LBJ Crook Fellow Interns With Sustainability International

Amara Uyanna

Amara Uyanna with two children she befriended while serving as a Crook Fellow intern in the Niger Delta.

Amara Uyanna, 2017 Crook Fellow, interned with Sustainability International during the summer of 2017 in Nigeria. She updates us here on the environmental conditions of the Niger Delta region, where among other responsibilities, she coordinated bioremediation efforts in the area:

For over five decades, the Niger Delta has been the oil hub of Nigeria, the eighth largest oil-producing country. The region is home to millions, and the total land area is roughly the combined size of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Connecticut. Before the discovery of crude oil, fishing and farming were the occupations most prevalent among the locals. The region is comprised of abundant mangrove forests and is sometimes referred to as a global biodiversity hotspot.

Unfortunately, the discovery of oil combined with weak environmental policies, government incompetence, and inefficient exploration practices led to decades of environmental pollution through oil spills, illegal oil bunkering, and gas flaring. The pollution has affected everything from groundwater to topsoil to the daily lives of the people. The accompanying effects on the public health, socioeconomic status, and general development of the region have been devastating.

During my summer internships with Sustainability International and ExxonMobil, I got to spend time in the Niger Delta, where I witnessed hope in a myriad of forms. Although I saw injustice, waste, and pollution, it is the hope and will of the Niger Delta locals that should be emphasized.

—Amara Uyanna

About the Crook Fellowship

The LBJ School awards grants to support students involved in summer internships for nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that conduct projects in the developing world. The grants, awarded in amounts up to $5,000, are made possible by the William H. Crook Program in International Affairs.

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