate planning. Sometimes business funds are diverted for other uses and entrepreneurs find it difficult to sustain their businesses because they lack the technical knowledge on how to maintain their businesses.
The proposed SMART training program is an innovative small business training program designed to address this need. This program draws on critical market research in designing training curricular and modules which address the core issues which face small businesses and their managers in today's open global economy.
SMART is aimed at building the capacities of individuals to own and sustain their businesses. The beneficiaries of the SMART program are taken through intensive training courses designed to help them acquire basic tips on how to effectively manage their businesses.
- To foster innovation which responds to changing domestic and international demands.
- To enhance proficiency through building participants skills set in harnessing ICT as a useful resource for business management.
- To help participants develop a global business strategy by encouraging them to think globally while acting locally.
- To boost the competitiveness of local businesses by creating awareness and ability to produce products and services which meet global standards and quality requirements.
- To connect participants with critical research and cutting edge innovations in their enterprise sector.
- To enhance the capacities of micro and small entrepreneurs to engage in and manage sustainable businesses.
- To create a forum where entrepreneurs can partner and exchange information as regards the growth of their businesses.
Credit Assistance For Resourceful Development (CARD)
Development practitioners and experts the world over have agreed that poverty is a bane to the development process in any given community/area. Poverty has no single definition but is a phenomenon that affects every faucet of the human life. It affects health, education, sanitation, nutrition and development in general. In the face of different interpretations of poverty, lack of control of the means of income generation has been identified as a reason for a state of continued deprivation. The poor are poor primarily because of their state of economic powerlessness.
Poverty is caused by factors beyond unwillingness to work or an inability to defer immediate gratification. Poverty is the worst threat to humanity. At the dawn of the twenty first century, over 1.3 billion people across the world were living in abject poverty. In Nigeria for instance the phenomenal rise in the incident of poverty since the 1980s/1990s is widely regarded as a tragic paradox. Inspite of its enormous natural resources, communities in Nigeria especially in the Niger Delta region still presents depressing performances on vital indicators such as income, life expectancy, adult literacy, infant mortality, food security, water and sanitation. Poor national economic management, neglect of agriculture, corruption and weak governance have been identified as the causal factors of poverty in Nigeria. Past programs by the government aimed at poverty reduction yielded little or no positive results largely due to poor coordination and the ineffective targeting of the poor leading to leakage of benefits to unintended beneficiaries.
The inadequacies of past approaches to poverty reduction contributed to the emergence of a people centred development strategy. This approach recognizes the potentials of the people especially the poor. Microfinance has been regarded as an effective strategy for human development. As a development tool, Microfinance recognizes the availability of capital in affordable terms and is vital to efforts aimed at enhancing the income generating capacity of the poor.
Micro finance is therefore an important instrument of development as it empowers beneficiaries and clients to be financially stable.
The Accord CARD (Credit Assistance for Resourceful Development) initiative is a micro finance program aimed at reducing poverty and creating employment through the provision of financial assistance for sustainable and resourceful development to economically active poor individuals and micro/small businesses who cannot attract funding from the conventional financial institutions. CARD aims to give people the financial tools they need – microloans, business training and other financial services they need to walk their way out of poverty.
Accord CARD is unique in that it not only looks at poverty alleviation through encouraging savings, providing credit and insurance, but also looks at promoting livelihoods, empowering women, building peoples' organizations and positively changing institutions. The underlying assumption of the CARD program is that availability of capital is critical to the effort of enhancing the income generating capacity of the poor. It is assumed that the poor have ideas on what to do to enhance their socio-economic condition, but remain poor because they lack the capital base.
OBJECTIVES OF CARD
- To assess the livelihood pattern of intended beneficiaries
- To set up a savings scheme for beneficiaries.
- To provide micro credit to selected beneficiaries for business start-up and to scale up existing businesses.
- To build the capacity of beneficiaries to engage in income generating ventures.
Good Governance And Development Strategy
Good Governance and Development are essentially two sides of a coin that give meaning to life, add value to societies and dignity to communities. Strong and vibrant institutions and nations emerge as a result of good governance.
Advanced and developed societies, as statistical facts show, are good governance driven and compliant. Whether at the very remote local level in rural communities or at regional and national levels, development deliverables in terms of good living standards and sustainable livelihood are brought about through the practice of good accountable and responsive governance.
The poor state of local communities right across the country, is not only a clear indication of the failure of our local authorities i.e. LGAs in delivering the primary objective of community development, but is a direct result of the lack of a good governance practice. Billions of dollars (Trillions of naira) are allocated annually to local government Authorities LGAs aimed at improving socio economic standards and sustainable community livelihoods. These huge resources have made no measurable impact as indicated by the pathetic and pervasive state of wide spread poverty in rural communities.
Poor performance indicators are derived from the Weak capacity of local authorities exacerbated by the unaccountable culture of resource utilization. Bad governance, simply put, has been the huge impediment to sustainable development even at the state, regional and national levels. The urgency for intervention calls for a multi – stakeholder engagement to tackle the overriding need to entrench good responsive governance systems at all levels to promote and facilitate socio economic development.
The ACCORD good governance framework aims to advance sustainable development especially within the local context through local institutional strengthening.
Essentially, the culture of good governance, underpinned by deeply entrenched processes and systems should be the practice of state and non-state actors. The good governance jingle is on every lip these days, and is being bandied about, but how to walk the talk has critically being the practical challenge.
As local development experts constructively engaged in practical activities for local advancement for over two decades, and based on studies we conducted for the World Bank, UNDP and other local and international agencies, ACCORD has developed a strategy (AGGS) to effectively respond to these challenges. ACCORD's GGS is the cardinal operational instrument that ACCORD has designed and taken on board (as a local content input in consonance with international standards and good practices); to facilitate and help drive governance efforts and institutional processes for local development.
Accord's Bizconnect provides an electronic platform that helps entrepreneurs/small businesses in the Niger Delta market their goods and services online. A major feature of Accord's Bizconnect is the provision of an online Small business Management and Resourcefulness Training (SMART) for entrepreneurs to help them manage their businesses successfully.