- UN Concordia Summit on Global Issues
- 2019 Rooney Scholar on Information Systems, Cultural Communications and Entrepreneurship - Robert Morris University, Pittsbugh
- Publishing @The FEEEDS Index - polling data on Africa (powered by Gallup Analytics)
- Work with Diaspora Groups
- Expanding Songhai Efforts on Smart Food Security & Environment
- Annual FEEEDS-Gallup-Allafrica Africa Event
- Visiting Scholar on Africa to U.S. Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities
- SME & vocational training through strategic partners
- Affordable housing through strategic partners
- Nigerian Legislative Training for Professional Staff
Federal Republic of Nigeria:
Below are the Initiatives of Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders during her 3 year tenure in Nigeria as U.S. Ambassador created to further the U.S. relationship with the Governments (Federal and State) and People of Nigeria, including the Private Sector:
U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership
One of the Ambassador's first initiatives was to align the U.S. Mission's to Nigeria's objectives with those of the Government of Nigeria (GON) to assist the GON in achieving its seven-point agenda, which has synergy with the U.S. goals and objectives. The U.S. Mission now operates under four pillars: governing justly and democratically, peace and security, economic growth and trade, and investing in people. The Mission's partnership with the Government of Nigeria is outlined in the Ambassador's "U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership Guide", which she has shared with the President and his cabinet, as well as with state governors, and local governments, public-private partners, non-government organizations, and civil society.
US Mission-GON Working Groups
Under the umbrella of the U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership, the Ambassador established several groups at the ministerial and working levels between U.S. Mission to Nigeria officials and GON Ministry officials to assist the GON in achieving its seven-point agenda and the U.S. Mission's goals under the framework pillars. These working groups meet regularly and are focused on the following areas: Military-to-Military Cooperation; Law Enforcement and Anti-Corruption; Agricultural Development; Economic Trade and Investment; Health and Education; Information/IT; and Strategic Planning.
The U.S. Mission has several public-private partnerships (PPP) in Nigeria that support the country's economic growth and development and investment in its people, as well as the U.S. Mission's objectives under its Framework for Partnership with Nigeria. By partnering with the U.S. Mission to Nigeria, both Nigerian and American companies have been able to co-fund (either directly, in-kind, or with an MOU) as well as co-manage activities which strengthen development throughout in Nigeria as part of social and community-based projects that assist with agriculture, education, and health projects. The U.S. Mission has over 30 of these types of relationships throughout Nigeria ranging from banks to energy companies.
The U.S. Mission to Nigeria also has several public-public partnerships (P-P) with GON entities such as Bank of Industry (BOI); The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and is beginning one with the new leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which will kick off in early May, 2009. With BOI, the U.S. Mission partners to execute nation-wide workshops on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), including USG-BOI workshops on taking advantage of US financing products, and agricultural workshops to assist bankers, farmers, and agro-businesses. With NCAA, there are regular workshops to both help Nigeria achieve Category One status from the U.S. Federal Administration Authority; and with NERC to improve the electricity regulatory environment. The U.S. Mission and NNPC are in planning stages for developing the first USG-GON roundtable on climate change issues.
NGO and Civil Society Development
The Ambassador convened and chaired roundtable forums for NGO and civil society leaders in December, 2008, to discuss how Nigeria's democracy fared for the year, and what the U.S. could do to help advance and further evolve Nigeria’s democratic efforts. In these initial sessions, participants recognized the value of coming together as a group to collectively address various issues, and asked for the Ambassador's assistance in helping them find practical ways to formulate a unified strategy and road map to advocate for the change they wanted to see in Nigeria. In response to this request, the Ambassador convenes quarterly forums for NGO and civil society leaders to come together to achieve their objectives. The next session will be in May, 2009, in three major cities to develop a roadmap as to how these groups can work together on the democracy front.
Pilot Engagement with States (PES)
In response to the demand from several state governors for technical assistance and capacity building for which they were willing to provide counter part funds in a true stakeholder relationship for state development, the Ambassador established the Pilot Engagement with States Initiative. The Ambassador leads interagency teams of program, policy and agency specialists to work with Nigerian states, particularly where we have no or few USG activities, to begin new development-focused activities ranging from rehabilitation of schools and clinics, to education and health programs to building boreholes. Of note, the first PES program is with a Niger Delta State for pilot projects in education, rehabilitation of a handicraft center, aquaculture, and construction of vocational training centers. The Niger Delta state government working with the U.S. Mission has authorized adequate counterpart funding as its contribution to the capacity building and technical assistance being offered by the USG. The U.S. Mission is expanding this initiative to include 1-2 additional states each year.
