On Becoming a Man: The Fundraiser’s Diary – Part 1

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Lowell Lundstrum

Exactly a month ago today, it was my birthday and I enjoyed accolades and well wishes from friends and fans – even though I am far from being a celebrity. I appreciate all the kind words, prayers, FB messages, twitter shout-outs, and much more. God bless you all! Today’s post is an attempt to tap the left side left of my chest and whisper to self, “All izz vell!

At the beginning of March 2012, I wrote: “Over-analysis often leads to inertia, and inertia could send your lofty, achievable dreams to an early grave. Take charge today; take one more progressive step towards your destination. Expand your thinking and leave your comfort zone. Grab some courage.” That particular blog post was inspired by a personal struggle – in fact, it was primarily a note to self. But according to a popular saying: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Theory is easy. Let’s get practical!

Remember, I mentioned a project I had been working on for a while? If you have been to some of the interiors of Nigeria, as much as you might enjoy abundance of nature’s gifts, food and the likes, the lack of certain infrastructure soon makes you miss the urban comfort. I discovered a remote community in the Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State last January, during an Evangelism outreach as a member of the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship. We did as much as we could. Beyond preaching, we gave relief materials, provided medical services, and engaged in social activities like bathing the kids, cutting their hair, plaiting the women and girls’ hair, among other things. The encounter stirred up something more in our hearts and some members decided to return sometime later to attempt sustainable community development projects. Two people have built a block of three classrooms each, but much more is still needed to bring required attention to this community that lacks electricity.

Since February 2012, when I started making findings and eventually decided on how I could give in tangible ways, it has been an experience. I have been involved in raising awareness for charity in the past, even here on BellaNaija.com, but I must say I commend the efforts of those who go out of their way to speak for people who need a voice to plead their cause. Some progress is being made in my bid to make sure a primary health centre is established in the Nongov community of Buruku Local Government Area, where there is a dire need for such infrastructure. Here are some of my lessons, albeit funny.
Firstly, you may be too busy to write a beautiful, perfect prose that would move the readers enough to give. I tell you, ‘begging’ for money is one of the hardest things you could do on earth! In the process advocating, ‘begging’ for money, paying regular visits to the project site, follow-up on letters, attending meetings, and conducting further research, there is obviously not much time left for writing such prose!

Continue reading here: On Becoming a Man: The Fundraiser’s Diary – Part 1

The Nongov Primary Health Centre Project – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Today, as I head to the project site, I have taken time to respond to some often asked questions. There is still a big need for funds to make sure the deadlines on the project timeline are met. I appreciate every tweet, retweet, other forms of sharing as well as actual donations.
Here are answers to the FAQs:
  • How do you plan to get nurses and community health workers to offer services consistently?

Accommodation and monthly allowance would be provided for the nurses whilst the community health workers would be given monthly stipends and/or some other incentives

  • Where do the people seek health care presently?

Most people take herbs as they cannot afford to go to the hospital. Even those who can afford basic medication are discouraged by the distance to the nearest primary health centre at Tofi, 9km from Nongov.

  • Is it culturally acceptable for women to deliver in a hospital?

Yes, it is. Women are allowed to deliver in the hospital, but either they cannot afford it, or they do not have the means of transportation.

  • Who would be responsible for providing equipment for the centre?

The Benue State Ministry of Health would be responsible for equipping centre.

  • How motivated is the government to ensure drug supply?
  • Is there electricity for simple things like vaccines?

The community is currently not electrified, but provision is being made in the budget for a power generator for regular power supply.

  • Is the 10,000 population true – is this the whole community or each of the smaller hamlets which make up the community?

It is the whole community, comprising several smaller hamlets/villages.

  • How would the potential community health workers be selected?

Announcements will be made at community and religious meetings across the various hamlets/villages calling for people with varied experiences as midwives, health technologists and health educators to apply/indicate interest to be screen for a shortlist of ten (10) most qualified candidates.

  • What will be the roles of the community health workers?

They would support the doctors and nurses in community health education and house-to-house visits and sensitization/enlightenment.

  • How would really sick people be referred and transported to a bigger facility that can handle such cases?

After the clinic has been established, a case would be made for the donation of a vehicle to the clinic.

  • Who would manage the primary health centre?

The resident medical doctor would manage the health centre, with the supervision of a hospital management board, of which he would be a key member.

  • What measures would be/are being taken to ensure that the project actually meets health needs?

A hospital management board is being constituted to ensure lasting relationship with the government, development agencies and all relevant agencies.

  • Where, how and for how long would the community health workers be trained?

