Wednesday's meeting from Nikki

I need to remind myself not to become blasé about today's extraordinary and productive meeting, how privileged I am to be part of such a fantastic and innovative team . . . and just how much we managed to achieve in the space of a single hour!

It was our usual Wednesday online meeting. We had Pam and myself in UK, the much-travelled John returning from a Sickle Cell conference (logging on from who-knows-where in the world!) and fresh from telling us his plans to set up a SC clinic in collaboration with Kafanchan Hospital.

Also "with us" was VSO volunteer Cicely travelling back from Abuja, where she had been moving forward the plans for the second phase of the Community Communication Centre. John broke the good news that the first phase is now complete.

Then there was the team at Fantsuam, Nigeria. Kelechi explained that he would be online "on and off" as he was also running the new solar course. Bala, Chollom, Alheri and "John I" were also present  - despite sharing computers and battling problems with the electricity supply.

John was our chairman and kept us to the previously-circulated agenda - no easy task! We are now familiar with the format but have so far retained enough flexibility that we are able to discuss what we really need to. As priorities change, so does our agenda- even mid meeting where necessary. And that's a good thing!

The topics covered today included: Planning for the Dadamac Day, Cameras for communication course, the Solar course and training of new instructors

Elsewhere we looked at sustainable livelihoods. John explained that one problem for Fantsuam's microfinance clients is procuring fertiliser for their farms early enough in the year. Failing to do so will affect their productivity and ability to repay loans. FF hopes to bulk-purchase in advance so that these clients can have ready access to fertiliser as and when they need it.

Also discussed were sustainable energy (solar, compressed earth bricks and hybrid installations) while we touched too on Zittnet and Africal Rural Connect.

The "Quote of the Day" goes to John for telling us after his recent contact from a journalist: "I didn't realise that what we were doing was innovative Project management tactics in resource-challenged environment, until she mentioned it!"

So, today's meeting is over and tomorrow the UK and Nigeria offices plan two more. One has been arranged to practise and plan for our Dadamac Day on 7th November - while the other is our regular "Cameras for Communication" meeting with Ricardo.

These Wednesday meetings are a fine example of how the internet and technology can connect with grassroots projects. Now all we need are the people who have the time, interest and  patience to listen - and those who have the influence and money to bring about change.

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