A Nigerian environmental organisation, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, is partnering with the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden to establish the Rights Livelihood Campus, RLC, in the country.
This is in furtherance of efforts to build the capacity of Nigerian students and young people on environmental issues.
The Campus, which is the fifth of such in the world and the second in Africa, is to be hosted in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, in southern Nigeria.
UNIPORT will be formally unveiled as the Nigerian chapter of the RLA Campus on November 25.
The event will witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Co-chair of the Board of Trustees, Right Livelihood Award Foundation and a former German minister of environment, Monika Griefahn, Uniport’s Vice Chancellor, Joseph Ajienka and coordinator of the Academy, Nnimmo Bassey, will sign the MoU.
The new partnership will also enable Uniport’s Post-Graduate scholars have access to the corps of Right Livelihood laureates as well as exchange opportunities with four other existing campuses across the globe.
The Right Livelihood College awards annually the “Alternative Nobel Prize”.
It is an opportunity for the awardees of the prestigious prize to share their knowledge with younger people.
The RLC currently has its global secretariat at the Universiti Sains in Penang, Malaysia.
Griefahn welcomes the new development saying, “We are very pleased that a Right Livelihood College campus is being established at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.”
“The College continues to make positive impact in the lives of young scholars and continues to build direct links between academics, laureates and the wider community. We commend the University of Port Harcourt and the Health of Mother Earth Foundation for engaging in this partnership,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Port Harcourt, Fidelis Allen said the institution sees the opportunity to host the RLC campus “as one that will challenge our scholars as well as connect them with their peers around the world. We are equally pleased with HOMEF for making this partnership possible.”
The director of HOMEF, Bassey, who won the Rights Livelihood Award in 2010, is equally excited at the prospect.
“The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has brought so much petroleum-dollar to Nigeria. Sadly the extraction of the petroleum resources has brought devastation to the environment and livelihoods of the people,” he said.
“We believe that targeted researches here will generate tools for tackling these problems which will in turn find application in other challenged territories beyond the Niger Delta. HOMEF is proud to collaborate with Uniport in hosting the RLC campus in Nigeria,” he added.
Besides Bassey, the only other Nigerian to have won the award so far is the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, together with his organization the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, in 1994.
The RLC is the global capacity building initiative of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Since inception in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award has been bestowed on 153 laureates from 64 countries.