The community health workers would be trained with the health centre’s equipment and subsequent advanced trainings may hold outside the community in partnership with the state ministry of health and other relevant bodies.

  • What are the long-term plans for basic, essential drugs? Will it cover immunization needs?

An affordable health insurance scheme is being considered in partnership with the government and a major pharmaceutical company which would ensure regular/constant drug supply.

  • Can training be conducted like halfway into the project as well as retraining such that all is ready and set to go at the commissioning of the facility?

Yes, it can. However, the current plan is to conduct the training after equipping the centre.

  • What other bodies can be collaborated with apart from the local government authorities, e.g. NACA; are there NGOs in the area who could be of help?

Yes. Further options are being explored in order to give the community people the best partnership and as much opportunities as possible. CONTACT DETAILS: For further enquiries concerning the project, kindly call 0803 335 4965 or0802 582 0901, or send an e-mail to gbengaawomodu@gmail.com.

DONATIONS & FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE PROJECT: Through this medium, I solicit financial support and otherwise from everyone who shares in the ideals of this project. Financial support/donations can be paid into the account below. Each donation will be acknowledged and documentation made available at the end of the project, for transparency and easy tracking.

Account Name: AWOMODU Olugbenga Akinsanya

Bank: Ecobank

Account Number: 0061802372

Kindly help share this post within your networks, on and off the social media. Thanks!

**For further details about the project, click to download a PDF copy of  The Nongov Community Primary Health Centre Project_ May 2012_ final_ by Gbenga Awomodu.

Introducing the Nongov Development Project – Let’s Change the World, One Community at a Time!

Today, I introduce a project I have been working on for a while now for which I need as much support as I can get to actualize and bring succor to the target beneficiaries. It involves the establishment of a primary health centre in the short-to-middle term, while hopefully in the long term, people of the community would have structures in place to grant them opportunities to earn enough to drive further sustainable development and elevate their socio-economic status and general wellbeing.

PROJECT TITLE: Establishment of a Primary Health Centre at Nongov community, Buruku L.G.A., Benue State

PROJECT GOALS & OBJECTIVES: In the short term, the following goals are being targeted: 1. Create awareness about healthy living and hygienic practices, and provide medical/health supplies for the people of Nongov Village, in Buruku L.G.A., Benue State 2. Mobilise community and external support to build a 10-room primary health centre in Nongov Village, Buruku L.G.A., Benue State 3. Equip the primary health centre with relevant furniture, health education aids, and laboratory items/kits 4. Train ten (10) local community health workers to support specialist/medical staff in administering basic health education and treatment, preventing and controlling locally endemic diseases, and treatment of common diseases using appropriate technology 5. Facilitate two community dialogue and value reorientation sessions with the Nongov Community people on the MDGs and sustainability of the health centre project 6. Constitute a hospital management board which would comprise some of the respected and trusted youth leaders of the community, the resident medical doctor, a local government health official, as well as a state ministry of health official who would ensure proper management and maintenance of the health centre

In view of middle to long term projections for sustainability of the project, the following objective would also be considered:

1. Establish a community trust fund which would be used to raise funds from the community, private donors, government and international agencies for sustainable development in the community 2. Facilitate an insurance scheme to enable community members, who are largely farmers, to be fully involved in committing financially to the growth and sustainability of the primary health programme/project, especially in sustaining drug supply 3. Provide an ambulance for emergency transfer of patients with major health challenges to the nearest specialist hospital for proper care/treatment/surgery

PROJECT BENEFICIARIES: The primary beneficiaries of this project are the residents of Nongov Village in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE NONGOV COMMUNITY: Nongov [pronounced ˡNun-goo] is an interior community in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State, about 150km from Makurdi, the state capital. Located at least 6 kilometres from the main road and under the Mbaade Local Council Ward, the Nongov kindred comprise approximately 10,000 adults and children. The nearest primary health centre is in Tofi, nine (9) kilometres away from Nongov, whilst the nearest health post at Mbatera, which is now dilapidated, was built in 1991 and is over three kilometres away from the village. Grossly understaffed (it has not more than three experienced staff on duty), bereft of required drugs and other medication, and located across a river, the old health centre is not easily accessible to the villagers. It is also worthy of note that there is no electrification in the community, hence the need for the proposed health centre to be powered by a power generating set, pending when the community becomes electrified. The major occupation of the people is farming.

