Niger Delta Women for Justice



An Independent study submitted in  partial fulfillment of a Diploma Degree in Community Based Development

Coady International Institute St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish Nova Scotia November, 2000

By Anemieyeseigha Annie Brisibe - Niger Delta Women for Justice, Port Harcourt

Specialization: Participatory Approaches to Development.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgements

Chapter One. 1.1.


1.2. Structure of NDWJ

1.3 Vision and Mission NDWJ

1.4 The Goals and Objectives of NDWJ

1.5 My role and Experience in NDWJ

1.6 Current status of NDWJ· Macro Level· Micro LevelChapter Two. Definitions of key issue of the study

2.1 Socio-Economic characteristics of the target population· Population· Natural Resources· Occupation· Significance of culture· Health system· The rights of ownership· The local communities and the MNCs

2.2. Environmental Problems in the Delta.

2.3. Purpose of the Study

2.4. Significance of the studyChapter Three. Literature Review

3.1. Definitions of Advocacy and Networking

3.2. Methods of advocacy and networking as a means of empowerment

3.3. Role of NGOs and CBOs Chapter Four.

4.1 Review of findings

4.2 Conclusion

4.3 Recommendation

4.4 References


It is never in most cases the belief of a people, especially the deprived, poor and hungry, to think of mobilizing themselves to form a group to resist an action that will lead to social change. It usually takes the effort of a conscious few who understand the implications of living in the situation and know that it will remain the same, unless there is a collective effort to challenge the system.I started my career as a Community Development Officer, applying skills that will contribute to the empowerment of the local people economically. I was very obsessed with my job and worked with a lot of conviction that what I do might help change the lives of some of the people in the local communities in the Niger Delta.

The problems were very visible and this was increasing my awareness on the problems faced by the people in relation to poverty, frustrations, cultural degradation, moral erosion,  caused by loss of their entire environment to pollution. How did this all start? The multinational oil giants came to Nigeria to a little Ijaw community called Oloibiri in 1956. In 1978, under the leadership of General Olusegun Obasanjo in an undemocratic system the lands of the local people were expropriated through the Land Use Decree Act. This act robbed the people of the Niger Delta off their ancestral land rights.

The action taken by General Obasanjo was seen as an act of discrimination and outright oppression on the people of the Niger Delta. Without any form of compensation, the local people were left to seek their own survival and were left at the mercy of the oil companies. The Niger Delta is flooded with MNCs such as Royal Dutch Shell, Elf, Texaco, Chevron, Mobil, Agip, and WillBros. All these bugs with different activities polluting the environment. But the truth of the matter is that you can never make a feasible change in a place  that is completely devastated by the exploration of oil and gas activities. I kept thinking of alternative sources of livelihood for the people, but was never able to develop any meaningful plan on alternative measures that could help change their situation.

I realized that apart from the fact that there was a lot of ignorance amongst the local people on the impact of oil on their environment resulting from oil activities. This gave me an insight into creating awareness alongside community development. From my involvement in the communities I realized that there can be no real community development without environmental development, especially if both strongly depend on one another and are culturally bound together.

Federick Douglass, the 19th century African-American abolitionist, said, "Power concedes nothing  without the demand." The people of the Niger Delta needed the power to demand what was rightfully theirs. The need for public education as a means of awareness creation became the next option. This led to my advocating for people's self awareness on the environment and the impact it is having on the lives of the people, especially using my local community as an example in the Delta, where a series of canals have been dug across and around the community to enable the oil companies have access to their sites.                    

The awareness created by non governmental organizations and people's organizations on the impact of oil and gas activities on the environment and the lives of the people in the Niger Delta led to the people mobilizing themselves to campaign against and resist the actions of the MNCs. This led to a lot of bloodshed in the local communities and the MNCs taking charge of the situation by employing staff from the military to protect their flow stations. The local communities have not seen  peace since this development.

However, when engaged in the process of advocacy initiatives at international levels, "The participation of primary stakeholders such as the local people in the communities, is of prime importance. It is very crucial to make sure that the focus and pursuit of advocacy initiatives constantly remain pro-poor and pursue the interest of primary stakeholders and not the interest of those organizations which have the capacity to dialogue or critical analyze with multilateral and bilateral institutions." (Global Alliance News, 2000, Vol.1, No 8 :3)

Annie Brisibe. President/General Coordinator Niger Delta Women for Justice,Port Harcourt, Rivers State.     


This project started with a lot of tension in my heart, the thought of actualizing effective strategies to fulfil my activities and my dreams and the thought of contributing to the struggles of so many others in the world in identifying more effective strategies in fighting the powers that rule the world by draining the blood of the poor masses.

On this note, I would like to thank my supervisor/advisor Olga Gladkikh for your intelligent guidance and your very accurate judgments in my choice of selections and presentations. Without you I wouldn't have had the simplest of idea on how to develop a good project. Thank you. Secondly, not forgetting my mother, who sent me words of encouragement even with her heart full of fear for my kind of job, she never stopped sending words of love.My Brother, Ebimoyaibo Brisibe, the man who took after my father in my heart, your words were words of strength for me, may God  Bless you. My older sister, Mary Osusuluwa, thank you for your sisterly responsibility. For members of my organization, for your support and your belief in my abilities. To Miriam Isoun and Oronto Douglas for building my future. To Jeanne Moffat, for always asking about my health and my work, thank you. To Julius Ihonvbere of the Ford Foundation for making it possible for me to attend this program, You gave me hope and aspirations. To Mary Coyle, Director of the Coady Institute for your encouraging smiles.To all Coady Staff for your words of encouragement. To CIDA, COUTU Foundation, and Katherine Fleming Foundation for making it possible for me to attend the Institute.And finally to the Ford Foundation for contributing to individual and institutional development in Nigeria. May God bless all of you for your contribution to my existence.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Corporations are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we walk on. They are in the food, the clothes, the cars, the speed, the news, the music, the cool, the hype, the sex…………………..Adbusters Magazine on Corporate Crackdown

Chapter One

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". Anthropologist Margaret Mead 

1.1. Introduction

This study is in partial fulfillment of a Diploma Degree in Community Based Development. The practical aim of this research is to identify effective strategies in advocacy and networking as a means of empowerment both locally and internationally by community-based organizations. Including their relationship with each other and with their target institution. In other words, to make a difference to the ultimate success or failure in achieving the desired objectives. This research aims to examine the effective strategies applied by groups in advocacy and networking, and the form of application of these strategies, more so the structure and the strength of their organizations. This study is in five parts. The first part explains the structure of my organization, its target population, the goals and objectives of the study. The second part examines my role and experience in NDWJ. The current status of NDWJ at the macro and micro levels, the purpose of the study, its significance and the definition of the key issues. The third part presents my review of the literature, and describes the role of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), which in the past were referred to as people's organizations. The strategies applied so far for effective campaigns, mobilization and the different methods of advocacy and networking as a means of empowerment are reviewed, along with ways to evaluate these efforts.The fourth part looks at the reviews of findings and concludes with recommendations from findings and references. My Goal is to be able to identify effective and possible strategies that can be used in community mobilization against Multinational Corporations in the Niger Delta region by analyzing the strategies used by other groups against Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in other parts of the world.

I hope this research will be useful to people's organizations (POs) and Non governmental organizations (NGOS) in their struggle to effectively mobilize and campaign against corporate rule and corporate greed.

1.2. Structure of the Niger Delta Women for Justice

Brief Description: The name of my organization is called the Niger Delta Women for Justice. NDW-Justice was founded on November 22, 1998. The organization is a child of circumstances born out of 40 years of economic and environmental neglect of the Niger Delta Region of South-Southern Nigeria, culminating in the militarization of the region over the past seven years and increased human rights violations. It was observed that most of the issues were issues that in most cases affect women. The organization originated out of continuos agitation for development and environmental justice from the popular demands of the women in the Niger Delta. 

NDWJs Staffing: The organization hierarchy is in six stages.

The Management Board: The management board has seven members, four women and three men. This is because the organization is a women-focused organization and encourages women to be equally represented on the board and to be involved in decisions that affect both men and women, but are mostly focused on women

The functions of the Management Board is to

· advise the executives,

· support in aspects of finances for the organization and

· give moral support to the members.

· The National Executive: The National Executive body is made up of only women. The selection of the members of the national executive is done by a general election. Elections are held every two years. There are six states in the Niger Delta, so the organization selects its leadership from three zones, which are South, West and Central. This process encourages equal representation and participation of members from the different zones.

 The functions of the National Executive are to:

· Organize meetings at the national level and national meetings quarterly

· Build  the structures of the organization and make sure they are maintained

· Seek funds for the organization's programs

· Build networks and coalitions  for the organization

· Monitor program activities

· Publish newsletters and reports

· Organize press briefings and press releases

 There are various Committees in the organization they include:

- Women in Democracy and Development Committee

- Training and Logistics Committee

- Legal Aid and Counseling Committee

- Zonal Executive: There is representation of both men and women on the advisory board of the three zones The zonal advisory boards are made up of three men and two women advisors. The Zones have only women executive members.

· Unit Executive: The Unit Executives are all women. But with two male and two women advisors.

