UID PROJECTS in AFRICA

Promoting Education and Raising Awareness

This initiative is a three-part project with the aim of reaching children, young adults, and youth in communities, to raise awareness on different topics, provide practical training to benefit their communities. We also aim to raise awareness about conflict and conflict-resolution methods to three age groups, specifically about dangers of irregular migration and safe pathways for migration, about volunteering as a powerful tool for community development, as well as provide support to create and implement local volunteer projects.

Project 1

Where: Aba, Abia State in South-Eastern Nigeria

Who: 80 individuals ranging from 12 – 20 years old 

What: to raise awareness and educate the young-adults on three main topics: volunteering as a tool for sustainable community development/empowerment, and dangers of irregular migration/safe-migration pathways and on conflict resolution methods

In addition, we created one group task, one individual assignment, and games/puzzles which fit into the overall theme of educating and raising awareness. Our group's task was a conflict resolution task focused on teaching the young-adults how to work in groups effectively, as well as identify and encourage those who have natural leadership skills, understanding, and utilizing conflict resolution methods. The individual task focused on helping them to identify up to two problems in their community and attempting to solve one of them by suggesting solutions.

Being able to understand how to settle issues amicably, especially when it is ethnically motivated and how such can lead to armed conflict was fascinating for them, including the adult volunteers who worked with them. For the awareness aspect, volunteering as a tool for community development, won the hearts of the children. We used some videos that could speak to them at their level, as well as shared personal stories, including the local volunteers who were present with us. The skills acquisition aspect was the last part of the young-adults’ project and the participants expressed so much joy for this all-inclusive project. They were so happy to have learnt new skills and appreciated the fact that some of them who demonstrated great talents were opportune to go with left-over materials to practice what they learnt at home. For some of them, this wasn’t only a personal enrichment exercise, but something they will like to teach their family members to commercialize it and help pay for their education and needs, especially during the holidays. Unlike other developed countries where high schoolers may undergo a paid internship or work at different outlets to save up, Nigeria is far from such arrangements for the majority of school children, hence acquiring a skill such as the ones we taught them during this project, will be instrumental in impacting their lives. We only hope to build on this.

Project 2

Where: Aba, Abia State in South-Eastern Nigeria at a local Christian secondary school 

Who: 50 participants of 20 years old and above 

What: a leadership-themed project, focused on identifying and building leadership skills of the participants

While they worked on the group tasks, we gave the presentations on illegal migration, which was followed by a presentation and discussion on volunteering. We spent more time on the presentation on the dangers of illegal migration because of how important this topic was to the youth. Calling it ‘volunteering’ was necessary to drive home our point, that organized volunteering or targeted individual volunteering are valuable tools that can transform a community. The participants felt so empowered as they shared the different ways they have volunteered and their desire to continue, even in a more organized way. UID’s international and local volunteers carried out the project by setting up individual and group tasks, as well as a session on careers and CV and resume writing. Among the feedback received from the participants was that their perception of migration had changed merely through their participation in the project. Participants were also surprised how engaging they found the CV and resume writing session to be, particularly how well they were able to describe their experiences on paper. we opened the floor for three people to pitch their entrepreneurial plans or ideas, and tell us the potential cost needed to get started with this idea. We did this because part of the project fund was dedicated to helping one or two people in their entrepreneurial ventures (e.g. setting up small businesses), provided they commit to investing into at least one person from the community, by transferring skills to such a person or assisting such a person with setting up an enterprise at a later time. A good number of participants requested more information
on IT skills, including web-designing and how to commercialize one’s IT skills.

Project 3

Where: Amainyi Ukwu, Ihite Uboma Local Government in South-Eastern Nigeria

Who: 200 participants of 6 – 11 years old

What: aimed at raising awareness on conflicts and conflict resolution

Activities were held through discussions, games and puzzles, and drawing sessions. For this project, a large portion of the donations received from our sponsors was used to purchase school supplies that were gifted to the children, these included school bags, stationery, and school shoes. Despite the tender age of the children, many expressed their appreciation, not only for the school supplies received but for the project as a whole. Materials transported included 100 school bags, over 100 school sandals, 100 different types of stationery (including pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners etc), school stockings, 100 customized books (with Haella Stichting and UID logo), various scientific materials and more. We translated the conflict resolution task into Igbo language as some of the children in the rural areas did not have high-level English language skills that would allow them to effectively participate in these projects. Our volunteers were also able to speak in both languages whenever needed. 

“Arise, O compatriots Nigeria's call obey to serve our fatherland

with love and strength and faith. The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain,
to serve with heart and might

one nation bound in freedom
Peace and unity.

O God of creation, direct our noble cause

Guide thou our leaders right Help our youth the truth to know In love and honesty to grow And living just and true

Great lofty heights attain To build a nation where peace

And justice reign”

- Nigerian National Anthem 

In total, for all 3 sub-projects in 2019, approximately 320 participants took part in the respective projects. 40 of UID’s international and local volunteers played an active role in ensuring that the projects were carried out smoothly.

 

This year, we hope to be able to bring back the Education and Awareness Project in Nigeria to reach out to more children and members of the youth. Based on our previous experience, despite specifying a target quantity of participants, due to the close-knit nature of the communities, our target is likely to be greatly exceeded. 

As we are targeting a larger group of participants this year from the various age groups, we have decided to crowdfund for donations in order to be able to source for materials needed throughout the project and provide school supplies. From the feedback we received last year, we are certain that a project such as this will be extremely beneficial to rural communities in Nigeria. Individuals like Fumi from the Shamjerert Schools in Nigeria with big dreams and ambitions benefit from our project to keep them informed and motivated to learn. Though the expansion of the project is in the pipeline, for now, we are relying on your help to bring this project to these communities again.

Copyright 2020 Unity In Diversity
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