During our ICT (In Country Training) we were briefed on many aspects of life in Nigeria and given a background to the development context. I had done some research before my placement as this a key part of the preparation that are expected to do and indeed anyone going to live in a new country would want to do. Some of the information wasn’t new to me but some of it was frankly quite startling. Below is a small fact file of some of this information so you can see the sheer volume of development issues that Nigeria is facing:
· Nigeria has a population of approximately 158 million people and is classed as a middle income country but is placed on the HDI at 158/177 countries
· More than 100 million people live on less than $1 a day
· 1/5 of Africa’s population live in Nigeria
· 1/4 of Africa’s extreme poor live in Nigeria
· 10% of the world’s children that are not in school are living in Nigeria
· Nigeria has 25% of the global malarial cases
· Nigeria has the third largest number of people living with HIV and AIDS
It’s quite daunting at the start of a placement to think you are battling in this kind of development environment, not that you are expecting to solve all of these issues of course. VSO has a vision of a world without poverty and my placement is some small way aimed at working towards that. Big task eh?
My organisation, Neighbourhood Care Well Foundation works in a very deprived part of Calabar called Bayside. They work in the local community helping women and OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) access healthcare and education. They also work to educate men and influential people in the community such as faith leaders about HIV and AIDS issues to reduce stigma and encourage healthy behaviours, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS is on the rise in here. The reach of the organisation is much wider than I can grasp at the moment and I have much to learn over the coming months. I am excited to think that I will be able to contribute to their achievements whilst I am here, I’m not exactly sure how yet as we are yet to agree my objectives but hopefully this will all become clear. Although I have already been working on my first proposal which had a deadline for today so fingers crossed for that one!
Swiss army knife aficionados out there….well there might be someone? I got my first injury this morning trying to prise the lid off something with the small knife in the semi darkness because it was still very early and surprise surprise there was no power. I might even get a small scar on my thumb! Special.