The Fantsuam Foundation team could have been forgiven had they spent the whole hour of last Wednesday's UK-Nigeria online meeting talking about the success of their UN Sickle Cell Awareness day which had taken place just a few days earlier.
However, they knew the UK team had already been fully updated about this superb event via Cicely's blog, John's report about the radio panel and, of course, by viewing the great photos taken by those on site. So instead we moved on swiftly to the next pressing issues.
John started the meeting by explaining that it had been a "hectic" morning as they had been visited by a project review team from Save The Children. He told us: "We have just completed the Child Carers project which they funded. They have come to talk to the children and grandmothers whom we worked with during the project."
This is part of the social care that Fantsuam provides for the community. The grandmothers, known locally as Kakas, have offered their help to care for a number of their orphaned grandchildren. John went on to explain that there is now a role reversal and in some instances it is now the children who are caring for their grandmothers and siblings.
The second half of the meeting took the form of a discussion looking at some of the practicalities and applications of mobile phone use in rural Nigeria.
John went on to inform us that staff had found phone access in the most remote locations during Fantsuam Foundation's ESSPIN visits which took them to remote areas in Kaduna State.
Cicely, a VSO at Fantsuam, said that a big problem for her is the lack of phone networks in those rural areas, plus their erratic nature and the cost of making calls. She reported that a 10 minute phone call cost her nearly N300.
John explained that: "The providers are concentrating on urban centres where they can make the most profit. Government is yet to meet the challenge of providing the incentive for providers to explore rural locations. The providers say they have to cover cost of diesel for their generators: that's where the high price comes in."
This led to a lively discussion about how mobile phones could be used in rural communities to save lives and to share important information about events or health education. John concluded: "That should be the challenge, what do you do in spite of these constraints to save life through easier, affordable phone access?"
The team had many good ideas so it was agreed that "mobile phones in Rural Africa" should be the topic for next Thursday's First Thursday meeting. Please do join us in the continuation of this debate.
Other subjects mentioned included:
The development of the Fantsuam Foundation website
Ladi, who recently joined the Nigerian team as Knowledge Resource Officer, is now into her second week and John confirmed that she will be an important administrative link between the two teams.
MIS advisor due to arrive at Fantsuam on the Wednesday.