Volunteer for social good

I recently came across a blog post by a young British lady who decided to volunteer in a northern Nigeria village. She was on a gap year and thought spending time helping rural families could be rewarding.

Her journey during the three months period was full of adventure – learning, growing and participating in lending hands to others. Her contribution was primarily to help educate on better farming techniques. She was with a group.

She detailed her journey on her blog – very inspiring.

After reading the entry, I wondered what these young people see to make them want to volunteer in a place like Nigeria that Nigerians that are a bit better off do not see.

Dynamics of Nigeria people is vast, so in general one hears about how much wealth Nigeria has, on the other we learn that more than half of us live in abject poverty.

Growing up in rural Nigeria, I don’t particularly grew up thinking I had the most difficult life, because most people around me are just very much the same – Food, clothing and shelter more or less taking care of and on top most children in my region stay in school – quality of education is another topic.

It is always intriguing chatting with people from different parts of Nigeria, especially people in rural areas, it helps to better understand different levels of challenge people face to survive.

Not so long ago, my niece went to a three-day outreach program as part of her National Youth Service. It was in a remote village of Jos.

On the trip they brought along used clothing mainly Youth Corpers old uniforms, then medicines and other supplies. Medicines and supplies provided  by the state government.

Villagers gathered in the only primary school to collect these give-aways, even fighting over the used cloths. Medical trainees testing and diagnosing illness with lots of people being referred to the teaching hospital for immediate help.

People in this village are primarily farmers and most work from hand to mouth.

Tola told this story as I was really interested, I wanted to know more what drove young Brits to wanting to lend hands to Nigeria rural poor.

So I asked Tola to compare this village in Jos with the villages she has visited in southwest. She thinks the situation there was a lot worse in terms of health and basic needs.

There seems to be lots of similarities in the rural areas but to not extent that people can be so vulnerable and queue for free medicines like paracetamol and free food?  – not good.

How long would volunteers really help situation where basic needs become luxury?

Each of our states get allocations for various reasons which include maintenance of our roads for ease of business transactions, schools and probably water too for their local areas – what are these allocations spent on?

Not too surprising to find that the formal governor of this state only a few years ago was arrested in London with large sum of money and later impeached for defrauding his state of $9m – the rest is history as he was not prosecuted while in the office.

I hope for a day that every public officials in Nigeria is made to give accounts of what they did with their allocation not just on paper but on ground.



Categories: Nigeria, Politics

Tags: ,

25 replies

  1. Your sister couldn’t be more correct about the poor state of things in northern Nigeria. I will permit myself the luxury of being just a northern Nigerian this once. I weep for the poorly informed impression must Nigerians south of us think about being worse off than us. The fact is most northern Nigerians are worse off than other Nigerians and we are honestly to blame for it. Why? We think the world of Religion & our leaders, and less of person & our individual abilities to excel, that is why northern Nigerians beg the most.

    It is a pathetic situations more so because it is predominantly self induced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YasNiger, thank you for your contribution. Forgive my ignorant question (you know I’m overseas), but surely those who view those who beg can see that is getting one nowhere, so why would anyone then want to follow that path?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Silly isn’t it? The honest answer is “Because it is encouraged by those who gain from it.”

        Illiterate parents are encouraged by traditional & religious leaders to litter the world with more children than they can take care of…. etc

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Oga Yas.

      A friend visited Dubai last year and said he could not believe Muslims are capable of such amazing development – Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc are Muslim countries too.

      So what is our problem?

      Like

      • FK has your friend ever left the shores of Nigeria before? Why would anyone come out with such astonishment? In bygone times Muslim civilisations were very advanced. Today Turkey and Malaysia are quite developed. Even Iran with all the sanctions pitted against it, and prolongued wars with Iraq, is more developed than Nigeria.
        If foreigners had been saying that about black people of Africans, they would be branded as racist. The fact is that sub-Saharan Africa has not kept up with the rest of the progressive world, our nations are characterised by strife and hardship. Maybe your friend doesn’t know but Africa is considered the most backward region in the world, and despite all the wealth laid at their feet Africans in general remain poor today, Nigeria is no exception.

        With the possible exception of Libya, North Africa is widely regarded as being more developed, despite a shortage of agricultural land and a lack of rainfall.

        I think you nailed it, “what is our problem”? This is a key question.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very likely to be his first time out of the country but that enough isn’t excuse for his ignorance – he is a Pharmacist and a Senior pastor, one would think he should know better, abi?

          I read somewhere that a governor or Sultan of Sokoto (can’t remember which one) want to make history compulsory in schools.
          About time I said, maybe if children learn about Nigeria, they likely would learn about the world around them too and perhaps realise others countries take the same religion seriously just as them and at the same time are responsible citizens.

