News of an assortment of comings and goings kicked off this week’s online meeting between the UK and Nigeria teams. We were told of the imminent departures of three of the VSO team members who have provided such invaluable service at Fantsuam. At the same time, we were informed of some new arrivals and the welcome new appointment of a Programs Manager.
In addition to this during our busy hour online, we also covered topics ranging from Sickle Cell. screening, bandwidth issues,and beekeeping!
Cicely, Lauri and Dori
We were sad to be reminded by John that Cicely, Lauri and Dori, current VSOs would be leaving in September as their contracts at Fantsuam Foundation are coming to an end. Their contribution has been immense and they will be sorely missed. However, plans have already been put into place for other FF team workers to continue their good work. It is also apparent that, once you have been involved with Fantsuam, you never really leave us! Laurie has already said that she will be liaising with Women for World Health and similar organisations to explore the potential for organising mercy missions for FF.
On another positive, note FF's Gayl (VSO) and Kelechi are to be assisted for a fortnight by a volunteer from EWINROCK. This person will help out with the Management Information System, while another VSO should also be arriving next month to assume the role of Entrepreneurship Advisor.
The UK team passed their congratulations to Kelechi, who was until recently the Director of the Academy. We now learn that he has handed over those responsibilities to his team and is now the Program Operations Manager for FF.
Jim (VSO) and his local team are making good progress on the fishpond. It is hoped that Sambo, a local man who has been involved in permaculture and who worked with Marcus Simmons during his visits to Attachab, will become the Assistant Permaculture Manager when Jim leaves in February. Unfortunately John informed us that the bid for the EU grant that would have brought Marcus back to help continue his training of Sambo and his efforts in establishing Attachab, has not been successful. Fantsuam are therefore still seeking funds. (Please contact us if you can help or have any suggestions re this!)
Beekeeping at Attachab
John reiterated that Beekeeping is an integral part of what FF wants at Attachab. He said: “We have the land, the plans, and folks that can be trained. The missing link is the funds.” There was general agreement that, should funds be available for training, this should take the form of practical tuition. Trainees should also be mentored and the training should take into account the entire beekeeping value chain - from production to processing to marketing. Beekeeping as a small medium enterprise was believed to be the best way to proceed.
Sickle Cell update
Sickle Cell screening has now reached 5,400 children, well in excess of the original target which was 2,666. Fantsuam later extended its target to 6,000 and should be considerably closer to this after two more major screening sessions this week. The cohort study provided funding for only the initial 2,666 - but John thought that he should take the opportunity to expand the scope of the study so results would be more reliable.
The data collected will provide the basis of a bid for further funding. John said: “We have shown through this exercise FF's ability to mobilize large populations for health outreach, and the data collected will also help ascertain the incidence of sickle cell in these communities.” Pam said: “Money to FF does not just serve local need, it feeds back into the global knowledge bank.”
Women for World Health Video: The preparatory team came to Nigeria for a medical mission earlier this year but the sectarian clashes in Jos has put the proces on hold.
Broadband 4 Nigeria meeting: The UK drew the teams attention to the photo and write up for vanguard of John at this meeting.
Limited bandwidth at Fantsuam: The issues resulting from this are being admirably tackled by the Zittnet team. The UK were informed that everyone has a limited amount of bandwidth that they can use at any given moment and if there is a larger document to be downloaded the Zittnet team will oversee this. FF academy courses, management and e-learning materials are on the intranet . Also core documents will be saved on the FF local server with different levels of permission to read and edit them.