· Volunteers: Most of the volunteers of the organization are women, but with a minimum participation of the male members. The organization has fifteen women volunteers and eight male volunteers that are full time.

· Members: There are more women members in the organization, with a few men members. NDWJ encourages women to be involved in all its positions and to take active parts in the decision-making processes.

 1.3 Vision and Mission of The Niger Delta Women For Justice

 The organizations Vision: To use grassroots mass actions for creating awareness and building community unity

 Mission Statement: It is committed to improving the personal, economic and educational status of women, and to ensuring that their environment, culture and human rights are upheld through emancipation by means of: Campaign and Advocacy, Building Networks and coalitions, Economic Empowerment Projects, Community Mobilization, Awareness Creation, Training and Workshops, Lobbying, Research and Information.

 1.4 Goals and Objectives of the Niger Delta Women for Justice.

 Goal: To contribute to the changes and upliftment in women's living standard in the Niger Delta

  Aims and Objectives

 The need for educational and income generating support for the women of the Niger Delta is tremendous.  Women live in abject poverty and are subject to continued human rights violations from the Nigerian government and multinational oil companies.   NDWJ aims to transform the lives of women through the following objectives:

  Human Rights

 · To create an awareness amongst women about their human and environmental  rights

· To publicize human rights abuses through alerts, campaigns and partnerships with other organizations.

· To encourage women in building up their confidence within their community.

· To address issues on custom and religious practices that work to keep women in bondage.

   Community Development

 · To strengthen women's potential to become self-reliant.

· To increase the participation of women in the socio-economic development of their community in ways that can be sustained through their own efforts.

· To promote networking, peer group learning and encourage mutual support between women of different ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta.

  Research and Information

 · To provide information on gender-related issues in education, health, income generation, finance, environmental damage, legal and human rights.

· To undertake research to uncover and disseminate information on the realities of women's lives.

·  To monitor and assess the impact of NDWJ programs.

· To generate funding for NDWJ's programs

  1.5 My role and Experience with the Niger Delta Women for Justice.

  In my organization I hold two very sensitive and very challenging positions which are as the President and the General Coordinator of the organization. This is because the organization started as an action oriented; mass movement with specific focus on women related issues. As time progressed, the management of the organization and the National Executives resolved after a board meeting in April 1999, that there was every need to broaden the scope of the organization, considering the fact that the target population of the organization had a lot of economic problems.  Most of which were oil related from gross environmental damage due to oil spills and canalization of farmlands by the MNC, and other non-oil related issues related to logging, land habitation, and erosion, etc.

  The board realized that for people to be properly involved in activities for self-sustainability, they have to be economically empowered.  The organization then agreed to expand the scope and the work activities. The members of the organization had to function as volunteers for the needed skills until the organization could build its capacity to a level where it could raise enough funds for extra activities. This led to the creation of Committees such as, Women in Democracy and Development, Training and Logistics, Legal Aid and Counseling.

  My role doubled as a leader and a volunteer staff, both in the field involved in mobilization, and in the office acting as the General coordinator of the organizations.

 · The President: Being the president of the organization, I have been involved in community mobilization, building structures in local communities, local and international advocacy, campaigns, writing press releases, granting interviews, attending board meetings, attending networks meetings, building more networks for the organization internationally.

 · The General Coordinator: As the General Coordinator, my role has been that of office and volunteer coordinator, recruiting volunteers, training volunteers, organizing workshops, granting interviews, writing reports, organizing public lectures, carrying out community dialogues, and raising funds for the organization.

  My Experience: My experience with the organization has been that of real challenges, and belief in what I am doing. It's been difficult and trying but very fulfilling. These are some of my experiences as the General Coordinator involved in community economic development projects in the local communities. I have been involved in a number of development organizations, some serving as a volunteer and others as part of the development planning process. One of the most outstanding development actions I have been involved in has been in collaboration with the grassroots organization and women's groups with over 46 ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta. We are committed to improving the economic and educational status of women and to ensuring that their human and environmental rights are upheld.

  I have been involved in the processes of using advocacy and networking as a means of actualizing some of the objectives of my organization. In my job, I have had to relate human rights issues to local community development programs, and apply techniques in identifying the needs of the people in the community, especially the needs of the women. But one of the major hindrances in the programs and the region in which I work has been mostly the problems and conflicts in these regions due to environmental pollution and exploitation by the MNCs. The organization builds mass awareness through public education, media campaigns and what we call social evangelism (public speech presentations).

 Working with the local people in the Niger Delta has also given me an opportunity to experience and appreciate the pains and feelings of a people who are completely neglected and separated from any form of civilization and government support. They have suffered in the midst of plenty and have had to endure and live in an environment that they once called home, but have had tremendous changes over the last 40 years with the presence of the MNCs. They have had to cling to their culture as their only form of identity.

 The changes over the years from my experience with the local people have been that of grief, pain and frustration. Combining community development and human rights in my job helped me to plan better and to understand the problems of the people in a broader perspective. Based on my association with people from communities where I work other than my own, I was able to create more awareness on the impact of pollution on their environment, especially the river water which all communities consume. It was realized that the people, especially the women, lacked any idea as regards to the effects of drinking water from polluted rivers. The resultant effect has been that of cholera, diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and high infant mortality rate and, of course, so many other diseases that we are not aware of.

   1.6 Current Status of the Niger Delta Women for Justice.

  NDWJ has grown from strength to strength. A fairly new organization, it has broadened its structure and activities from the micro level to the macro level. The micro level of the organization started with the initial plan of the organization, which had a weak structure, and tasks were centered only on the immediate issues and concerns. The organization started as a mass movement, an action oriented women-focused organization. It dealt with issues mainly of:

  Micro level

· Human Rights

· Campaigns and advocacy locally

· Building networks

· People mobilization

· Community dialogue

· Organizing mass protests against the multinational corporations and the Nigerian Governments.

  The organization has expanded its activities from the micro level to the macro level in order to achieve some of its goals. Today the organization is involved in:

  Macro level

· Campaigning and advocacy internationally

· Building networks and coalitions internationally

· Granting both print and electronic media interviews

· Attending international conferences

· Lobbying

· Mediating

· Research and publications

  Chapter Two: Definition of Key Issues

 2.1 Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Target Population

  Population: The population of the Niger Delta is estimated to be about ten million people, and is growing at about three percent a year. The total population of the Niger Delta is about 14% of the overall population in the country. There are more than 40 ethnic groups in the area with links to the linguistic groups of Ijaw, Edo, and Igbo.

  Natural Resources: The Niger Delta is one of the world's largest wetlands, and the largest in Africa. The Niger Delta is rich in both renewable and non renewable natural resources such as oil, gas, bitumen, non timber forest products and timber forest products, wildlife, etc. 98% of the total revenue for the Nigerian Government is generated from oil and gas exploration "The Niger Delta encompasses over 20,000 square kilometers. It is a vast floodplain built up by the accumulation of centuries of silt washed down the Niger and Benue Rivers, composed of four main ecological zones-coastal barrier islands, mangroves, fresh water swamp forests, and lowland rainforests-whose boundaries vary according to the patterns of seasonal flooding." (The Price of Oil, 1999: 22)

  Mangroves have abundant major uses. Non-timber forest products collected from the mangrove forests include local medicines, dyes, thatching, and food species as diverse as monkeys and periwinkles. In the freshwater swamp forests, there are raffia palms, mango, ogbono (bush mango); ogbono is a common food ingredient in the local diet, which is sold across Nigeria. Land snails and other products are all significant.

  Occupation: The occupations of the local people in the Niger Delta are basically fishing, peasant farming, small-scale trading and local income generating projects. The men are considered to be the breadwinners in the traditional Niger Delta home, but in reality the women work three times harder than their male counterparts. The women care for the family; they trade, fish and undertake peasant-farming activities.  Their tasks are both productive and reproductive, while the men are mostly involved in palm wine tapping, building canoes and speed boat driving.

  Majority of the youths from the region are unemployed. They do not benefit from the presence of the MNCs operating in their communities. Less than 5% of the people from the Niger Delta work in these companies, women from the region working in the MNCs are less than 1%. A majority of the beneficiaries are from other parts of Nigeria.

  Significance of the culture: The forest builds the spirituality of the people; it is their link to their gods. Most of the forests in the Niger Delta are considered sacred. They are untouched, preserved and served. The plants, animals, trees, birds, fruits are regarded as sacred. Same attitude is applied to certain streams and rivers. No body is allowed to fish in these streams and rivers. The rivers and streams do not only provide water for life, drinking, washing and bathing, they not only provide fish for food, they are also sacred and are bound up intricately with the life of the community, of the entire Niger Delta people. Destruction of "undeveloped" forest is thus as important to local communities as the destruction of cultivated land. This translates to a deep awareness of the importance of the environment and the necessity to protect and preserve it. The People of the Niger Delta knew that the land that was their inheritance was rich farmland, that the fresh and salt-water rivers that surrounded them were blessed with plenty. They did everything to preserve this rich inheritance.

