nikki's blog

From Microfinance to Climate Change

During this week's online UK-Nigeria meeting we were pleased to hear that Comfort has returned from the USA and is now back at Fantsuam Foundation. Comfort has successfully completed her two week course at the Carsey institute of New Hampshire University where she was attending their two week Sustainable Microenterprise and Development programme. Although it had only been two days since her return to Fantsuam she had already been sharing her knowledge with her microfinance team and is busy implementing a new savings scheme for the local woman. This came about because, whilst on the course, Comfort was able to see an solution to a problem that the staff had experienced which had been staring them in the face but it took a trip to American for it to all fall into place -  John Dada described it as being “the A- ha experience!”  John and Comfort went on to explain the situation to us all in more detail:

FF had started building on the Nigerian traditional savings program which we were informed virtually every village woman subscribes to. However, the saving product FF introduced last year was yet to get to this target group. Apparently some of these women will have four different savings groups in their villages, and yet save only one with FF. These village savings groups often run into problems of thefts, fire, fraud etc. Comfort and John realised that FF can spare the women all of that risk and the woman know FF well enough to trust them.

John said that:

First Thursday

This month's First Thursday online meeting turned out to be an introduction and experiment for me in the use and benefits of an EtherPad.

Pamela Mclean has been 'hosting' these meetings on a EtherPad for a few months now. A major benefit is that it is a public forum where people can post during the month at a time which is convenient for them. This means that this format can be more inclusive. 

People can post apologies or contributions before or after the  agreed one hour online real-time typed discussion. For example, Pam had previous had an email from Sam, a regular contributor from Rusinga Island, who explained that it was unlikely that he could get online and join in and told us that:

Releated Project: 

Welcoming new Friends

This week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting differed from the norm as, for once, new participants outnumbered the regulars!

Apologies were received from Frances and Pam - who was traveling and unable to come online - and from Kelechi who was in Abuja. Meanwhile Comfort was still on training in the USA and was unsure if her schedule would allow her to attend - or even if she would wake up in time!

However, John was able to introduce me to two new team members, Yakubu and Emmanuel.

During the meeting Yakubu told us he had only been at Fantsuam Foundation (FF) for a week, but that he had already been “sucked in”. John explained that Yakubu had “hit the ground running” and already had a range of assignments on his plate.

The on-going effects of the Post-Election Violence

Today, during our weekly UK-Nigeria online meeting, John Dada informed us that he had hoped to introduce us to a young man who has a bullet lodged in his eye.

Ajala is one of the victims of Kafanchan's post-Election violence.

Weekly news update from Kafanchan

This week’s online meeting between UK-Nigeria was in three parts:

1. The first part took the format of a series of emails from John Dada which contained staff member updates and the latest information about the Kafanchan Peace Market - together with photos. The photo show the market which was razed to the ground in April during the post-election violence and the emergence of the new market.
The team were sad to learn that a senior trainer had decided to relocate to Abuja but wish him every success in his new job and studies. It was felt by the team that some staff from southern Nigeria may have found the violence so intimidating that they decided they could not stay as this type of religious violence is unusual in the south.
John D. was himself in Abuja where he was planning to attend events of the Global Sickle Cell Day there. The previous year FF had organised a spectacular Sickle Cell Awarness Day but this year had decided against doing so again this year. This is because, as a consequence of the aftermath of the violence, their resources are strained and the staff’s priorities have had to change to accommodate the new demands and needs from their local community.

Rural Realities

I am sad to report that this week’s online meeting between thIe UK and Fantsuam Foundation brought some distressing news. We have long been aware of the type of local community responsibilities that John Dada shoulders, and yet again this became apparent during our latest session.

Women's Microfinance in Nigeria

The attached pdf was sent to Dadamac by John Dada.

It details the resources needed to support Fantsuam's Foundations integrated microfinance programme. The programme has been adversly affected in the wake of April's post-Election violence.

If you are able to help in any way please email nicola.fishman@dadamac.net

Kafanchan Peace Market Traders launched

The weekly online UK-Nigeria meetings have been established in their present format for more than three years. However, following Nigeria’s terrible post-election violence, John this week identified a new and unexpected benefit of our regular sessions - explaining that the Dadamac meetings are “evolving into a balm, a tonic, a forum where Fantsuam Foundation can unburden ...

Getting back to Business

John joined this week’s online UK-Nigeria session from Abuja, where he was due to attend a number of meetings - the most significant of which from our point of view was with the French Embassy. At this, John was to discuss the promised support for Attachab. Meanwhile Kelechi and Chollom joined us from Fantsuam while the UK provided three participants, based in Leeds and London.

We were pleased to hear there are reports of some semblance of normality returning to Kafanchan as people of all faiths were beginning to interact at the old and new market sites.

John informed us that as yet there have been no Government directives on the re-building of the market. Apparently it is not yet seen as a priority. He said the Committee was going to see how best to fit/feed into whatever the Government may eventually choose to do. In the meantime they are trying to meet the needs of their local community.

John also informed us that so far one woman has collected her N30,000 loan towards restarting her business - and that the remaining six beneficiaries will receive theirs when Comfort returns.

These women clients were selected by the field officer. John believes that five are  Christian and the remaining two are Muslim. This reflects the proportion of these religions in FF’s clientele. John also pointed out that each woman trader is in turn supporting at least six family members, including their children, spouse, aged parents etc

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