WHY CARRY OUT THIS PROJECT IN NONGOV? 1. The World Health Organisation states that the nearest health centre to a community should not be located more than three (3) kilometres away. This condition is not being met in Nongov Village. 2. Nongov Village is not easily accessible by vehicles as some parts of the uneven road are ridden with gullies and small rocks which can easily damage vehicles plying the route; these make it difficult for the movement of people, especially during the rainy season. 3. The capacity of the nearest health post is grossly inadequate in responding to the basic health needs of the people of Nongov, considering the population of over 10,000 people. 4. Women in Nongov, including the wives of the chiefs, still give birth on banana leaves, a rather unhealthy practice that endangers the lives of women and their would-be offspring. (It is culturally acceptable for the women to give birth in hospitals.) 5. Malaria, Hepatitis, acute dysentery, ringworm, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and HIV/AIDS are some of the most common health conditions in the locality. This calls for urgent attention.

BENEFITS OF PROJECT TO THE HOST COMMUNITY: Here are some of the potential benefits of carrying out the project: 1. Marked improvement in healthy practices and easy access to affordable health care by the people of Nongov Village 2. Value-reorientation of the people towards wholesome living through advocacy, trainings and sensitization 3. Reduction of child mortality 4. Improved maternal health 5. Control of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other related diseases 6. Development of a global partnership for development 7. Employment of the local labour force in the construction projects/tasks, thereby creating short-term employment for the community people 8. Community participation and ownership of the project: the people would develop a sense of commitment and ownership in the achievement of the millennium development goals in their locality 9. Further development: it is also hoped that this project would bring more attention to the host community, and this would attract more attention from the government as well as donors and volunteers for further developmental work in the community

PROJECT PARTNERS: Talks are in progress with the following parties to support the project, even beyond completion of this first phase – i.e., the establishment.

The Nongov Community will help in o Mobilisation of the indigenes and residents for community-wide awareness outreach to mark the World Health Day, as well as dialogues with the community’s elders and youth leaders in establishing the primary health centre o Maintenance of the centre and accommodation of its staff, both from NYSC and the Ministry of Health

The Benue State Ministry of Health is being approached to support by o Equipping the primary health centre with all necessary medical equipment and drugs o Staffing the centre with a medical doctor (who would manage the centre), a trained nurse, and a pharmacist o Providing a vehicle and two of its staff (the head of births and an health educator) for sensitization programme to mark the World Health Day 2012 at Nongov Village

National Youth Service Corps, Benue State o Posting of Youth Corps members: a doctor, a pharmacist, a nurse and peer educator trainers on completion of the project, for sustainability and effective service provision in the community

Individual and corporate project sponsors o Provision of funds and other materials for building project and borehole construction o Awareness creation and support in fund raising drives for the project

SOURCES OF FUNDS FOR PROJECT These projects will be funded through donations and support by members of the community, the Benue State Ministry of Health, Makurdi, and as many people in my networks who share the ideals of this initiative

DURATION OF PROJECT: The first phase of this Project is expected to span a period of thirteen weeks, beginning from Monday, February 27th, 2012 (consultations and proposal submission) and ending in the week of Monday, May 28th, 2012.

CONTACT DETAILS: For further enquiries concerning the project, kindly call 0803 335 4965 or 0802 582 0901, or send an e-mail to gbengaawomodu@gmail.com.

DONATIONS & FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE PROJECT: Through this medium, I solicit financial support and otherwise from everyone who shares in the ideals of this project. Considering the short timeline for the first phase, financial support/donations can be paid into the account below. Please send an e-mail to gbengaawomodu@gmail.com and/or an SMS to 08033354965 or 08025820901 with the payment details for confirmation and proper records, as each donation will be acknowledged and documentation made available at the end of the project, for transparency and easy tracking.

Account Name: AWOMODU Olugbenga Akinsanya

Bank: Ecobank

Account Number: 0061802372

Kindly help share this post within your networks, on and off the social media. Thanks!

**For further details about the project, click to download a PDF copy of The Nongov Community Primary Health Centre Project_ May 2012_ final_ by Gbenga Awomodu.

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Gbenga Awomodu is a Batch B (2011/2012) NYSC member serving at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Makurdi, Benue State. Also an editorial assistant with BellNaija.com, Africa’s foremost fashion, entertainment and lifestyle blog, where he interviews some of Nigeria’s best young minds, writes a bi-monthly column “On Becoming a Man” and other random posts, he has served as the transitional Music Director of the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship, Benue State Chapter, and is passionate about driving positive change through advocacy and implementation of social development projects. In June 2007, he assessed sixteen partner organisations in four Northern States – Nasarawa, Bauchi, Borno and Kaduna – working on the David & Lucille Packard Foundation sponsored Expanded Access to Sexuality Education (EASE) Project in North-Eastern Nigeria. He multitasked, interviewing principal officers, staff and beneficiaries, taking snapshots, writing a story on each organisation visited, amongst other related tasks.