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Stakeholders canvass use of apps to improve rights of mining communities

Stakeholders in the mining sector have called for the use of web and mobile apps to foster sustainable development in mining host communities.

The stakeholders made the call on Thursday at a two-day Collaborative Meeting on Sustainable Development in Mining Host Communities (Hostcommunities.ng app familiarisation and onboarding workshop) in Karu, Nassarawa State.

They said the use of apps would improve the rights of host communities and enable them to receive maximum benefits from mining operations.

The meeting was organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy, and Development (Centre LSD) under the auspices of the Ford Foundation BUILD Initiative.

Mr. Monday Osasah, Executive Director of Centre LSD, said the centre had been actively engaged in initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development in mining host communities across Nigeria, in partnership with the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development (MSMD).

Osasah, represented by Dr. Emenike Umesi, Director of Leadership, Centre LSD, said the centre developed an app called hostcommunities.ng to ensure adequate development of the mining host communities.

According to him, the app is designed to empower members of mining host communities and the general public to report on community development projects undertaken by mining companies.

He said it was necessary to address the ills caused by the impact of mining on host communities, leading to environmental degradation, social disruption, and economic inequalities.

“This is to ensure that communities will maximally benefit from mining operations.

“We believe that this platform has the potential to enhance transparency, accountability, and community engagement in the mining sector.

“We envision improved frameworks, enhanced livelihoods, and increased awareness on gender issues as concrete milestones that can be achieved through collaborative action and pragmatic solutions.

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“By focusing on practical interventions, we aim to equip our partners with the tools and knowledge they need to drive lasting change on the ground.’’

Osasah said that the aim of the meeting was to identify real gaps, implement practical solutions, and measure tangible progress in the sector.

“Let us draw on our collective expertise and practical experience to generate innovative ideas and pragmatic approaches that can drive real change in mining host communities,’’ he said

Dr. Vivian Okono, Director, Mines and Environmental Compliance Department, commended Center LSD for the initiative to transform the mining sector.

Okono said the purpose of the meeting was to explore innovative approaches to foster sustainable development in mining host communities.

“The app, hostcommunities.ng, is coming at the right time in the sense that the protection of the rights of host communities is very critical.

“You have done so much, and there is still so much to achieve. In the face of the renewed hope agenda, I will urge everyone to think outside the box.

“This will help us contribute our quota to achieve progress and protection so host communities can benefit,’’ she said.

Mr. Taiwo Otitolaye, National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay (PWYP), commended Center LSD, the Ministry of Solid Minerals, and the Ford Foundation for the initiative.

Otitolaye said the development of the software has transformed engagement in host communities as it provides evidence-based interventions where host communities could monitor, report, and give feedback on happenings in communities.

He urged that the initiative be cascaded across Africa for sustainable development in mining host communities.

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The Programme Coordinator of Centre LSD, Mr. Vincent Dania, said hostcommunities is a web and mobile application platform that empowers members of mining host communities and the public to monitor and report on the progress of Community Development Agreement (CDA) projects.

Dania said the app was developed by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy, and Development (Centre LSD), adding that the hostcommunities app is now available on the Play Store.

He said the app, although still in progress, could be accessed and downloaded via the link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chrisasek or search for Hostcommunities on the Play Store. (NAN)

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