Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, a member of both CEESP and CEC, was one of five winners of the Rolex Young Laureate Awards. Nnaemeka is the Executive Director of the Smallholders Foundation - a network which uses radio to allow thousands of farmers in Nigeria to receive and share vital agricultural, envionmental and commercial information, leading to improved crop yields and better lives. CEESP Chair, Aroha Mead interviewed Nnaemeka .
- In what ways do you think global networks (such as the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy) can assist the work you are doing on the ground to improve the livelihoods of communities?
Global networks such as the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy can assist our work to improve the livelihood of rural poor communities, by sharing latest knowledge, skills and information on best practices in sustainable natural resources management. These global networks can also assist us by building our capacity through educational programs which will enhance our expertise to innovate and implement new projects which will improve the economic wellbeing of the rural poor. Furthermore, such international networks have many high ranking policymakers as members; as such the network can effectively link us to policymakers in our countries. Through this linkage we will effectively work with government officials and agencies in implementing national, regional or local environmental, economic and social policies which will improve the livelihood of the rural poor.
- While it was your work in setting up radio stations and using broadcasts to promote messages environmental wellbeing and sustainable livelihoods that brought you to the attention of the Rolex award - what are your aspirations for the future?
My aspiration for the future is to expand the radio network to reach 90 million small farmers with critical agricultural and environmental management broadcast information enabling them to decide what to produce, when to produce, how to produce and for whom to produce. The goal being for them to increase their agricultural yield, sustainably manage the environment and boost their household income. My aim is for the radio stations to become the BBC Radio of Rural Nigeria.