Engaging Nigerian Older Persons in Neighborhood Environment Assessment and Improvement Recommendations for Physical Activity Promotion

Festac Town, Lagos, Nigeria (2019)

In collaboration with the Centre on Aging, University of Manitoba

Guiding Question:

"What aspects of your neighborhood do you feel are supports or barriers to participating in physical activity?"

Project Description:

This project examined the barriers and facilitators to physical activity for older adults in Festac Town, Lagos, Nigeria. Using the Discovery Tool mobile app, Nigerian older persons documented the physical and social aspects of their neighborhood environment that influence their physical activity levels, using the World Health Organization Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities as a guide. 

Citizen scientists explored environmental features that positively influenced their physical activity levels and identified multifaceted approaches to overcome identifiable barriers. In this process, the participants framed the problems and possible solutions most relevant and readily understood by both the residents themselves and local decision-makers and stakeholders.


In total, 13 older residents of Festac Town in Lagos, Nigeria conducted data collection walks to determine the facilitators and barriers to physical activity. 

The collected images were organized into roughly seven catagories: roads, walkways, green and beautiful environments, multigenerational community features, social security, safety and security, and infrastructure.

From these themes, citizen scientists identified three priority areas for improvement: social connectivity, pedestrian and traffic facilities, and green and beautiful environments.


Strengths Identified:

  • Roads: Traffic lights
  • Walkways: Sidewalks
  • Green and beautiful environments: Parks, trees, gardens 
  • Multigenerational community features: Community parks
  • Social connectivity: Neighborhood associations, places of worship, non-governmental organizations, health talks 

Identified Areas for Improvement:

  • Roads: Lack of pedestrian crossings 
  • Walkways: Parking on walkways, damaged sidewalks, street trading on walkways
  • Green and beautiful environments: Dumping, noise pollution, dangerous animals 
  • Social connectivity: Stigmatization based on age (ageism)
  • Safety and Security: Criminal hideouts, potholes, lack of streetlights at night, etc. 
  • Infrastructure: No clean drinking water, sewage issues, lack of public toilets

Activities and Outcomes:

A stakeholder meeting was held with citizen scientists presenting the study findings and advocating for their priority areas.

Project Leads:

Emmanuel Odeyemi, MSc.

For more information, contact Michelle Porter, Director of Centre on Aging, at michelle.porter@umanitoba.ca.

Associated Publications:

Odeyemi, Emmanuel. Engaging Nigerian older persons in neighbourhood environment assessment and improvement recommendations for physical activity promotion: a citizen science project. 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/1993/35845


University of Manitoba International Program and Partnership Seed Fund.

We acknowledge the support of the Charity Organization for the Welfare of Aged People Foundation in carrying out this project.

Our Voice Impact

"This experience has changed my life.  I see inadequacies everywhere I go as it relates to pedestrian access and safety.  I even stop [at] construction sites to remind them to be considerate of the handicapped in our community.  Thank you all so much for this awareness and empowerment to require change."

~ Pam Jiner, GirlTrek Advocacy Leader, Denver CO