  The people like singing and dancing. Children walk barefoot, naked sometimes, and play traditional games that are significant with their culture. Families live as one, eat together, tell stories and care for one another. Almost every activity is shared amongst community members from local traditional festivals to feasting. Most of the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta hold strongly to their cultural heritage. A Strong family tie is a cultural norm in the Delta that bonds family traditions together. The gods of the lands and the rivers are considered to be the protectors of the people.

  Every age group of both youths (male and female), men and women have a role to play in issues concerning the family and the community. Every activity is a festival of joy fishing, farming, trading, palm wine tapping, deaths, births, marriages and spirituality.  The marriage, birth and death practices between the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta have some similarities. The men are considered the head of the families, while the women are the supporters. The people still hold strongly to their traditional religious systems, even with the coming of the western influenced religious systems, the practice is still traditional.

  Health System

 The people of the Niger Delta local communities depend solely on their environment for survival, the trees, the plants, and the animals. The major form of health services is the traditional health care system (THCS). The traditional birth System (TBS) is still the most trusted and used system in the local communities. The local people use the plants from the forest for medications. Like the traditional birth attendants (TBA), the women depend on local herbs for medication.

  In most areas of the Niger Delta the source of drinking water is drawn directly from rivers, lakes and creeks. When there is a spill it causes severe health and social problems for the entire local community that consumes the water from the river. According to the report from The Price of Oil, it stated that "Crude oil contains thousands of different chemicals, many of them toxic and some known to be carcinogenic with no determined safe threshold for human exposure." (1999:45)

  The Rights of Ownership: The people of the local communities in the Niger Delta do not have rights of ownership to their lands. In the past a typical traditional home believed in preserving lands for generations born and yet unborn. This is a tradition that builds strong family ties and has enabled the local people to contribute to their individual and communal development. They were happy with just constructing a mud house and living in it, without having to go to the cities to look for "white collard jobs" as it is popularly called.

  Home was home for the local people; most of whom did not and have never had any interactions with the city. Their home was their roots. The land was their only source of wealth. They ate, washed, lived, died, played, made babies, filled their spirituality, built their dreams and their tomorrows on those lands. It is the most important piece in the lives of the people.

  In 1978, things changed for the poor ethnic minorities who had no political and economic power, to confront the situation. Without any consultation or any form of participation by the local people in making decisions affecting them. This singular undemocratic and unconstitutional act changed the form of survival of the local people in the Niger Delta communities.

  The Local Communities and the MNCs

  The coming of the oil industry has transformed the local economy of the oil producing communities. The people who lived and depended on their environment today have nothing to depend on. This is as a result of the activities of oil and gas exploration. There have been reoccurring conflicts between the local communities and the Multinational Corporations on issues of environmental pollution and destruction of their culture by the activities of the MNCs.

  In 1990, the people were forced to question the situation when the Ogonis under the framework of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. (MOSOP) resisted the actions of the MNCs. The question was "What and who benefits from oil and gas operations and who suffers the pains of environmental pollution?

  Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a human rights activist, poet, playwright, 1995 Goldman Environmental Prizewinner, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and Ogoni tribesman. He and eight fellow activists were executed in Nigeria on November 10, 1995, for battling the oil and gas industry in their Ogoni homeland. Ogoniland is in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. According to the group "Free Nigeria Movement" in the United States (1997) it stated that "Shell Oil discovered petroleum in Ogoniland in 1958, and since then has extracted $30 billion worth of oil and natural gas". The Ogoni people derive little benefit from the oil operations in their land, suffering still from basic services, lack of health care and high poverty rates. Meanwhile, the traditional Ogoni fishing and farming life has been devastated by oil pollution, and in the words of Wall Street Journal the land has become a "ravaged environment."

  Ken Saro-Wiwa rose to the occasion of this human and environmental tragedy, and founded the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in 1990. In a non-violent campaign, MOSOP united hundreds of thousands of Ogonis, who demanded economic compensation for their sacrificed livelihoods, and called for a clean up of the oil spills, pipeline breaks and toxic wastes that were the residue of industrial oil development. The reaction of the Nigerian military led government was swift and deadly. Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco and other oil companies generate 80% of Nigeria's annual revenue, and the military dictatorship sent troops into Ogoniland in a desperate and deadly maneuver to protect these interests. Since 1993, 20 Ogoni towns have been destroyed, 1,800 people have been killed, and 50,000 left homeless.

  According to human rights groups, Shell has been linked to some of these human rights violations. An internal Nigerian military memo-written in May 1994, stated: "Shell operations are still impossible unless ruthless military operations are undertaken for smooth economic activities to commence." The document suggested that 400 soldiers should begin "wasting operations" and "wasting" Ogoni leaders who are "especially vocal individuals." Twelve days later, Ken Saro-Wiwa was arrested under fabricated charges.

  On November 10, 1995, those charges culminated in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni activists.  Since then, other governments have expressed their outrage toward the Nigerian Government's action to silence its critics. Immediate reaction included suspending Nigeria's membership in the Commonwealth, recalling the country's ambassadors and an international discussion about an arms embargo and freezing the Nigerian military ruler's assets held oversees.

  Meanwhile, Shell continues its operations, "business as usual." A few days after the executions, Shell announced its plans to go ahead with a liquified natural gas plant and pipeline project in the Niger Delta and Ogoniland, despite international and local

 Protest to the project and the withdrawal of the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.

  The Niger Delta Women for Justice (NDWJ), in coalition with other organizations in the Niger Delta, has been involved in the campaigns and advocacy against the activities of the MNCs. Representative of NDWJ and representative of other organizations' such as the Ijaw Youth Council, in 1999 held several meetings with officials of Shell Nigeria on issues of Oil exploitation and the conflicts in the region. But most of the meetings have had no positive results.

  There has been a series of accusations by human and environmental rights groups against the oil companies for having two faces and operating with double standards. The oil companies were accused of allowing practices in Nigeria that would never be permitted in North America or Europe where they are headquartered.

2.2. Environmental Problems in the Delta.
Health Effects of Exposure to Crude Oil

Crude oils are a mixture of 100 or more hydrocarbons, sulfur compounds, and a range of metals and salts in smaller quantities. In addition, a variety of other toxic pollutants are typically generated during oil drilling and production operations, including drilling fluids, drilling cuts, and treatment chemicals that contain heavy metals, strong acids, and concentrated salts. These include polycylic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds (e.g.benzopyrene) and volatile organic compounds (e.g. benzene and its derivatives), toxic and carcinogenic substances that pose a threat to human health. Crude oil and its constituents enter the human body through three primary routes: (i) skin absorption, (ii) ingestion of food and drink, and (iii) inhalation of oil on dust or soot particles.

According to the report by the Center for Economic and Social Right on Rights Violations in the Ecuadorian Amazon: "The Human Consequences of Oil Development" Vol.1, No.1, fall 1994, stated that;
"The fat solubility of most oil constituents allows them to be absorbed into and through the skin. Repeated or prolonged skin contact with crude oil has been reported to cause skin loss, dryness, cracking, changes in skin pigmentation, hyperkeratosis, pigmented plane warts, and eczematous reactions. Limited evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to constituents of crude oil, such as benzopyrene and other hydrocarbons, can result in dermal neoplasm."

Constituents of crude oil ingested in water or food, such as PAH compounds, have been linked to adverse health effects ranging from cancers to toxic effects on reproduction and cellular development. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to a PAH water concentration of 2.8 nanogram per liter corresponds to an upper-bound lifetime risk of cancer of one in 1 million. This risk could be significantly increased through added skin and inhalation exposure. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), 1993)

Inhalation of high levels of crude oil fumes can lead to adverse effects on the nervous and respiratory systems, sometimes causing life-threatening chemical pneumonitis and other systemic effects. In the Niger Delta, oil particulates have been emitted into the atmosphere from burning waste pits. These pits also contain drilling fluids with pentachlorophenols, which when burned are a formation pathway for tetrachlorodibenzo-dioxins. In summary, substantial health effects from exposure to crude oil and associated toxic pollutants have been reported in the general environmental health literature.

In the Delta, oil contamination has caused a lot of damage to people's health, contaminated their water, and deprived them of fish, game and crops. Other area health care providers have reported substantial apparent increases in birth defects and skin rashes.

The entire framework for oil operations in Nigeria is set by the Petroleum Act (originally Decree No. 51 of 1969). Other relevant legislation includes the Oil in Navigable Waters Act (Decree No. 34 of 1968), the Oil Pipelines Act (Decree No. 31 of 1956), the Associated Gas (Re-injection) Act of 1979, and the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations of 1969, made under the Petroleum Act."

The local communities since the coming of the MNCs have had to deal with problems of oil spills on land and in the water, destroying their entire farmlands and marine life.

"According to the official estimates of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), based on the quantities reported by the operating companies, approximately 2,300 cubic meters of oil are spilled in 300 separate incidents annually. It can be safely assumed that, due to under-reporting, the real figure is substantially higher: conservative estimates place it at up to ten times higher. Statistics from the Department of Petroleum Resources indicate that between 1976 and 1996 a total of 4,835 incidents resulted in the spillage of at least 2,446,322 barrels (102.7 million U.S. gallons), of which an estimated 1,896,930 barrels (79.7 million U.S. gallons; 77 percent) were lost to the environment." (The Price of Oil, 1999:23).

