Grassroots Action - a real response to a real issue

John Dada and his team were forced to step into the breach once again this week as Fantsuam Foundation awaited the start of the much-anticipated USAID nutrition programme.

They intervened to help ten local street children whose plight was revealed at Wednesday's UK-Nigeria online meeting.

It signalled a FF pilot project targeting the Muslim children who rely on begging at market. (This initiative may in time be merged with Fantsuam's Orphans and Vulnerable Children's programme but it seems more important to respond to the need now and sort out the logistics later).

John explained to the UK team that the children have been sent, often from distant villages, to gain a Koranic education.

They live with a Master, a Koranic scholar, and have to earn their meals - although a space where they can sleep in his compound is provided. Because the master is not paid by the families, the children are sent to beg and must hand him a portion of their daily earnings.

The Foundation's plan is to provide three meals each Friday for 10 children. Comfort and her staff there will liaise with the Master's wives to decide on the menu for each week. The four wives will then take it in turn to cook the meals.

John explained that the menu is likely to be bean cakes and corn pap for breakfast, Tuwo and okro soup for lunch and for dinner rice and beans.

This week Dadamac Foundation had noticed a welcome and unexpected donation of £70 (thank you, whoever you are!) It was therefore proposed and seconded that this sum would be best spent supporting the new initiative mentioned above. The money is now on it's way Fantsuam.

This is an example of our high trust network in action - we know that this money will be wisely spent. John in return has asked the Nigerian team to give us a breakdown of costings. In the meantime the children are getting some desperately-needed nutrition.

This alone would have been an excellent outcome from the one-hour meeting between the UK and rural Nigeria but once again we were spoiled.

  • Chollom reported on last week's visit from the Nigerian Communications Commission - the feedback so good that it warrants a blog of its own (to follow hopefully over the weekend!)
  • Network problems at Fantsuam persist, the US say that they have now sorted out any problems at their end. Chollom told us that he was expecting a consultant to visit today.
  • One member of the Nigeria team was absent as he was representing FF at a 'beehive launching'.
  • John told us that the ESSPIN project has started with community consultations and asked me to remind him to send some photos!
  • Meanwhile the realities of living in rural Nigeria were highlighted once again. A member of our team informed us that they were feeling unwell and had just started taking typhoid drugs that very morning but was still attending the meeting. Other staff were suffering the effects of Malaria. Pam reminded me that it is the rainy season in Nigeria and although the rains were much anticipated and needed they bring an increase in water borne diseases.