The Niger Delta is one of the most populated natural ecosystems in the world with a land area of 7,386 kilometres. It contains the most extensive mangrove ecosystems in Africa, which covers over 22% of the total forest spread with about 20 million people living along its long coastlines. The mangrove forests in the Niger Delta provide a last line of defense for littoral communities, providing numerous goods and ecosystem services to contiguous populations. At least, 60% of commercial fish species in the Gulf of Guinea breed in the mangroves of the Niger Delta. These mangroves forests sequester an estimated 25.5 million tons of free CO2 per year, while providing habitats for a myriad of biodiversity. The region therefore, is critically strategic in the fight against climate change. Over the last 10 years, considerable oil contamination of the land, air, surface and ground water have been reported, with estimates of over 17 million litres of crude oil spilled. These spills have destroyed fishing livelihoods, reduced soil productivity and affected crop quality in fishing and farming areas. Like other regions of the world, the Niger Delta has begun to feel the full effects of the constant change in weather patterns caused by climate change, which is mostly fueled by human activities that contribute to carbon and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions
In response to these challenges, the Media Awareness and Justice Initiative, with support from The French Embassy in Nigeria, implemented the Data Casting Biodiversity Project (DATACAB) which engaged strategic target groups, educating them on the need to adopt data analysis in environmental protection, biodiversity reporting and advocacy. The Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI) carried interactive sessions and capacity building for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Media Representatives pulled from the DATACAB focus areas of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States. These capacity building trainings focused on data collection, data analysis and the use of low cost tools for data simplification. The Media Awareness and Justice Initiative strongly sees data analysis as a potent tool for effective environmental protection and biodiversity conservation across the Niger Delta.