According to Professor Claude Ake of the Center for Advanced Social Science (CASS), in an article published in Tell magazine of January 29, 1996 on page 34, he said Nigeria's major oil-producing states Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers, suffer about 300 major oil spills a year (often covering several miles) which discharge about 2,300m3 (meter cubed) of oil. This estimate would be much higher if it included minor spills, which are far more numerous and invariably unreported. It would be higher still if it took account of the fact that the Nigerian crude oil is Very light and evaporates rapidly, an estimated evaporation loss of about 50 per cent in 48 hours.

Nigeria flares more gas than any other country in the world: "approximately 75 percent of total gas production in Nigeria is flared, and about 95% of the "associated gas" which is produced as a by-product of crude oil extraction come from reservoirs in which oil and gas are mixed. About half this gas is flared by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in line with its share of oil production." (The Price of Oil, 1999:23)

A World Bank Study, "Defining an Environmental Development Strategy for the Niger Delta" (1995), estimates that as much as 76 per cent of all the natural gas from Petroleum production in Nigeria is flared compared to 0.6 per cent in USA, 4.3 per cent in the UK, 21.0 per cent in Libya. The flaring is a serious hazard. At temperatures of 1,3000 to 1,400 degrees centigrade, the multitude of flares in the Delta heat up everything, causing noise pollution, and producing CO2, VOC, CO, NOx and particulate around the clock.  The emission of CO2 from gas flaring in Nigeria releases 35 million tons of CO2 a year and 12 million tons of methane, which means that Nigerian oil fields contribute more in global warming than the rest of the world together. (TELL, January 29, 1996:34, Forum page).

Oil production, other industrial activities, logging, canalization, toxic waste disposal into the rivers, are just some of the factors that have greatly impacted on the Niger Delta both socio-economically and ecologically. The most common and visible environmental problems related to the oil industries are oil spills, gas flaring, dredging of canals and land taken for the construction of facilities.

However, the biggest abuser of the environment of the Niger Delta has been the MNCs in relation to their activities, which in the last 40 years have gradually destroyed the livelihood and culture of the local people. Land degradation is common throughout the Niger Delta, a situation that is manifested in the destruction of the forests by oil activities, and in relation to seismic operations, pipeline installation, oil spills, gas flares and canalization.

Flooding, which normally lasts from three to five months annually has been made worse by dam construction on the River Niger over the last 30 years of canalization by the MNCs. Other factors that contribute to coastal erosion include the construction of jetties, dredging by the MNCs and removal of vegetation. The spread of exotic species such as water hyacinth has led to rapid clogging of waterways and subsequent damage to the ecosystem.

2.3.Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify effective strategies in advocacy and networking used in the past and in recent times by organizations campaigning against MNCs and TNCs, and the impact these strategies have had locally and globally.

In other words to strengthen my skill towards a more effective approach in advocacy and networking, both in the local communities and amongst the people involved in the non- governmental sector of the society.

2.4.Significance of the study

The significance of the study is to enable to improve my advocacy and networking skills and abilities in community mobilization and in organizing campaigns against corporate rule and corporate greed:

·To conduct research in identifying effective strategies in advocacy and networking as a means of empowerment.
·To gain knowledge and understanding on how to use various advocacy and networking strategies: litigation, media, new information technology, campaigns, public education, community mobilization, etc.  For greater effectiveness.
·To increase my understanding on monitoring processes and evaluation and learn how to evaluate NDWJ's activities.

So far the groups in the Niger Delta have had some form of success in its advocacy and campaigns against the MNCS operating in the Niger Delta, especially Shell. The actions of the Ogonis in 1993 to 1995 through the international networking strategy used by Ken Saro-Wiwa and the entire Ogoni leadership against Shell led to Shell's ousting from Ogoni land after Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged. The profits of Shell were seriously affected because it was no longer operating in Ogoni land. The advocacy and campaigns against Shell also created international awareness about the evil operations of the company in the Niger Delta. The actions by the local Ogoni people and their international networks succeeded in damaging the corporate image of Shell.

In 1998, exactly three years after the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni eight, another uprising has started in the Niger Delta. This time it is the Ijaws, the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria and the largest in the Niger Delta who are involved. The Ijaws have had to use a strategy called people's action (PA). This is a self-mobilizing strategy, which in the process creates mass awareness on the issues. The Ijaws relied on already existing networks in local Ijaw communities and formed a pressure group out of the structures.

The Ijaws non-violent confrontational strategy known as  "operation climate change" led to the closure of over 30% of the total oil wells in the Niger Delta region, the majority of which were in the Ijaw communities. According to Drillbits and Tailings report (Vol.4, No 18, Nov 9, 1999) it stated that the shut-down of Shell's facilities by the Ijaw Youth Council has affected the 2,000,000 barrels of oil pumped out of Nigeria per day (bpd) when all systems are up and running.

It continued that "210,000 bpd of oil flow was interrupted by Ijaw protests in March 1997. Interruption lasted at least 1 month. 400,000 bpd of oil flow - half of Shell's total output - was interrupted by the initiation of "Operation Climate Change." 40,000 bpd of oil flow was interrupted from 5 of Shell's flow stations in June 1999. Isoko youth occupied the flow stations located in 5 communities, in Otomoro, Egini, Oweh, Uzere and Oroni. Ijaw communities demanding compensation for other oil spills interrupted 100,000 bpd this November. Shell suffered a 95 % profit loss in the fourth quarter of 1998, or a loss of US$350 million dollars"

About 5 oil companies - Agip, Chevron, Mobil, Shell, Texaco - and their operations
were seriously impacted by Operation Climate Change. This had a significant impact on the oil companies as the Ijaws stated clearly, just like the Ogonis in their popular declaration called the kaiama declaration, their wish to self determination and resource control of their God given renewable and non renewable natural resources on all Ijaw lands in the Niger Delta.

This led to major conflicts between the MNCs, the Ijaw youths and the Nigerian government, leading to the killing of over 400 youths by the Nigerian government with funding provided by the MNCs. The MNCs employed the Nigerian soldiers to guard their flow stations and sites, provided them with ammunitions, and paid their salaries.

Some key questions to be discussed in the study will be

·What advocacy and networking strategies can NGOs use in effective campaigns?
·What difference do such campaign strategies make, especially for those on whose behalf NGOs/CBOs seek to campaign?
·Is the campaign strategy relevant to the situation and the poor?
·How can NGOs assess whether this work is effective and making an impact?

Chapter Three
 Literature Review

This review will examine the questions raised in chapter two by studying and comparing a few cases of long running campaigns: the debt relief campaign Jubilee 2000, the Landmines campaign, and campaigns against Multinational companies.

"The person who says it can not be done should get out of the way of the person doing it"…………….Chinese proverb…..

3.1 Definition of Advocacy and Networking
 We define advocacy as organized efforts to effect systemic or incremental change. Whatever the issue, advocacy campaigns seek to involve citizens in the policymaking process. Whatever the level -community, state, or national - activists use similar advocacy strategies.

According to the Advocacy Source Book on frameworks for planning, action and reflection (IDR 1997:11-12), it states that definitions of advocacy vary, and change over time. The definitions of advocacy are shaped by different understandings of the strength behind the action, e.g. power and politics. It also depends on the frame of the groups and what they are involved in. Many groups would define advocacy to suit their particular activity or their immediate understanding of their action. The book goes further to give some definitions of advocacy as defined by different groups:

·Colleagues in India defined Advocacy as an organized, systematic, intentional process of influencing matters of public interest and changing power relations to improve the lives of the disenfranchised.
·Other colleagues in Latin America defined Advocacy as a process of social transformation aimed at shaping the direction of public participation, policies and programs to benefit the marginalized, uphold human rights, and safeguard the environment.
·African colleagues described their advocacy as being pro-poor, reflecting core values such as equity, justice and mutual respect, and focusing on empowering the poor and being accountable to them.

What is Advocacy? According to the Collins paperback English Dictionary, Advocacy is defined as, "an active support of a cause or course of action."

I would define advocacy as the act of building a collective action for the purpose of creating change by the use of participatory and well-defined mechanisms that can lead to that change for the benefit of the target populace.

What is networking? A network is any group of individuals or organizations who, on a voluntary basis, exchange information or undertakes joint activities and who organize themselves in such a way that their individual autonomy remains intact. (Paul Starkey, IFRTD, 1998:2).
3.2. Methods of advocacy and networking "as a means of empowerment"
According to Alan Hudson, in his paper "Organizing NGOs' International Advocacy: Organizational Structures and Organizational Effectiveness," (1999:2) he stated that advocacy takes various forms -letter writing, meetings, education-trying to persuade different groups of actors or targets - individuals, states, international organizations, corporations-to alter their policies and behaviors in relation to development issues. Whatever the target, the aim of Northern NGDOs' international advocacy work is to "alter the ways in which power, resources, and the ideas are created, consumed and distributed at the global level, so that people and organizations in the south have a more realistic chance of controlling their own development" (Edward, 1993:164)

There are different methods of advocacy and networking that will be looked in the review and this will be in line with some of the advocacy and networking actions taken by different groups in other parts of the world.

