Oge Chukwudozie is a Humanitarian Capacity Strengthening Officer for CAFOD in Nigeria. Oge explains how community volunteers play such a vital role in CAFOD’s work to support remote communities.
As the most populous country on the continent, Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”. It is also large geographically, and transport links are poor in the more rural areas. It takes six hours for CAFOD staff to travel by road from Abuja to Omalla in Kogi state, and this is one of the closest areas where we work.
Community volunteers, supported by CAFOD and its partners, play an important role in supporting remote communities across Nigeria. This International Volunteers Day, on December 5th, I want to celebrate the important role that volunteers play in CAFOD’s work across the world, by sharing the stories of some of the wonderful volunteers in Nigeria.
Each year since 2009, World Humanitarian Day has been held on 19 August to mobilise support for people affected by crises around the world and to pay tribute to all those who risk their lives in humanitarian service. Yadviga Clark, CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Officer for the Syria Crisis response, shares her experiences of visiting Syrian refugees that have settled in Lebanon.
Conflict so often affects innocent people – many flee for their lives, families are torn apart and displaced from their homes, children are traumatised and taken out of school, and aid workers risk their lives to care for people caught up in the violence.
Today was the long journey back to the capital city of Niamey. The journey was certainly long but by no means tedious and I keep reminding myself of the privilege of being here and experiencing the life of the people and a place which could not be much further removed from life in Manchester.
The Chair of CAFOD’s Trustees, Bishop John Arnold, is visiting Niger to see our projects, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church.
Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia
Bishop John’s first blog describes his initial impressions; he has been travelling out to see projects over the last two days…
About this project: The community of Kitui in Kenya have spent two years working on a project to re-sculpt their landscape and bring back a sustainable supply of water. This has all been possible thanks to generous supporters in the UK. Our next project is beginning soon – find out more and get involved.
Over the last two years we have planted trees, dug terraces, built dams and learned everything necessary to bring safe water back to the Kitui community.
As we enter the last few weeks of our project, everywhere we look we are greeted by signs of transformation. Our dam and wells are filling, people’s gardens and our community farm are starting to produce harvests, and the landscape is so much greener than just two years ago.
About Hands On: Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects, that are funded directly by supporters. Hands On Kitui is our first project, and although this is coming to an end, our newest project community are in need of support.
Work continues at great pace as we hurry to get the Musosya dam ready for the coming rains. One fantastic piece of news is that our reservoir is now holding water, which had been in the ground following the previous rains. This means that even during dry periods the community here is able to access clean water for their households – a wonderful achievement.
We would also be delighted to take this time to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas. Please do keep Kitui in your thoughts at this joyous time, we have made so much progress thanks to your kindness.
Gabions are wire cages filled with rocks, which sit across tributaries to the reservoir. When it rains, they will reduce the speed of the streams and will trap silt, stopping it running into the reservoir itself.
We are now approaching the final stretch of our exciting project here in Kitui, progress has been fantastic up to this point and work is now firmly focused on the main Musosya dam.
We need to clear all of the silt and debris from the reservoir before any more rains come – it’s a real race against time and everyone is working harder than ever to ensure we are ready in time.
Once the Musosya dam is complete we will begin to see a truly transformed Kitui, and it wouldn’t be happening without your kind support – thanks you so much, please do keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
P.S. If you’re looking for ethical Christmas presents, our range of great World Gifts transform the lives of people living in poverty, as well as giving your loved one a beautiful card to open on Christmas morning.
Progress and project highlights this month
Did you know?
Our new community farm will produce kale, spinach, tomatoes, coriander and onions. We’re building a strong fence around it to keep goats and other animals out!