At the forefront of Education for Children and the Visually Impaired

This week's UK-Nigeria meeting on Wednesday proved so informative that I have had to briefly summarise the topics that were covered with the intention of writing additional blogs giving more detail.

The Nigerian team was reduced in numbers as two exciting developments were underway.

Firstly, there was the anticipated arrival of Reuben Buhari, a journalist with This Day newspaper. Reuben plans to do an update about the work of Fantsuam Foundation (FF) , in particular looking at the overall impact of FF on its host communities.

Secondly, there some of the Nigerian team were involved in a JAWS training session for the Academy instructors to show how to make computers accessible to the blind. This is a fantastic initiative which will make the Fantsuam Academy courses accessible to the sight-impaired with support from VSO and ANWAB/Freedom Scientific (developers of JAWS). I understand from Wikipaedia that JAWS (an acronym for Job Access With Speech) is " a screen reader, a software program for visually impaired users, produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group at Freedom Scientific. Its purpose is to make personal computers using Microsoft Windows accessible to blind and visually impaired users".

Chollom informed us that they had just downloaded the JAWS software which will be installed on the newly arrived Inveneo computers.
John summed up the JAWS initiative perfectly when he told us: "that is a project that enables FF to address one its mission of reaching the un-served population of people with disabilities"

Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN)
John informed the UK that Comfort was in Kaduna earlier in the week to sign a DFID contract on reactivating local community involvements in running of village schools.
 This will be an 18month project and Fantsuam will be supervising about 30 schools,(not all within their Chiefdom)
John explained that FF was actually a late comer to the scene and that DFID had been working with state government on issues of schools supervision for some time now. He said:

" This is first time NGOs, or Non-State Actors are getting involved. If we perform well, the programme will be extended for another 18 months"
Pam summed up many of our thoughts when she commented that " I think the world is finally coming around to recognising the benefits of working with grass roots"

Quick update of other matters raised:
Mozzimort: 1 litre sample due to arrive at Leeds office for courier to Nigeria for trial at FF.
Opensource: Zittnet and ICT4D 2010.
The Zeerpot : (Clay pot fridge) Agreed that Sambo is to try to construct one locally in Kafanchan.
Rotary Club : The team looked at our current Rotary Club links here the UK and in Nigeria.
Appropriate/Alternative Power was also discussed.