This study will look at strategies such as,
·Public education
·Media Advocacy
·New Information Technology
·Networking and coalition
·Community Mobilization

"Nothing in the world is so powerful as an idea whose time has come," -Victor Hugo

 Simone Levy (1999), describes the use of litigation in a paper about Nike. He said a lawsuit against Nike was brought about after a confidential report on working conditions in an Asian factory was leaked, which fully contradicted Nike's previous allegations that working conditions in its factories were up to standard. Several documents were produced which clearly show that Nike fully exploits its workers. A lot of pressure was put on Nike by student organizers and other NGOs. After a three-year campaign which caused falling prices and decreased sales, Nike's CEO, Phillip Knight, announced some major concessions. First of all, the factory finally admitted that factory conditions need improvement. They also agreed to abolish child labor, follow US occupational health and safety standards, and allow local NGOs to monitor their foreign factories.

In a similar situation in the far South, this time in Nigeria, the people of Ejamma Ebube community in Ogoniland filed a suit against Shell in 1991 for a spill that happened in 1970. The people waited for nine years to get a result from the court, which ordered Shell to pay the sum of $40 million. In a report by Corporate Watch (June 26, 2000:1) stated that a Rivers State High Court in Nigeria fined Shell $40 million for a 1970 spill. From the report, Royal Dutch/Shell was ordered by the court to pay the fine in compensation for an oil spill which happened in 1970 in Ogoniland. The report stated, " On Saturday, the court ordered Shell to pay four billion naira, the equivalent of US$ 40 million, to the Ejamaa Ebubu community, nine years after lawsuit was filed."

From the above, one can see the effectiveness of litigation as a strategy in influencing corporate responsibility. However, one would also have to consider the strength of the state with respect to her relationship with the corporations, and the support one would get from other organizations. Obviously, from this review, it shows that the application of non-violent strategies towards changing the attitude of a corporation sometimes could breed a positive result. Nike and Shell are two large multinational corporations in the North and the South, yet they have been found wanting with the influence of litigation by NGOs in the North and local CBOs in the South.

The lawsuits against the two Corporations above show some positive results. When applied, the strategy creates legitimacy and draws a lot of support from other interest and non-interest groups.

Public Education
According to Moses Coady, (1960), in the book "Masters of Their Own Destiny," stated that the necessity for thinking and adult education is evident from a consideration of the fact that individuals, communities, and nations have in the past hundred years or so lost many golden opportunities. They had eyes and saw not, ears and heard not. It was said that without vision the people perish. But there is no vision without enlightenment.

Similarly, François Trudel, (1992) stated that the first principle of cultural accommodation is knowledge of the other. He said, "I believe that it is the most fundamental principle in any human relationship, whether between individuals or between groups, and that so long as there is a lack of knowledge of the other, any prospect for establishing or re-establishing the ethnic and social relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal may be illusory, if not utopian." One wonders what the situation will be like without accurate knowledge. It is all too easy for negative stereotypes and simple ignorance to strangle communication.

According to a report by Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP Vol. 5 1997), Brian Dickson, the former chief justice of Canada who was appointed to advise the Prime Minister on the Commission's mandate, emphasized the importance of public education. He saw the Commission itself as a vehicle for increasing public awareness of Aboriginal issues. Acting on his advice, extensive public hearings were conducted and round table consultations, and published commentaries, discussion papers, special reports, and research studies were published.

The report continues that a number of corporations and governments have been successful in developing a focus on Aboriginal issues, through approaches such as affirmative action, cross-cultural training, and the appointment of Aboriginal people to boards of directors, senior executive positions, and government agencies and commissions.

 Obviously the result of the public education strategy by RCAP proved that the public hearings stimulated a number of non-Aboriginal organizations to establish internal task forces and mechanisms to ensure they are sensitive to Aboriginal issues. These pioneering initiatives have not yet become common, but they are valuable precedents for the future.

The results of public education campaigns not only create awareness, but also help to present issues in their true form. Considering that people usually read only what interests them, taking more time and putting more effort into using the public education strategy to concientize the masses is a task that extends beyond just the public hearing, but attracts the media, government and the target institution (the corporations).

 According to the journal "Development in Practice" (August 2000, Vol. 10. Number 3 & 4:454-455), campaigns in recent years which achieved such public resonance include Greenpeace's successful attempt to prevent the dumping in the North Atlantic a disused Shell Oil's Brent Sparr platform.

Originally the campaign was conceived as a medium-size action to attract attention to an upcoming meeting of the Oslo and Paris Convention. It was not considered a campaign per se, only as a tactic within a long-standing lobbying strategy.  This strategy led to massive awareness creation on Brent Spar, which gripped the European public. It compelled individuals and organizations to become active, soon followed by a number of governments.  This led to organizations calling for a boycott of Shell.

The result was that the campaign effectively put a stop to the dumping of decommissioned oil platforms. The environmental significance of this is low, if one looks simply at the amount of pollution entering the oceans through dumping. However, the symbolic importance is much higher. The oceans can no longer be considered a convenient and cheap dumping ground far away from where the waste was created.

The report continues that Brent -Spar and equally important, the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa were watersheds for Shell and other big oil companies. The companies started listening more to the public and withdrew from the Global Climate Commission an industry group which denies the threat of global warming and has resisted all moves to reduce carbon dioxide emission. 

There are other examples of successes recorded by organizations against big corporate giants.  Eric A. Smith (1996:46), in ADBUSTERS magazine stated that in a self-declared victory for environmentalists. The New York Times decided to drop a contract with Canadian paper supplier MacMillan Bloedel. The Times had been purchasing paper manufactured from old-growth forests in British Colombia's Clayoquot Sound, home of the world's largest remaining coastal temperature rainforest.

According to Adbusters magazine (2000), Greenpeace in coalition with other environmental rights organization such as National Resource Defense Council and the Rain Forest Action Network have started campaigning against Pacific Bell and GTE, whose phone directories use paper made from old-growth timber.

In a similar campaign, the Princess of Wales Diana, Robin Coupland from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who provided the first comprehensive field data of mine injuries, and Ray McGrath founder of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), contributed immensely to creating awareness on the landmines issues. The landmines campaign was said to have created a huge awareness of landmines and their effects.

For example, in a recent study by ICRC (ICRC 1999:65) in countries that have experienced war revealed a very high awareness of landmines even in conflicts where they were not used.

One of the positive outcomes of this campaign was that it led directly to the Ottawa Treaty, which was negotiated, signed and ratified unusually quickly. It bypassed the established institutions typically responsible for such a treaty, such as the UN Committee on Disarmament.

A campaign against the use of child labor in the carpet industry in India gained wide media coverage after various organizations gathered together and established a strategy that impacted greatly on the companies involved. According to a report in the journal "Development in Practice" (2000:153), the campaign used many different strategies. It started in 1983 with raids to free bonded children, which still continue. Around 1990, a consumer campaign promoted by the South Asian Coalition and Child Servitude (SACCS) and German NGOs, was started in Germany, one of the two main destinations for Indian carpets. The campaign educated consumers about the plight of children used in the production of hand-knotted carpets.

Chapman and Fisher (1999:15-16) point out that campaigns have limits. For real and lasting impacts, implementation and monitoring, tools other than national legislation or international conventions (for example code of conducts), education, involvement of the grassroots, or fundamental changes (like the cause of armed conflicts), are necessary.

Agreeing with the reviews above, a campaign strategy is obviously a necessary tool in influencing social change amongst corporate institutions. Chapman and Fishers' analysis on the limitation of the use of one strategy is catching. This is because with just campaigns the situation might only succeed in bringing people together and after that "what else"? Implementation and monitoring tools I would also agree are basic elements that must not be neglected, but seen as a means of assessing what impact the campaign strategy has had on its intended population.

Media Advocacy
The media strategy can help to a large extent advance the goals of an organization in advocacy and networking, no matter what the issue the organization is working on. This is a strategy that is mostly used by government and wealthy corporations for their own benefits. The point is how can we effectively apply media strategies in our work as a people's organization? What impact can this have in creating awareness to a larger and more distant community?

The strategy used by Greenpeace UK - extreme direct actions, unilateral demands and its intolerance for compromise is Greenpeace UK characteristic of the zero-sum approach of game theory.  This model emphasizes winning at the expense of the other as both Greenpeace UK and McDonald's exemplified through its actions. This method includes communication through manipulation of the issues to slant arguments in its own favor, the use of flamboyant symbols to depict choices in absolute terms, and the refusal to cede any points. According to Murphy and Dee (1992), Greenpeace UK used flamboyant symbols to celebrate the second anniversary of the trial by inviting the media and the public to eat a cake in the shape of Ronald McDonald's face.

Following the release of the document on the internet, Corporate Watch (2000), stated that the hard hitting critique of Nike's Vietnamese sweatshops also generated a series of scathing articles and columns on the business pages and sports pages of newspapers across the U.S. and around the world. When Working Assets Citizen Action team picked up on the story, they generated 33,000 letters to Nike CEO Phil Knight, urging him to pay workers a living wage and to implement a comprehensive third party monitoring system.

Later, ESPN ran an hour long documentary on unsafe and unjust working conditions inside Nike and Reebok factories in Vietnam. The media attention spawned by TRAC and Corporate Watch bolstered and legitimated the excellent work of a variety of organizations striving to hold Nike accountable and to improve working conditions in garment and shoe factories globally. Indeed, the release of the Ernst & Young report significantly increased the pressure on Nike to improve conditions in its overseas factories. As the Multinational Monitor editorialized, "For a whole year, Nike denied that its contractors in Asia abused and mistreated workers. The company said that the information was being sent out by fringe activists on the Internet with the leak of an Ernst & Young report, the fringe became mainstream".

The impact of this campaign lead to falling stock prices and weak sales. Nike pledged to end child labor, follow U.S. occupational health and safety standards, and allow non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to participate in the monitoring of its Asian factories. Nike has finally admitted to the public that the conditions in its factories need to be drastically improved. This is a first step that will hopefully begin a process to transform these conditions.

From this review, it shows that no matter what the situation, the use of the media is a significant element that mustn't be neglected. The media is the only structure that has the power to communicate the issue to the larger public in the way they deem fit. Media advocacy in the Niger Delta as used by NDWJ and other organizations has to a large extent impacted both positive and negatively on the demands of the NGOs/CBOs. But the findings reveal that the relationship of the media with the people and their understanding of the issue play a major role. The strategy used in attracting the media is also important, such as the method used by Greenpeace UK in its campaign against McDonalds.

New Information Technology
Activists use the Internet to fight large companies over ethical issues. Yet many major corporations lack a clear counter-strategy. This is just one example of a growing trend of strategies being used by activists in NGOs and CBOs. Protesters and activists are turning to the internet as a quick, cheap and effective way of reaching millions of people. Many of the web sites are primitive, but the messages are clear and, for some brands, 'Boycott' and 'ban' are the two most common phrases used by many of NGOs.

McDonald's and Shell are not the only corporations being attacked through the internet. According to Mathew Reed (2000), in his report entitled wide open to the web warriors stated that many large multinationals, including Procter & Gamble, have had their names dragged through the online mud. But there are complex arguments about legal defences and how brand owners can fight the web agitators. Many corporations opt for the head-in-the-sand approach, hoping that if they ignore it, it will go away. But the sites are out there, and thousands of people see them every day.

The report continued that "A group of environmental activists staged a sit-in at Shell's London offices. Although Shell turned the power off and cut the phone lines, activist Roddy Mansfield broadcast the protest live to the internet and e-mailed the press, using a digital camera, laptop computer and mobile phone".

Project Underground ( encourages visitors to boycott Shell because of its alleged activities in Peru, Colombia and Nigeria. Visitors are also encouraged to write to Shell's CEO and to e-mail the oil corporation. The Boycott Shell/Free Nigeria home page is posted so everyone who has an access to a computer can visit the site. (

Cisler (1993) defines a community network as "one or more computers providing services to people using computers and terminals to gain access to those services and to each other. The information contained in such networks, as well as the relationships that form between the participants, make up what I call an electronic greenbelt to reinforce and add value to the community." Cisler claims that, as with previous communication technologies, community networks promise "to reinforce communities, to invigorate the democratic process, and to redefine parts of society."

Schuler (1994:43) echoes these sentiments. He says, basing his discussion on principles developed by the Seattle Community Network, that these community networks have the potential to support community cohesion, to provide access to education and training, and to produce informed citizens and a strong democracy.

For example, there are various examples of organizations that use the new technologies to support their advocacy work. Essential Action used the website to campaign against the dumping of toxic waste in Haiti by Joseph Paolino and Sons and Amalgamated Shipping and Coastal Carrier from Philadelphia.
The Free Burma Coalition, which aims to persuade investors to get out of Burma, set up a web site in September 1995 to campaign against PepsiCo. PepsiCo decided to withdraw from Burma in 1997 after the Internet campaign. Texaco and Heineken are among others persuaded not to invest in, or buy from, the country.

In an article by Essential Action in INTER PRESS SERVICE, (February, 1998:1) it stated that the dumping in 1988 of toxic waste into the Haitian environment was the first known case of off-loading U.S. waste in the Third World, outside Mexico. "While Haiti has experienced the most severe forms of repression and political turmoil, the people have never given up on returning this waste to its sender."

Haitian and U.S. environmentalists have been working for years to persuade the Philadelphia and U.S. authorities to repatriate the ash without success. But just when Haitians and U.S. activists where about to give up, a solution is in sight. This web site is devoted to PROJECT RETURN TO SENDER, and a fighting chance that the toxic waste dumped in Haiti will finally be coming home.

Spurred by environmental contamination and reports of adverse health effects resulting from the toxic waste, Greenpeace, the Boston-based Haiti Communications Project, the Haiti Collective for the Protection of the Environment and Alternative Development (COHPEDA) and other Haitian based groups have been calling for the return of the toxic ash for the past decade.  Now, according to these organizations, there is "light at the end of the tunnel." The New York City Waste Commission negotiated an agreement last June with the New Jersey-based Eastern Environmental Services (EES) a waste transportation company whose director was part of the corporation that originally contracted the Khian Sea to dispose of Philadelphia's ash.

 In an effort to expose Nike's Sweatshops, Corporate Watch (2000:1) used the internet to create awareness about Nike's treatment of young laborers inside the factory. In November 1997, Corporate Watch's parent organization; the Transnational Resource & Action Center (TRAC) released a secret internal Nike document, which had been leaked. The Ernst & Young labor and environmental audit of a Nike facility in Vietnam, along with TRAC Research Associate Dara O'Rourke's independent assessment and photos from inside the factory, made front page news in The New York Times.

Adbusters magazine (2000) uses the internet to create awareness about issues related to corporate crackdowns. They called it "Adbusters Corporate Crackdown" strategies, such as Culture Jammer, which helps jump-start the crucial push to bring awareness of corporate rule into the popular consciousness. Act locally, this is a process of community organizing which can educate others about the impact of corporate power on a local level and reassert the citizens' right to govern themselves. Rewrite the code is a legal campaign strategy for those who can work with the legislation.

For almost three years, the McSpotlight site ( carried material ruled in 1997 to libel McDonald's. Posted on the site is an exact copy of the leaflet, What's Wrong with McDonald's? that provoked the fast-food giant to successfully sue Helen Steel and Dave Morris, of London Greenpeace, for libel. Yet, despite spending an estimated £10m on the long-running 'McLibel' case, McDonald's took no action against McSpotlight for publishing the same material on the internet, which can be downloaded and distributed.

The McSpotlight site, run by supporters of the McLibel Two, went online in February 1996. It is run by volunteers in 22 countries, with mirror sites in four countries. It contains 20,000 files most relating to McDonald's and the trial with McSpotlight. The site claims more than a million visitors a month. In a 'Beyond McD's' section, it targets other corporations to focus on their business practices. These include Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Boots the Chemist, Philip Morris, BAT, Nestle, Cow & Gate, Milupa, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, SmithKline Beecham, Colgate-Palmolive and Shell.

The internet is used by many organizations to create awareness, build networks, attract solidarity and raise funds for programs. The internet is basically the easiest and fastest means of building networks and advocating against any issue locally and globally. However the internet has added an extra dimension for activists

Ethical and environmental issues are a big part of internet campaigning. The Boycott Nike site ( urges visitors to pressurize the firm over its employment practices in South East Asia. Visitors are also encouraged to sign letters to US President Bill Clinton and to Nike's chief executive officer.

So, will ethical and environmental issues move up the awareness agenda as a consequence? Wollen believes companies won't change overnight, "but it will become more of a battlefield". For brand owners, the key concern is protecting their brands and trademarks. Catrin Turner, head of intellectual property at law firm Davies Arnold Cooper, observes that: "Some brands shy away from taking action you don't want to become 'McLibel Mark Two'."

In Europe, international Data Corporation estimates that 23 million people were using the internet in 1998 and that 83 million will do so in 2002. Datamonitor believes a third of European homes will have access to the internet by 2003.

However, the study shows that the use of the internet is a strategy that is very effective. It also helps store information and serves as a documentation site. It makes activities and groups feel closer to one another and brings the situation into the homes of individuals. It could be a reachable site for most people especially in the South if they have access to it. The process generates information faster and makes communication easier.

The use of the internet amongst NGO/CBOs in the South in advocacy and networking is still a far cry from reality. Reasons being that the cost of buying and maintaining the equipment are high. Secondly, not so many people have the skill to use high tech equipment such as the computer. Thirdly, most of the NGOs/CBOs in the South are poorly funded or do not have funds at all to function. Consequently, if the computer technology develops in the South with the rate at which science and technology is spreading, it is possible that the Southern NGOs/CBOs would be able to improve on their advocacy strategy considering the impact using the internet as an advocacy strategy can make.

Networking and Coalitions
Jubilee 2000 further popularized the campaign for debt relief by forming and coordinating an international network to create pressure for substantial debt relief. To do this it needed to demonstrate the widest possible support and so rightly embark on widespread coalition building. The Citizen Action is an approach used by Jubilee 2000 Campaign against cancellation of debts owed by the world's poorest nations. According to Jennifer McCrea (1999), the Jubilee 2000 campaign is using the citizen action approach, by assisting and working with the people (citizens) of the world to inform and motivate them to join together on the issue of debt cancellation to achieve resolution.

