alonge_kunlere_presentation

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Despite its abundant natural water resources, humongous annual water budgets and various interventions by governments and international partners, Nigeria’s water sector still faces significant and debilitating challenges. Today, over 90% of Nigerians, lack access to potable, clean water. In rural areas in Nigeria, one of the biggest causes of persistent water crisis is poor communication of public policies on water resource management and the resultant effect of a lack of synergy arising from asymmetrical knowledge sharing and ineffective inflow of information from decision makers to residents and vice versa. In 2018, internet penetration in Nigeria was put at 47.1% of her total population. However, only 12% of total internet users in Nigeria are on social media, with majority of users located in urban areas. This means that internet penetration (and indeed, social media use) in rural areas where majority of Nigerians live are still characteristically low. Thus, the reality on ground is, although social media use Is growing, particularly in urban areas, however, the bulk of people resident in rural areas in Nigeria are not on social media but instead, still largely depend on traditional communication mediums! Thus, seamless, critical exchange of information and feedback, oversights or ensuring maximum participation of residents in the formulation and implementation of water policies in rural areas will be impossible without creatively and effectively engaging such traditional communication mediums. Very limited studies have focused on this critical aspect. This study, thus, explores various traditional mediums of communication in rural areas (such as town hall meetings, peer-to-peer associations, sectoral groupings etc.) in Nigeria and their unique advantages, and canvasses for the mainstreaming of such mediums, alongside the emerging new media, into strategies for dissemination of public information bordering on water management and driving public participation in water programs in rural areas in Nigeria.

 

Idowu Kunlere

Environmental Protection, NESREA

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