Talking Rubbish!

This week’s meeting proved to be as diverse as ever. Topics ranged from sickle cell, rice production to recycling waste plastic!

However, first John Dada informed the team that later that day, Fantsuam was expecting a visit from the President of the Nigerian Association of Telecommunication Companies. John is himself chairman of the Forum BB4NG ( Broadband for Nigeria). On 28th July there is a meeting in Abuja of the various stakeholders in order to discuss the important issues surrounding the provision of broadband in Nigeria. For additional details please see QueenChichi’s article for AllVoices.
Dadamac, Fantsuam and a UK University are currently exploring the proposal of turning the large amounts of waste plastic which litters FF’s surrounding areas (no refuse collections available here!) into plastic tiles.It is hoped this will provide some local sustainable livelihoods: There will need to be collectors of the plastic, washers of the plastic, press operators who make the tiles (or manufacture other product yet to be identified) and the sellers of the end product.
As John said this project “will clean up Kafanchan and the surrounding markets environment, create jobs, and create market for tiles “

John has already identified one of the Fanstaum Foundation volunteers as a potential manager for this Waste Plastic Proposal. The Volunteer, the UK were told,  has gone to town to start a more accurate assessment of the available waste plastic, and initial recruitment of pickers, sorters, cleaners etc. John informed us that he is also thinking of finding a graduate student from Ahmadu Bello University who may present the findings as part of their research for a higher qualification. The UK University team have advised that FF will need up to 150kg of waste plastic per day. It was reported that the Fantsuam’s volunteer is currently estimating what plastic can be found in Kafanchan, Kaduna, Zaria and Jos, and the surrounding local markets. We look forward to learning what he observed.

Amongst other items discussed there was also some interesting information from Cicely, a VSO volunteer, who informed the UK about FF’s  World Bank funded project to provide Business Development Service training to 200 individuals in the rice value chain in Kaduna state over the next 9 months. The recent rice proposal will allow some funds for finding and reaching new clients. The micro finance bank at FF will also provide loans. The situation that they face is that much of the rice is currently imported and as Cicely said the task is “getting Kaduna State to produce rice that customers want to buy!”

The hourly typed Skype meeting was also able to touch on the important issue of upgrading the infrastructure for FF’s  microfinance service.
John explanined that “ This would be a long-term investment: our computer equipments will soon need replacement, our power needs (the solar) will require additional batteries. These are investments that will make the microfinance more self sufficient”

Dadamac UK were also pleased to learn that Sabo, (who was one of the first Fantsuam members of the UK-Nigeria weekly meetings) and who helped set up the GIMP course( See Cameras for Communication) is planning to return to Fantsuam.
Also Gbenga,  who Pam met in London a few weeks ago, was actually now visiting Fantsuam and was able to join us in the meeting!