It is classified as a citizen action approach because people from the Third World and the industrialized West are all involved and are affected by the outcome. These citizens have become part of the North-South coalition (the campaign) and therefore make use of the network (which provides a forum to share information and ideas), financial resources and enhanced credibility of a large support base.

Internationally networking and coalition strategies have had major impact on corporations in the South.  Drillbits and Tailings (1999:1), in their report on Shell in Nigeria, stated that 200 organizations endorsed a letter to Shell, Chevron, Mobil, Elf, and Agip in January 1999. The letter warned the companies that that the "World Is Watching" and that they should suspend their operations in Nigeria immediately.

In a similar report by in DrillBits and Tailings (1999:2), it stated that the Norwegian mining company Mindex was threatening indigenous communities on the island of Mindaro in the Philippines with a proposed nickel and cobalt mine. The Mindaro Nickel Project plans to strip mine 23,969 acres (9,700 hectares) in the central mountains of Mindaro, southwest of Luzon island and the capital of Manila. The ore from the mine will be transported 26 miles (43 kilometers) by pipeline to Pili on the eastern side of the island. The company is planning to build a plant that will process 40,000 tons of nickel and 3,000 tons of cobalt each year.

The indigenous peoples of the area, the Mangyan, the Alangan, and the Tadyawan, along with church groups, human rights and environmental activists, and farmers formed an alliance called ALAMIN to stop the project. They organized demonstrations, submitted formal protests to the authorities, and collected nearly 25,000 signatures against the project. The company admits that at least 20 families will have to be relocated. According to ALAMIN, the Mangyan, the Alangan and the Tadywan tribal land claims have been registered as Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC). Norwatch reports that a section of the CADC states that the Mangyan have "priority rights in the harvesting, extraction, development or exploitation of any natural resources contained within their ancestral domain."

In a similar situation according to Global Alliance News (2000:3), in India a group of non-governmental organizations all over the country has been working together to critically engage with Multilateral Development Organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations' agencies, and bilateral institutions such as the British Department for International Development, to hold them accountable in implementation of their policies. This initiative vis-a-vis the World Bank has gained more importance at this juncture with the proposed regionalization of the Bank.

Greenpeace in 1996, being part of the International Roundtable on Nigeria, a broad coalition of human rights, environmental, labor, and religious organizations, called for an immediate oil embargo against Nigeria to isolate the brutal dictatorship of Sani Abacha. Shell's collusion with the Nigerian regime in November 1995 execution of nine Nigerian activists, including Nobel- prize nominated writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, spurred worldwide condemnation of Shell. This drove South African President Nelson Mandela to spearhead a call for an oil embargo.

"We are here today to tell Shell to clean up its act and not simply its corporate image," said Greenpeace's Steve Kretzmann in Washington. "As we have learned from dealing with South Africa in the 1980s, the best way to change an oppressive regime is for corporations to pull out and stop the flow of money. We must boycott Nigerian oil and get Shell out of Nigeria." As the demonstration began, Shell cancelled the PR dinner for top journalists, congress members and lobbyists. The dinner was apparently an attempt by Shell to retrieve its ailing public image.

In another case, according to the World Rainforest Report, (Spring 1999 Volume XVI, No.1) in an article titled "Activists Send Chevron a Message: No Blood for Oil," two activists hung banners from flagpoles located outside of Chevron's San Francisco headquarters in a demonstration organized by Project Underground and the Rainforest Action Network. The banners read, "No Nigerian Blood for Oil" and "Human Rights before Drilling Rights." The demonstration was part of an international protest against Chevron's role in the deadly repression of protestors in the Niger Delta. Protestors in the Niger Delta community of Opia held signs reading: "Do People Kill for Oil? Chevron did in Opia and Ikenyan."

The San Francisco climbers, Shannon Wright and Genevieve Raymond, both from RAN, came down from the flagpoles of their own volition after Chevron officials agreed to the protesters demand to set a meeting to discuss suspension of Chevron's operations in Nigeria

Schwartzman, (1986) stated that local and national NGOs, unions and community-based organizations working to protect livelihoods and lands from the effects of major dams, slum clearance and power plant projects, formed alliances with Northern NGOs cooperating in a campaign around a project or loan. Early battles over projects in Brazil, India, and Indonesia launched the network and established its methods out of these alliances, forming enduring links that evolve and are periodically re-activated for a new round of advocacy.

These efforts are among the best illustrations of what Keck and Sikkink (1997) call the "boomerang" effect: the strategy whereby national NGOs appeal, through a transnational network, to international governmental organizations in hopes of influencing their own government. The strategy can compensate for weak political influence in the national arena, and take advantage of international norms on subjects such as indigenous peoples' rights or rainforest protection that may make the WB more sensitive to critique than are most borrowing governments. Where internal dissent is severely limited, this strategy can be an important means of expression and influence (Riker, 1995).

The effect of international and local networking and coalition amongst NGOs/CBOs have had more impact than any other strategy in the campaigns against MNCs in Nigeria. The review shows that the actions of organizations in the North aided in reducing the strength of the MNCs in Nigeria and other parts of the World. With the activities of the networks the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995 was widely publicized and the atrocities committed by Shell in the Niger Delta were exposed. One benefit was the permanent expulsion of Shell from Ogoniland.

Community Mobilization
"Group action is the great change wave that is breaking over society today. The evolution from individualism to some forms of collectivism is nearing its completion."……………………………………..Moses Coady

Grassroots Organizing: How do campaign organizers inspire interest in the community? How do they inspire action from the community? Were there any missed opportunities or particular difficulties? Did the impetus for change come from within the community or was it introduced by outsiders?

Drillbits and Tailings (1999) in its report on Nigeria stated that communities mobilized a mass protest against Shell, one of the Multinational Corporations in the Niger Delta. The youths proposed 10 days in January 1999 as the planned duration of Operation Climate Change, a program of non-violent civil disobedience. It ended up lasting for several weeks. Operation Climate Change was designed to take action against the 6 oil companies operating in the Delta. Operation Climate Change was a joint movement of the Ijaw Youth Council and a grassroots organization called Chikoko.

The impact of the action taken by the youths after they had been mobilized resulted to Shell suffering a major loss of US$350 million. According to Drillbits and Tailings (1999), "Shell suffered a 95 percent profit loss in the fourth quarter of 1998, or a loss of US$350 million dollars after Operation Climate Change by the Ijaw Youths in the Niger Delta shut more than 30 percent of Shell oil facilities. 5 oil companies namely Agip, Chevron, Mobil, Shell, Texaco and their operations were seriously impacted by Operation Climate Change."
Following the protest by the people in the Niger Delta, 13 activists from 3 human rights and environmental groups occupied Shell offices in London in January 1999. They barricaded themselves in for 5 hours until police cut off electricity, and smashed down the door and arrested them

It was reported that 2,000 Ogoni marched on Shell's offices in Port Harcourt in May 1999 to protest the environmental damage that Shell's past operations have brought to their region. Shell suspended their operations 6 years ago in Ogoniland in 1993 the same year that 300,000 Ogoni people marched against Shell.

Community Mobilization has been one of the most effective strategies in advocating against corporations in the Niger Delta. The result has been that communities over time became more aware of the situation both internally and internationally. Communities became involved and felt more responsible to their immediate environment. Communities exhibited altruistic attitudes towards community concerns. This strategy builds one's reasoning beyond being individualistic. It is more uniting and builds confidence in people.
Which specific lobbying techniques are particularly creative, or which backfired? Why? Was a large constituency important? Did a letter writing or telephone campaign take advantage of the campaign's grassroots support? Or were the lobbying efforts of a few key people instrumental?

Rich, (1994:1), states that recently much attention has been given to both the World Bank and the NGOs that lobby it on development policy, environmental, human rights and economic policy issues. Like the WB itself, scholars and activists have used the occasion of the organization's fiftieth anniversary to celebrate or criticize its resource mobilization and project financing roles, environmental record, and development "paradigm."

In the same vein to abolish child labor, the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS) and German NGOs campaigns used a lobbying process with a Bill in the USA that threatened to legislate against the import of goods made with child labor.

In the journal "Development in Practice" (2000:153), it states that at the same time SACCS and the German NGOs were campaigning against the use of child labor, the Harkin Bill was pending in the USA, threatening to legislate against the import of goods made with child labor. These two pressures prompted talk of a labeling system.

The resultant effect was that talks between the government-promoted Carpet Export promotion Council (CEPC), NGOs, and the industry were never accomplished because CEPC and the industry dropped out. The talks nevertheless led to the formation of the Rugmark labeling schemes in 1994, whereby looms are subject to surprise inspections and a guarantee is given that a particular carpet is made without the use of illegal child labor.

In a report by Corporate Watch (2000:1) titled "UK: Shareholders Rally Against BP Amoco's Arctic Oil Plans" it stated that, in an effort by Greenpeace to stop BP Amoco from fueling global warming and risking the Arctic environment, Greenpeace released a press release calling on BP Amoco to act on a historic vote at its annual general meeting calling on the company to cancel its Arctic expansion plans. Specifically, the resolution called on the company to abandon its controversial offshore Northstar oil project in the Beaufort Sea, stop lobbying to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development and redirect funds into its solar subsidiary BP Solarex.

