Harvest of Testimonies as ActionAid Nigeria, PDA End LR Programme in Ebonyi

Harvest of Testimonies as ActionAid Nigeria, PDA End LR Programme in Ebonyi

By Oswald Agwu

Communities and individuals who benefitted from the Local Rights Programme of Participatory Development Alternatives, funded by ActionAid, Nigeria, in Ebonyi State, have testified to the positive impacts the projects made in their lives.

The testimonies formed part of outcome of a Learning and Close out meeting, marking the end of the Programme in the State.

The event held on Wednesday at Monabliss Hotel, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, was organised by ActionAid, Nigeria, in collaboration with Participatory Development Alternatives, PDA.ActionAid, Nigeria, since 2005 has been in partnership with PDA, an Ebonyi State based Civil Society Organisation in bringing diverse forms of development across several communities in Ebonyi State under the umbrella of Local Rights Programme.

The Programme which has improved over 14,400 lives in Ebonyi communities, including women, men, children and persons with disabilities,focused mainly on education, healthcare; water, sanitation and hygiene; economic empowerment, nutrition, and building citizen’s capacity to demand their basic civil rights, fundamental to community development.

Sharing her testimony, a primary four pupil, