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Communities and Experts come Together to Change the Fate of Pollinators in Nigeria

Pollinators like birds, bees, butterflies and bats play a key role in maintaining the world's ecosystems and food security. More than 75% of the world’s food crops (fruit, vegetables and seeds) depend on these animals.

Bees in particular are one of the most efficient pollination vectors in the world. Without them an essential part of the reproductive process of plants would be lost. Yet we are not aware about the work they do in the world’s biodiversity and ecosystem. Over the past few years there has been a worrisome decline in the population of pollinators. Close to 35% of invertebrate pollinators and about 17% of vertebrate pollinators face global extinction.

In light of this alarming situation, Nigeria has decided to take a decisive step forward: civil society organizations, policy makers, members of the government, scientists and practitioners participated in the first BES-Net Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue to come together and change the fate of pollinators.

Mr. Emmanuel Wirsiy Binnyuy is the Executive Director of the Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW), an organization aimed at building capacity for women and young people in eco-business and forest regeneration in the Kilum-Ijim forest area. CAMGEW’s microfinance program provides entrepreneurial training and loans to women who then form solidarity groups or cooperatives that work together to lift their communities. To date, 1,580 women have been trained and 1,325 women have received loans through the organization. Mr. Wirsiy elaborates: "The cooperatives create savings plans that provide a form of insurance for those who cannot repay their loans at times. They also help mentor and train women who do not yet meet the eligibility criteria for loans."

Connecting the dots

Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue participants. © BES-Net.

It is hard to imagine scientists, politicians, indigenous people and practitioners sitting together at the same table to discuss strategies on how to improve their country. However, in 2019, the BES-Net Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue held in Nairobi, (Kenya), has shown that great things can happen when combining different key networks and pooling strengths together. Members across these sectors had the opportunity to speak face-to-face in order to create actionable policies with effective results.

The Nigerian team during the Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue. © BES-Net.

At the beginning of the trialogue, the Nigerian team consisted of 6 members who had never met before. Currently, this group has grown to 26 members working together to improve pollinator conservation in Nigeria.

Bridging the gap through collaboration

Using the BES-Net Trialogue Methodology, the Nigerian team put their heads together to discuss the importance of pollinators, analyze the issues that they are facing and brainstorm solutions for possible action.

Material of the event methodology. © BES-Net.

The BES-Net Trialogue brought together the three communities of science, policy and practice into clear and constructive dialogue and, as a result, they returned home with responsibilities and an action plan that they are currently carrying out. Nigeria further benefited from organizing a National Trialogue following the Regional Trialogue, that helped seal their commitment further.

As a result of the Trialogue, Nigeria joined The Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators and is developing a national database on pollinators, and an app available on Android and iOS platforms that will help to collect and store data on pollinators in Nigeria.

Building on the Trialogue, the team also developed a national plan that includes priority projects, identified across the country. Currently, the Nigerian Federal Government is trying to adopt these initiatives as a national action plan.

Experience has shown that a one-way transfer of information alone does not strengthen capacity nor lead to inclusive and effective decision-making. People in opposite fields tend to believe that there is a gap between their community and another.

Participants visiting the field of the practitioners. © BES-Net.

The Trialogue Methodology provides a space to foster mutual learning, inter-cultural understanding and inter-institutional coordination. Listening to other people from different areas can only enrich our knowledge and create opportunities to understand each community and evaluate the best way to communicate and work together. This cultivates a sense of togetherness.

Adding to this, when local people see the government face to face and hear a commitment from them, it gives them hope and pushes them to do more. And when the government hears all voices, more inclusive and effective policies are applied.

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