New blogger in training!
I'm Frances Dada, writing my first blog to report back on the UK-Nigeria Dadamac meeting held last Tuesday, 5th February. I spent three years in Nigeria with VSO in the eighties and have visited Fantsuam Foundation in central Nigeria many times since its beginnings around 2000. I am Fantsuam Foundation's link person in the UK based in Leeds.
Daily life in Kafanchan
As usual John had to dip in and out of the Dadamac meeting due to the many demands on his time. On Tuesday when we held the meeting it was the woman who is paid to prepare the lunches who needed to discuss her own personal problems. Fantsuam is a small rural organisation and in the course of his work John comes into contact with a whole range of people from the influential to those who are poor and challenged by many problems. Many look to him for some immediate solution to their needs.
Despite all the frustrations that beset any progress anywhere, the plans for the pay as you use toilets are moving ahead. The Local Government Chairman has approved the plan in principle and now it is awaiting an allocation of land. John will make use of all the contacts whom he has worked with over the years to promote the plan for the toilets to ensure the land is allocated without delay. John's aspiration is to have the toilets up and ready for use by March.
John told us of the next stage in the waste plastic project.a market survey has been started to look at the use of the waste plastics. The survey was carried out in Jos, a University city about an hour and a half by road from Kafanchan. The survey members, lead by Tayo, spoke to architects, masons, building materials mercahants and end users. Of the many interesting suggestions, one respondant suggested that the plastic be used for shoe soles. This had never been considerd before and is an exciting idea as shoes have to be particularly hard wearing on the often dry, dusty, uneven paths or where roads are often impassable to vehicles during the rainy season. There was a lot of enthusiasm about the project and a willingness to market the eventual products.
The next interruption was from Yakubu and 10 of his new students on his computer skills induction programme. The students do a basic certificate course of 5 weeks followed by a diploma of 3 months. This is adapted from the Computer Driving Lesson course introduced by Pam quite some years ago. Following this the students become self directed learners and follow the course materials at their own pace.
Fantsuam is a CISCO academy under the regional Academy in Jos. John said that the rural CISCO in rural Kafanchan had trained over 400 students but cannot charge the same fees as in an urban environment. The urban CISCO costs can be as high as double those in Kafanchan. Even at the reduced rate some students have to be given a part scholarship to undertake the course. Now Fantsuam has the additional burden of having to pay for the new CISCO bundle of routers which have been upgraded.
Pam in London is working hard to bring this issue to the attention of those who may be able to help.