          Like

          • The idea about teaching history (accurate and correct history) would be a good idea, as Nigerians are very heavily focused on the past, and the place of Nigeria in the world. This will give them some insight on how their lives have been shaped by outside events, hopefully they will reflect on this information and exercise sensible behaviour as you noted.

            Liked by 1 person

      • it is Stupidity in the guise of misinformed principles….. Even the literate ones still think it is sound to have lots of wives & have countless of kids for the rest of the world to provide for….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Would you believe that even villages close to the FCT are as bad as that if not worse? We have a very long way to go and it is high time we started helping ourselves rather than waiting for redundant government to wake up from their slumber. Who knows when that day will come?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do believe that my sister! I don’t even think any of our major cities are more than 20km away from the next village.

      No, government alone can’t do anything for us, they have never. However, there are basics infrastructures that govt must help with. Quality public schools for example (even if people have to pay), Roads to foster economic transactions – these are beyond what individual village dwellers could embark on.

      In the long run, its win-win, abi?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As Nigerians, we need to change our mindset and realize that it should not be grabbing as much as we can all the time but giving back as well. Taking care of others used to be our culture in the olden days but what about now? Apart from those in government and in authority, everybody wants to rip every other person off, the telecom industry, banking, virtually every sector of the economy. A change in mindset is what we need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true Mama. What about now? – Greed.

      On the industry – I suppose the purpose of business is to make profit and lots of it.

      That’s true about the industries ripping consumers off, they will not listen to you or I hence there is govt body to fight on our behalf – no industry will want to go out of their way to do what is moral, it doesn’t even happen in developed world let alone in ours where everyone is a law maker.

      Industries were meant to act within the law of the country they operate in, if law is enforced, we will see different attitude in the way these guys relate to their consumers, I bet someone is in charge of fair pricing system only that they can’t be bothered to listen to consumers.

      Like

  4. Rural rugged evangelism. That’s what your niece attended. I was a part of one during my service year too in benue and I must tell younsome people need help in a massive scale. The poverty in some parts of Nigeria is alarming. Still I have noticed that some of the major determining factors include the ability of a people to embrace industry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, that’s what’s called, eh? Thank you!

      Hearing different news about level of poverty, my imagination is limited to the lives of rural SW – it is the downward spiral of public education that bothers me most as I know people can survive somehow if that is taken care of.

      But to hear that some folks live in worse condition is very sad.

      Industry in the area will help but not without govt intervention to develop infrastructure in the first instance.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. HI Fola,
    I think that when people volunteer it may be part adventure to see another part of the world as well as a giving back to society. If they can provide some education or inspiration I would think that both parties would benefit.
    It is hard to find meaning in ones life sometimes, and this time, in another country, as a volunteer, may provide that.
    Leslie

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The phenomenon of young Brits going to less desirable places is something like a tradition, they are very idealistic and full of good intentions. Contrast this with Nigerians who love to talk endlessly about ‘vast wealth’, which to be honest by world standards isn’t huge, but to the minds of Nigerians is immense. If outsiders were to believe ‘this propaganda’ then no one would ever volunteer or give a helping hand.

    There are signs of hope, people like Senator Murray-Bruce are saying that Nigeria should come clean and drop the act that they are “rich and mighty”, and concentrate on basics.

    I’m glad to see you raising questions, as to what former governor Modi Sherrif do with money allocated to Borno state by Abuja? This part of the problem, the states in general are lethargic and are not utilising their resources intelligently, they either go for something that yields money quickly but is not sustainable (eg gold mining in Zamfara) or they do nothing and wait for their slice of the ‘national pie’.

    I think the standard of governance in Nigeria really needs to be improved, why would there be such stark differences between life in Western region and elsewhere in rural Nigeria? Accountability and transparency are vital in this respect. Why are such unsuitable people allowed to remain in state governments? Neglecting segments of the population, will lead to instability we can see that with the rise of Boko Haram in Borno state.

    If nothing is done then the oil will run out, or demand will drop and all the hot air that Nigerians like to make about their greatness, will seem nothing more than fanciful talk. We hope that Nigerians don’t blow the numerous opportunities they have been given.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks jco.

      You are right, something has to change. The stark difference of lifestyle is something that must bother everyone. The Borno one you mentioned just make ones skin crawl – doesnt it?And despite the poverty in the region you have officials in private jet – why do we allow this for so long?

      I am really enjoying the questions being raised by Senator Bruce-Murray daily, none of these were new, but to have someone within raising them gives hope that soon we will see significant change from within.

      Like

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