The effect of this campaign was that the initial proxy vote displayed at the BP annual general meeting, showed 9.5 billion shares against the resolution and 1.491 billion shares in favor, or 13.5 per cent of the vote. This was one of the highest votes for an environmental shareholder resolution ever recorded.

Lobbying is a tool that when properly applied and success guaranteed, helps seal the efforts of the campaigning organizations. When the leaders of these governments accept to change policies to benefit the people instead of the MNCs and TNCs, it's a sure sign of victory for the NGOs/CBOs. In this situation the people can resort to legal action when corporations breech the contracts and the laws of the countries.

In a lobbying situation, the use of all other strategies like the media, the internet, campaigns, networks and coalitions, public education, etc are still very important so the pressure of the groups from outside can create a major influence on those who make the laws. This also reduces the pressures on the NGOs/CBOs because the lobbying process becomes transparent.

3.3. Role of NGOs and CBOs
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) all over the world are striving to contribute to the eradication of the physical causes of poverty, to protect the environment of man, to promote human and womens rights and to achieve sustainable forms of development. As these issues are diverse and complex, NGOs globally increasingly create links across geographical and institutional boundaries to strengthen and improve the impact of their work.

A lot of interest groups and scholars have argued that the relationships existing between and among NGOs, and relationships between NGOs and people whose interests are advocated by NGOs, come with a specific set of political responsibilities which need to be recognized and embraced by all NGOs, including those who currently believe their role to be subordinated to the realm of politics, as they consider themselves operational NGOs or simply providers of services.

According to Lisa Jordan and Peter van Tuijl (1998:1) in the book, "Political Responsibility in NGO advocacy, Exploring emerging shapes of global democracy," it stated that the political responsibility of NGOs derives from the position of intermediary between different people who aspire to different things, which is the primary position of most NGOs."

However, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are widely considered to be one of the most dynamic phenomena in international relations today. Most of the literature on NGOs is exceedingly optimistic about the roles NGOs play in the international, national and local arenas. The academic literature has addressed NGOs as the citizen sector (Najamin Lewis, 1999), NGOs as agents of accountability (Fox and Brown, 1998), NGOs as the magic development bullet (Edwards and Hulme, 1995) and the expanding role of NGOs in global governance (Williams and Young, 1994). Fowler (1997:9) states, "Advocacy is not an optional extra to be bolted onto development work, but must become a core strategy in the next decade"

Agreeing with the writers in this review Alan Hudson, (1999:3) in a paper entitled "Organizing NGOs' Transnational Advocacy", stated that the importance of advocacy and lobbying work is increasingly appreciated within the NGDO community (World Vision, 1997). Such activities seem to offer NGDOs a way to scale up their impact and make a real difference to the lives of poor people across the world.

Edwards explains that there are two forms of NGO advocacy: Firstly, attempts to influence global-level processes, structures and ideologies; and, secondly, attempts to influence specific policies, programs or projects. The first type of advocacy takes on massive interest groups and requires a huge base of support if it is to achieve its aims. It is likely to be confrontational and publicly critical of the dominant neo-liberal ideology, involves high stakes, and includes calls for lifestyle changes to consumption practices for example, amongst the NGDO's constituents. In short, this first form of advocacy aims for fundamental change. The second form of advocacy involves targets, which may be more open to constructive dialogue, such as health service agencies, agricultural organizations but requires high level technical knowledge based on practical experience if the views of the NGDO are to be taken seriously. (Alan Hudson 1999:3)

Edwards (1993:165) writes that advocacy in this form is more likely to take place behind closed doors and is cooperative rather than confrontational. The aim is incremental reform. Although it makes sense to distinguish abolitionist and reformist approaches to advocacy, in practice such approaches are often combined. The best advocacy combines both approaches. As Edwards puts it "Linking action and experience at the 'micro'  (grassroots) and 'macro' (global) levels is perhaps the most important element in successful advocacy."

In other words, the various writers above have explicitly identified the activities of NGOs in relation to advocacy and how it functions. While some writers like Fowler feel differently about advocacy work and development, Hudson feels that advocacy is the key to national development.

Most NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Nigeria have contributed tremendously to effecting changes in their campaign against Multinational Corporations. For example the struggle of the Ogoni people (MOSOP) in 1993 resulting in the release of the Ogoni Bill of Right , The Ijaws (IYC) in 1998 resulting in the release of the Kaiama Declaration, and other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta. The people of the Niger Delta took the decision to take their destinies into their hands by mobilizing from the grassroots and resisting peacefully and non-violently the activities of the Multinational Corporations such as Shell Petroleum, Mobil, Chevron, Elf, Texaco.
Chapter Four:

4.1. Review of Findings
From the findings in the review, it was observed that implementing policy change is not the end; organizations such as governments or corporations can renege or ignore policies. However, it was observed that to ensure policies and laws are implemented to favor the poor, organizations advocating for change in local and international codes need to constantly monitor and publicize violations, to ensure that the codes/laws are abided by.

The review clearly shows that with continued advocacy and network building with the strategies that have been identified, NDWJ and the organizations in the Delta can develop their campaign, advocacy and networking strategies.

The findings also show that the organizations should take into consideration the evaluation of their activities to enable them to plan and re-plan for the future. The process monitoring work enables the NGOs/CBOs to clearly identify their strengths and weaknesses.

The findings recognize the fact that respect for human, environmental and cultural rights can play an essential role in the search for solutions to these problems in the Niger Delta, by mobilizing public and political pressure, and opening the possibility of legal avenues through which the people of the Delta may take action against the MNCs. However, human, environmental and cultural rights advocacy, building networks, and campaigns must be viewed as only one aspect of a broader struggle to protect the Niger Delta people, their culture and environment.

According to Kenny Bruno of Corporate Watch, Special to Corporate Watch, (May 2000), in the rise of corporate power many environmentalist have been too timid to admit that environmental campaigns and regulations could be bad for business. So they have seen instead put an emphasis on "eco-efficiency," and "voluntary initiatives," and "win-win" programs, phrases describing the occasions - and there are such occasions - when doing good and doing well can co-exist.


1.Advocacy Source Book, Frameworks for planning Action, Reflection Institute for Development Research, 1997 (p.11-12).

2.Adbusters  magazine Coporate crackdown, 2000

3.Alan, Hudson, 'Organizing NGOs International Advocacy,' Organizing Structures and Organizational Effectiveness, presented at the NGOs in Global Future Conference, University of Birmingham, January 1999. (P. 3)

4.Anne, Pitch, 1999,

5.Center for Economic and Social Right, Rights Violations in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Human Consequences of Oil Development, Fall 1994 (Vol.1, No.1, p.33)

6.Claude, Ake, Tell magazine,  Shelling Nigeria Ablaze , January 29, 1996,

7.Collins paperback English Dictionary, New Edition 21st Century

8.Corporate Watch, Exposing Nike's Sweatshops May 1998 (p.1)

9.Corporate Watch, environmental news service June 26, 2000,

10.Development in Practice August 2000, (Vol. 10. Number 3 & 4, p.153, 454-455)

11.Drillbits and Tailings, November 9, 1999, (Volume 4, Number 18),

12.Essential Action INTER PRESS SERVICE February 1998, (p.1)

13.Free Nigeria Movement [Public Relations], Call to Action November 10th, In remembrance of Ken Saro-Wiwa, , Nov 1997,

14.Global Alliance News, 2000, (Vol. 1 No 8 p3)

15.Human Rights Watch, The Price of Oil, May 1999 (v.11 n.2 p.23)

16.Ken Saro-Wiwa Rights Livelihood Award Website (

17.Lisa Jordan and Peter van Tuijl, Political responsibility in NGO advocacy: Exploring emerging shapes of global democracy, April 1998, (p.1)

18.Matthew, Wide Open to the Web Warriors, 2000, Reed

19.Moses, Coady, Masters of Their Own Destiny, The story of the Antigonish Movement of Adult Education Through Economic Movement, (1956:33)

20.Nigerian Guardian newspaper, Ijaw women protest troop deployment to Bayelsa state January 12, 1999,,,

21.Oil, Climate & Transnational Corporations, Link magazine, Friends of the Earth International , October/December 1999, (Issue 91)

22.Olga, Gladkikh, "Advocacy and Networking, class handout" (Quote by Sun Tsu, The Art of War), Antigonish: Coady International Institute, 2000, October 31

23. Paul, Starkey, "Networking for Development", 1998, (IFRTD p. 20)

24.Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Nigerian Oil, information prepared by Rainforest Action Network and Friends of the Earth, 1999.

25.Rights Livelihood Award Website

26.Simone, Levy, The Maquila Solidarity Network and their campaign against Nike, 1999, (p. 7)

27.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [hereinafter Universal Declaration], 1948, GA Res. 217A (III), UN Doc. A/810, at 71)

28.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Atlanta. 1993, USDHHS.

29.World Rainforest Report, Spring, Activists Send Chevron a Message: No Blood for Oil, 1999,  (Volume XVI, No.1p.1)



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