Wednesday saw the first UK-Nigeria online meeting of 2011, and it was straight down to business as usual.
Following on from discussions at the Dadamac Day (Local goes Global) - and from the Directors’ meeting at the end of 2010 - the topic of climate change had already been identified as a focus for the New Year.
Wednesday saw the last UK-Nigeria core team meeting of the year and it was a good opportunity to catch up with the latest from Fantsuam Foundation. (However, it was agreed that there would be a Directors meeting on December 22nd, which duly took place)
The next UK-Nigeria Team meeting has been arranged for Wednesday, January 5th 2011, followed the next day by the First Thursday meeting of the year on the 6th.
FANTSUAM FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT - MARCH – DECEMBER 2010
Executive Summary – JOHN DADA (CEO)
Through the commitment and dedication of staff, volunteers, partner organisations and donors, Fantsuam Foundation has this year continued its journey towards its vision of becoming the most effective model of rural development in West Africa. Our integrated approach is enabling us to continue improving on the level of impact and change we have on individual beneficiary's life, e.g. an OVC client benefiting from psycho-social support as well as being supported to develop a secure livelihood through BDS training and a loan to get started in business. Organizationally we have also continued to implement our comprehensive Organizational Development plan, making great strides in strengthening the capacity of our staff and volunteers, our systems, processes and procedures to enable more effective and efficient working.
THE thorny issues of smart phones in rural Africa and termites in the sambarkas (traditional mud huts with a straw roof) were among the topics raised in our UK-Nigeria online meeting.
However, the majority of this week’s session was used to ensure the team updated Pam on any project developments in readiness for the ICTD 2010 conference, where she will be presenting.
From the team’s discussion it is sadly not unusual for children in Nigeria to be accused of being witches - they are sometimes called 'spirits', and are often held responsible for illnesses and deaths. There seems to be widespread support for this generalised belief in witchcraft with many churches also sharing this fear and performing ceremonies in prayer houses to combat those they think are witches. Many children even confess to being witches because these beliefs are so ingrained that they internalise the thoughts others have about them.
John has been seeking professional help and guidelines to help these traumatised children, but my understanding is that there was little response to this. He needs advice for his staff regarding how best to minimise the psychological effects suffered by these youngsters as a result of such ordeals. We heard at last week’s meeting that staff from Fantsuam Foundation had rescued a child who had been outcast and had already been the target of several attempts to kill him.
John was pleased to tell the team that the rescued child, Joseph, now has his own room, a school uniform, and has started at a school 15 minutes from his new home. He did very well in his pre-test and has been allowed to start at Junior Secondary Class2, rather than JSOne. Fantsuam has also bought him a mattress and pillow, and Comfort is supervising his food supplies. The best news of all came last Monday when John saw him smile for the first time.
Halfway through this week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting, John Dada was abruptly called away to attend to the tragic and sudden death of a member of his local community. As many of you will realise, John is often referred to as Baba (father) and it is to him that many of this rural community turn at times of crisis.
This week’s particularly tragic event left a newborn baby without a father. At a more appropriate time I hope to update you further about this additional role that John finds himself in, but for now I will detail the online session – which, following some discussion, was continued in John’s absence.
For his part, John had just returned from Abuja where VSO had held a training course on Volunteer Management for its West African Partners. John was able to contribute by acting as a “resource person” for the training. He informed us that a field visit to Fantsuam Foundation was currently being held for the VSO partners from Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Ghana and Cameroon.
ONE team member described this week’s UK-Nigeria meeting as “very thought-provoking”. Well I can certainly concur with that!
The bulk of the session was spent discussing the Knowledge Resource Centre. It was important that the team all shared their vision of what the KRC future might be.
One of the fundamental starting points was for us all to recognise the importance of our own learning journey. This is a “foreign” concept for many, who often see only formal accredited education as having worth or importance.
The group were able to see that the staff at Fantsuam Foundation are in fact incredible role models. All are self-directed learners - each with their own unique and impressive learning journeys. One example is Comfort who attended some initial basic workshops re Microfinance, and has gone on to establish the very successful and sustainable Microfinance programme at Fantsuam in rural Nigeria. She is now regarded as a true expert in this field, able to offer valuable insight and training for others both locally and globally.