A project in the making
We visited two communities, Oke Ira Nla and Otodo Gbame all in Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos on 2 February 2017. Both are informal fishing communities with a majority of the men and women involved in fishing activities. The two communities are in the water front of Lagos Lagoon water body.
They have common problems ranging from inadequate roofs and shelter, lack of basic amenities such as electricity and good water etc, to very poor sanitation and hygienic environment. This is associated with low standard of living and no access to improved fisheries and processing technologies.
The first community is situated right on the lagoon with housing on stilts made of bamboos and zinc. The second community is on land and water and much bigger.
They just witnessed a major eviction where their houses and business locations were burnt off. The Justice and Empowerment Initiative (JEI), a Nigerian Federation of Slum Dwellers International, have taken up the initiative of advocacy and dialogue with the Government to prevent these communities from being evicted. They should rather be upgrading them. There have been successes such as court order in their favour and subsequent call for dialogue.
As for now, there is adequate provision of legal back up for them and existing work along planning and provision of shelters for them, There is, however, no or low capacity building or training for fisheries, sanitation and other things important for their livelihood.
the Mundus maris FCFMT Chapter carried out this first exploratory visit with the intention to plan something along clean up of the environment, which is one of our core actions. We went with a sustainability and affordability architect to get a better feel for the needs. We are also in contact with WeCyclers about solutions to recicling and sanitation. They are interested in a potential collaboration.
We therefore see a need to go back, consolidate the initial contact, to listen to the dwellers in the communities in order to develop a concrete plan with them of what can and needs to be done.
Watch this space!
Text and photos by AyoJesutomi Abiodun-Solanke