The PATH ahead!

This week’s UK-Nigeria meeting saw John Dada inform us that four Fantsuam staff were in Kaduna, attending training for PATH. This followed the indication from the Kaduna State Government the previous week that it was willing to take over the PATHS programme. This suggestion was made at a meeting attended by Comfort. However, it must be said that their readiness for such a task has yet to be proved.

John went on to explain Fantsuam Foundation’s ongoing bandwidth challenges.
The new Government-owned service provider is not meeting their needs, but they can no longer afford the US-based provider. This has resulted in FF decommissioning their client services because they just cannot provide them with erratic bandwidth.

John further informed us that Fantsuam has been accepted as a member of a consortium of tertiary institutions which has set up bandwidth purchase for its members. However, as John pointed out, Fantsuam is not on the same financial footing as these institutions. The cost for sufficient bandwidth required for itself and its clients needs amounts to $3,000 PER MONTH.

So, although in name Fantsuam Foundation are members of this consortium, they are unable to pay such a high subscription and members have been invited by John to FF to see the vital service that FF provides to the local rural community at first hand for themselves.

John Dada also gave us feedback from the VSO meeting he attended last week. It was interesting to learn that Fantsuam Foundation is now VSO's oldest partner in Nigeria. FF are now working on a draft annual VSO workplan that should take effect from April. Security continues to be a concern for VSO, who have scaled down their work in Plateau state

Following John’s meeting with VSO he visited the French Embassy - also in Abuja. They are pleased with the progress of work at Attachab and felt reassured with his assessment of the security situation. As John said: “The media carries a lot of biased and exaggerated news about the security threats. Of course the bad news is always preferred for headlines.”

One of the outcomes of the VSO meeting is that John met with the coordinator of the newly-formed Association of Small Scale Farmers, Nigeria. He explained that the existing Farmers association, which has the ears of Government, is actually run by and for a handful of rich ex-civil servants, generals etc.

The small-scale farmers fit neatly into FF’s mission at Attachab, which is to engage with such farmers on sustainable and integrated agricultural practices
During the Skyped-typed meeting John sent us four new photos of the Attachab, which show the new building being built and some recent cultivations of plants.

The Friends Of Nigeria grant, $5,600 for grains purchase has been received. Fantsuam have already started the purchases, and are racing against time because the price of grains are rising.