Pro-Natura International

Niger Delta – Nigeria


Philip Arkell


Director, Community Development – developing constructive partnerships between the corporate world and local communities that empower communities rather than create dependency and despondency.


Established in Brazil in 1986, Pro-Natura is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to conserve biodiversity through integrated sustainable development projects adapted as models that are replicable at a regional level, in partnership with public entities, private initiatives, and organized civil society.




 My work in the Niger Delta facilitates participatory community development programmes in three separate states.  Our principles of operation do not differ significantly from any other participatory development process; it is our ability to ‘tailor’ such processes to an environment of conflict, mistrust, poor governance and corruption that has given us so much success.


In an environment where government is often absent or non-functional; where the oil industry is perceived to be ‘stealing’ the oil wealth; and, communities consider themselves to be marginalized and discriminated against, we have created local democratic governance by establishing a series of partnerships through Community Development Foundations. It is a framework where all stakeholders can come together in peace rather than conflict, where transparency replaces secrecy and the whole process is accountable to the community.


As Programme Adviser, I am responsible for empowering others with the tools and skills to develop their community.


At a time when conflict in the Niger Delta is escalating, we have shown that through listening to, and learning from each other, peace and development through partnership is achievable.

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