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Good news from Fantsuam

Two pieces of good news provided the highlight of this week’s UK-Nigeria meeting. The first was that the peer educators project was starting that very day. The second was that officials from the French Embassy - who were visiting Fantsuam Foundation (FF) at the time of last week’s meeting - had agreed to resume funding for the Attachab project.

John Dada
told us that in principle the project has been approved and Fantsuam are now mobilising workers to the site.
He further informed us that the French Embassy had reduced the previously-discussed budget by 20% (this was all put on hold due to the post-election violence) but that they are willing to consider further future funding if the first phase goes well.
The project will consist of two phases: Setting up vegetable/crop/ fishery and road infrastructure and training the farmers.

John said: “We expect the first set of funding by next week. I have started to mobilise masons, carpenters, casual labour, a borehole engineer, and a solar engineer for the site. We will hit the ground running.”
Reassuringly, John told us the Embassy had approached  FF’s funder Partners for Development for advice and reference. Apparently they were satisfied with their findings.

Wednesday also saw the start of the HIV peer educators’ program funded by UNICEF.

Attachab

Despite the UK-Nigeria meeting being less than our usual hour, this didn’t affect the usual flow of quality information between the two countries.
John explained that he needed to leave shortly as Fantsuam Foundation were expecting a delegation from the French Embassy in Abuja. The UK were very pleased to hear this as they had been disappointed to learn previously (in the wake of the sectarian violence in April) the French Embassy had suspended their support for Attachab.
However, recently they called John to say they would like to now reactivate their commitment and so he was meeting with them this morning to decide priorities of the project.
The original agreement was to develop Attachab as a hands-on training permaculture venue.
Following the post-election violence John also hopes to ensure the project addresses helping those who lost properties in the mayhem, and to enable them  to rebuild their food stores. Fantsuam have some experience in this area as demonstrated by their rhumbu project.

John has contacted someone who has trained at Songhai - a permaculture centre of excellence who will advise on this aspect of the project.
The Attachab project is of tremendous importance for us all for Fantsuam aims to replicate and what they know with others. For example, we know of community representatives in Kenya and Tanzania who are keen to improve their farming techniques and who are also willing to pass their knowledge and skillls on to help benefit their communities.

Youths as Peer Educators to stop spread of HIV/ AIDS in Kafanchan

John Dada informed us that: "UNICEF in collaboration with Fantsuam Foundation and the National Youth Service Corps organized a 5-day Peer Education in August 2011 for 120  school youths from the Zipak, Bayanloco, and Ungwa Masara communities. Fantsuam staff members  Emmanuel Katung and Julius Joseph were facilitators.

The workshop trained the youths on the dangers and prevalence of the HIV/AIDS in the target communities and covered the following topics

a.      Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Gender Based Violence

b.      Reproductive Health and Personal Hygiene

c.      Types of sexual Relationships

d.      Negotiation assertiveness and sexuality

e.      STIs, HIV and AIDS

These newly trained peer educators will work under Fantsuam supervision for the next 12 months during which time, each of them is required to train 6 other youths.

This training follows on an earlier capacity building training that Fantsuam Foundation staff had attended in Zaria from 29th Nov to 01st Dec, 2010. At this training the team were taken through the development of communication strategy for HIV/AIDS targeting Out of School Youths, OSY. The Fantsuam team that attended this training comprised Julius Joseph, Musa Kajang and Nicholas Eyomu. The emphasis was on Minimum Prevention Package (MPP) that would convey  positive messages through Drama, Sports, Radio programs, IEC materials, and Games. The team on their return undertook a baseline survey of the target communities.

Handwashing Day!

Handwashing and libraries were two of the subjects up for discussion during this week’s online UK-Nigeria meeting. John Dada informed us that Global Handwashing Day falls on 15th October. A Fantsuam team member was in Kaduna to discuss Fantsuam Foundation’s participation.
John said: “We would like to raise awareness in the local schools on basic handwashing, but the schools have no running water, and some have no toilets.
“We are thinking of installing some basic but affordable hand-washing stations in a few of the schools. It’s a small step, but in the right direction.”
John explained that a good first step would be the siting of a water bottle hanging from a string, so that it tips easily for washing one's hands.

In typical John Dada and Fantsuam Foundation fashion - where there is always the drive to share and replicate - John suggested that on the global Handwashing day that it would be good to make Fola at the Ago-Are Dadamac outpost aware of this global initiative so that they too could join in the day. From this discussion came the firming up of the idea of linking Fola’s Ago-Are children with those at Fantsuam Foundation’s children’s computer club.
John said: “We are also keen to start a School Radio Program where kids will hear themselves discussing issues with other kids.
“The Children's Radio idea is nothing new. When I was in the Primary school, we used to have one lesson period during the week, when the head teacher brings a radio to our class and we all cluster around it to listen to some lessons.

Phones For Peace

The use and misuse of mobile phones provided a major talking point for this week’s UK-Nigeria meeting. In the aftermath of April’s Post-Election violence, John Dada reported his concerns that rumours and misinformation via mobile phones are still rife. But he assured us that local people are now slowly realising they should not panic or overreact.

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