Support Activities for African Education Initiative
The Ambassador's Girls Scholarship Program (AGSP) as part of the Africa Education Initiative is increasing access to quality basic education in Nigeria through the provision of scholarships, textbooks, teacher training programs and other innovative education activities. The Ambassador has led an initiative to use other U.S. Mission elements to support AGSP that provide rehabilitation of school infrastructure, construction of boreholes, reprinting textbooks, and supplying other school supplies, freeing up more AGSP funds for scholarships.
The Ambassador's Adopt-a-School program seeks to identify schools with which to have an ongoing friendly relationship, and where in some cases U.S. Mission elements volunteer their time to help rehabilitate the school’s infrastructure. In addition, this initiative focuses on adding to the capacity of the school’s information communication and technology (ICT) capacity, with such things as computer hardware, software and technical training and support. The program is synergistic with the U.S. Mission’s public-private partnership program as it includes several Nigerian and American businesses who want to partner on either ICT or educational development. There are several schools throughout Nigeria that are part of this program.
The Ambassador has strengthened the American Corners in Nigeria by making sure that partners take an active lead in operating their facilities as mandated. Due to a strong need and desire for an American Corner in Lagos, the Ambassador identified a strong, committed partner and opened the U.S. Mission's first American Corner in Lagos, called the Barack Obama American Corner. The U.S. Mission remains active in seeking to ensure that there is an American Corner in all the six geo-political regions in Nigeria.
U.S.- BOI AGOA Resource Center
As part of the public-public partnership, and in response to the need for a better facility, the Ambassador initiated efforts through the U.S. Mission to Nigeria and the West Africa Trade Hub, to establish a partnership with Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) for a new AGOA Resource Center which was commissioned in June, 2009. There will be a trained AGOA resource coordinator, materials, and a technology center that will assist potential Nigerian exporters in taking greater advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). A signed MOU for the new Center will be completed in April, 2009.
Trade & Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Bi-Lateral Investment Treaty (BIT)
The Ambassador has been advocating for a TIFA and BIT with the GON since her arrival, and the process is now beginning to move forward. USG-GON delegations are meeting in Washington for TIFA and BIT talks in March, 2009.
Republic of the Congo:
During its 10 year post-conflict phase, Ambassador Sanders arrived toward the end of that phase to re-establish the U.S. presence in Congo including advancing the rebuilding of the U.S. presence in the country and ensuring the building of a new Embassy compound. In the dedication of the new embassy building (NEC) once it was finished, Ambassador Sanders' name appears on a plaque in the entrance way to the NEC to underscore her contribution to both re-establishing and strengthening US-Congo relations and her commitment to ensuring that the U.S. Government and people of American had a new, safe and secure NEC in which to work.
Partnerships with International Organizations
The Ambassador and her team established unique partnerships with UN agencies to work cooperatively to address massive post-conflict destruction and assist with both internally displaced and refugees from Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), camps holding those accused of participating in the Rwanda genocide, called the Interhamwe.
With her mass media arts and communication background and the need to address job creation and digital divide issues for the population in Brazzaville, Ambassador Sanders and her team along with the United Nations Representative/UN Head of Mission and his team created, built, and operationalized The MERC -- a media-education-resource-center -- to provide and address access to both education materials, unique workshops, training and Internet access. It was the only one of its kind in the then worn-torn city and became a model cited by both the UN Secretary General and the U.S. Government.
English Language Clubs:
Given that Congo-Brazzaville, as it is usually called, is a French speaking country, Ambassador Sanders and her team wanted to create opportunities for learning English by establishing English Clubs in several locations, but primarily at the U.S. Embassy-owned Villa Washington. Here any Congolese could come once a week to practice English, have access to information and interact with others learning English. The English Language Clubs still run in Congo, have expanded and proliferated all over the city of Brazzaville and are now a staple of U.S. activity there as a key outreach and education event.
At-risk Communities Program:
Ambassador Sanders and her team put a big focus on projects with at-risk communities that included but was not limited to pygmy populations, ex-combatants from the Congo Civil War (especially women), and educational scholarships for women under the former Education for Democracy and Development Initiative (EDDI and later called the African Education Initiative). EDDI was lead by the late Dr. Sarah Moten. She and Ambassador Sanders developed the unique program for Congo. While in Congo, Ambassador award more than 2,000 scholarship to young girls to either start or finished their primary and secondary education.For the pygmy programs, they included creative thinking to reach these groups through community-based garden, lunch, and training programs, and building bridges and reducing conflict and discrimination against pygmies and their cultural practices by Congolese populations near their villages.
Given the post-conflict environment in Congo-Brazzaville, Ambassador Sanders and her team were instrumental in moving the government and the rebels closer together to establish a Peace Committee to resolve remaining differences. This included Sanders traveling to fragile zones which still had the potential for violence such as Kinkala and Mindouli. She kept regular dialogue with both the government and the then rebel leader Father Ntumi. Sanders also returned back to the area in 2015 to help assist with starting a Songhai project in the area to address food security and job creation issues