This week’s online meeting between the UK and Fantsuam in rural Nigeria was as dynamic and wide ranging as ever.
We discussed practical ways of helping Fola, a trusted individual in the Dadamac network who hopes to get his community at Ago-Are online. Last week we told how within a week we had devised a way to help him achieve his vision - not only had he received his money but he had brought his laptop and had already sent us photos.
It was agreed during the meeting that John Dada would arranged to advance Fola additional funds, via Fantsuam Foundation’s microfinance bank.The extra money is to enable him to buy an inverter. The tariff that Fola is on means that he can now go online between 9pm and 6am and he is responsible for this new Dadamac outpost at Ago-Are.
As John quipped: “Talk about North/South linkage, Dadamac is it!
John told us that during the week he had had a visit from the American Embassy’s new officer in charge of Human Rights from the American Embassy to follow up on FF's efforts following the post-election violence. It is hoped that the Embassy will help Fantsuam’s Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Team to actualise it's medium and long term goals of rehabilitation and reintegration of the various communities - with a major emphasis on services for women and children in post-conflict situations.
Related to the post-election conflict Emma told us about a Save the Children workshop in Kaduna that he had attended. It was about how to support traumatised children caught up in conflicts. Apparently the Emergency Support team should have helped ferry the wounded, look after the vulnerable elderly and children - tasks that FF assumed and which severely stretched the meagre facilities at Fantsuam Foundation. Emma informed us that the Government through NEMA is suppose to coordinate the emergency response at the national level while the State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA) takes charge at the state level. The challenge is for them to co-ordinate agencies involved in emergencies rather than attempt to do the job themselves. It was felt that they would be more effective if they concentrated on the vital role of co-ordinating all the agencies and assigning them roles base on their expertise, e.g. the Red Cross care of the wounded, Civil Defence provides security at the Internally Displaced persons Camp etc
As Emma commented: “If NEMA and SEMA can coordinate properly there will be no duplication of functions and unnecessary competition amongst agencies who all want to fly their flags “
As well as overseeing the loan to Fola Comfort informed us that there are now 34 microfinance clients who (all Kafanchan Peace Market traders) have now received grants of 5,000 Naira. The group consists of 4 men, 30 women. The ratio of Muslims: Christians being 11:33 .
The Kafanchan Peace Market Traders are signing up for the new Savings for Change Scheme. When the market place was burnt to the ground during the recent troubles many traders lost all their savings.
Emma has been asked to take over the running the HIV department. His department probably has the highest rate of emergencies and changing situations at Fantsuam eg child rescue, home based care incidences etc.
Currently Emma is overseeing the distribution of aid to one thousand children in Kafanchan. The items (uniforms, text books, soaps, omo, buckets, cloths etc) have been donated by Save The Children UK .
There was mixed news about the new Sickle Cell Laboratory. The new lab needs a water supply. The community in which the lab is located is called Zipak and John really wants to sink a solar powered bore hole but needs to raise £12,000. As well as providing water for the lab and for the local community the bore hole could also be a shared facility with a proposed plastic waste factory located in same area. This proposal reached the final stages for Comic Relief funding last year and it is hoped that the team will re-apply shortly.
The Michigan State University has agreed to fund the consumables, chemicals of the lab and staff salaries for 2 years but they do not give funding for infrastructure.
Finding the funds for this bore hole will be a real challenge.
However, there was welcome news that the Kaduna State Government Health Department has just signed Ethical Approval for the Project. The Government approval is Fantsuam Foundation’s seal of authenticity. The projects will be a research "Community Acquired Bacteremia in NIgerian Children - with special emphasis on sickle cell"
One of the main worries and causes of mortality / morbidity in sickle cell sufferers is infection, and so far there has not been evidence-based treatment regime.
All children who are enrolled in this study will get free treatments and follow up.