By Blessing Odega
Mr Celestine Okwudili, the Programme Coordinator of Good Governance for Oxfam in Nigeria, says Oxfam has assisted 245,000 people in Nigeria with water, sanitation and hygiene kits.
He said that aim was to improve lives in the short term and create long-term sustainable change.
Okwudili, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Jos, said that this approach was one of Oxfam’s approaches to even the gap of inequality and poverty in Nigeria.
He said that if inequality and poverty were left unchecked, they would pull our societies apart and increase crimes and insecurity.
Okwudili said that the approach was also to provide certain basic amenities.
He said that Oxfam had started to use other approaches such as the empowerment of the people to demand transparency and accountability which were fundamental to changing Nigeria’s story of a rich nation of poor people.
“One of Oxfam’s approaches used to even the gap of inequality and poverty is the empowering of people to demand transparency and accountability.
“This in turn transforms governance through citizen participation which leads to transparency and accountability which is the long term change that Nigeria needs and is the approach on which Oxfam in Nigeria’s strategy is built,” he said.
Okwudili said that Oxfam was currently working to mobilise Nigeria’s growing middle class by building the capacity of citizens to influence the policy choices of government, demand better service delivery and hold the state accountable.
He said that Oxfam was also working with the private sector to create economic opportunities for the rural poor via the provision of jobs and teaching various skills which in turn would empower the poor to be financially independent.
“Through our delivery work, both directly and with our partners, we are bridging the gap of poverty via providing economic opportunities that will support women and men in Nigeria to sustainably improve their livelihoods,” he said.
Okwudili said that the issue of women’s low participation in politics, which is also another aspect of inequality faced by women, was also being addressed by Oxfam.++