We are raising funds for the Coterie of Ibaji youths. A charity registered with the government of Nigeria and based in the Ibaji Local Government area. It is a trusted charity and has been providing support to the people in the area.
Ibaji is a local government area in Kogi State, Nigeria with a population of 205,000 residents. It is estimated that there are approximately 80,000 young adults and 70,000 children of school age. It is an area with a rich, historic culture dating back to 1515.
In 2012 NEMA who is the National Emergency Management Agency in Nigeria reported that over 89,500 people were affected by the flood that ravaged Ibaji. Many lost their lives, properties and some escaping with serious injuries. Reports from government and non-governmental agencies claim that fewer lives would have been lost if appropriate health care was available. The picture below shows the flood from 2020.
Over recent years, there have been countless communal conflicts. Action on Armed Violence (AAV) reported that Kogi State is one of the three worst-affected regions in the country. Stating that poverty, under development and weak governance, is key drivers of these conflicts. More than 2,000 residents of Ibaji have lost their lives in the last 5 years owing to conflicts resulting from land, money and governmental disputes.
Education is no better. 70,000 children of school age in the Ibaji area only have a handful of poorly regulated, monitored, supervised and operated schools. Buildings are dilapidated, no water supply, understaffed, underfunded academic activities etc. Children sometimes have to walk tens of miles every day to school and back. Many on returning will take on other household responsibilities to support their parents which leaves no time for them to live and experience life as a child. This leads to child marriages, illiteracy due to drop-outs and many in a bid to escape to the big cities face the possibilities of ending up in prostitution/modern slavery. Young people see their dreams, aspirations and goals cut short at a tender age with no option but a life of pain, suffering, poverty and hardship without hope.
Health facilities are even worse. There are no clinics, hospitals or medical facilities for residents to receive care. All those requiring medical assistants have to travel to the big cities/towns and pay astronomical fees when compared to the meagre income they make from local farming.
So building a Multi-purpose Community Centre provides the opportunity to offer medical support, education, training and a place where conflicts can be discussed and resolved peacefully. The project is supported by the communities in Ibaji which would be one of the first times the area is coming together to achieve one major goal. So far, the organisation I am raising funds for having been able to organise one-off medical events in response to the pandemic and other medical needs.
New qualified Medical doctors and nurses serving the country (NYSC) will be deployed to work from this centre to provide medical care & advice which would help reduce mortality rates. This would help reduce the cost making it sustainable for the area. Activities such as vaccinations, anti-natal sessions and others would be available to residents. Children will have the opportunity to participate in activities that help build their skills for the modern world. The centre will organise training opportunities for the young men and women to improve their knowledge of opportunities available to them e.g. New Farming techniques, Government-funded agricultural schemes, Use of IT equipment and basic literacy/numeracy skills. In times of flooding, the centre can be used as a camp for those affected thereby saving lives.
This project is bound to make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of children, young adults, parents and even those unborn. It will set a mark in history as the beginning of development and creation of opportunities for the marginalised people of the Ibaji Local Government area and your contribution will go a long way in achieving this.