Featured member: Interview with Ekpenyong Edet-CSACODAM

Ekpenyong Edet at a workshop CSACODAM

Ekpenyong Edet is the Executive Director of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Disaster Mitigation (CSACODAM). Based in Calabar in the Cross River state CSACODAM provides livelihood alternatives to disaster victims in the region. 

Interview by Nisma Le Boul| London, February 2nd  

What does your organisation do?

CSACODAM is an organisation based in Calabar in the Cross River State working in partnership with other civil society organisations (Mangrove Forum) in tackling disasters in the southern part of Nigeria. Our organisation provides a platform to engage stakeholders in dialogues on disaster mitigation. In 2012, CSACODAM participated in the formulation of a disaster management policy for the Cross River State and as such took part in several Disaster and Emergency trainings, including the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB) in Niger.

In an effort to raise awareness of disaster reduction and climate change, CSACODAM has recently conducted research on the protection of the Cross River state mangrove ecosystem. This project,entitled “Mangrove regeneration,” was implemented to halt deforestation and focus on the preservation of mangroves in the region.

How would you describe its role as part of civil-society

CSACODAM brings other Nigerian civil society groups together, particularly groups that work on disaster management. Our mission is to ensure that disaster reduction is carried out at the grassroots level,thus making small-scale civil society organisations further aware and active in disaster management. We welcome innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) among groups and try to replicate those initiatives.

What is your role, what does it entail?

As Executive Director of the organisation, my role is to ensure that all our projects run smoothly. I see myself as a coordinator and a networker that has to sustain relationships with various stakeholders to ensure the progress and support of our activities. I often have to make sacrifices to make sure that the organisation subsists in time of financial scarcity.

When did your organisation join GNDR? 

CSACODAM joined GNDR in 2009.

Why did you join GNDR?

I saw GNDR as a global network which we could build our capacity from, while meeting experts in Disaster Management. GNDR feeds my hope of tackling disasters worldwide.

Consider 3 benefits for your organisation of being a GNDR member.

  • GNDR facilitated meetings with Disaster Management experts.
  • I have learnt so much on innovations in disaster reduction through the exchange of ideas and knowledge accumulated by other GNDR members from different regions.
  • GNDR has brought our organisation much closer to community-based organisations such as the Mangrove Forum through the Frontline Project which represents the essence of humanitarian/relief work.

Name 1 thing you would change about GNDR

GNDR should look into increasing members’ training on the latest developments in DRR. Furthermore, the network should ease access funding to GNDR members for innovative projects other than those initiated by the Secretariat.

What do you think are your biggest achievements as an organisation?

  • In January 2015, the Nigerian Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM) selected CSACODA as their Cross River State focal point. We also contributed to the formulation of Disaster Management Policy for the Cross River State. The coalition mobilized organisations who were trained by the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons and supported alternative livelihoods for community members who have taken to arms.
  • Our organisation facilitated a series of workshops organised jointly by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enhance South-South cooperation. A successful event on the topic of conflicts prevention and free circulation in the West African region.

Has your organisation got any awards?

Not yet unfortunately.

What should GNDR do to sustain or increase members' engagement or participation?

I wish GNDR organised regular forums and conferences as it is the occasion for members to meet and share their experience and knowledge in disaster management. It would increase engagement and participation between and across the world. I believe that projects implemented in Asia could be applied to disaster situations that are happening in Nigeria.


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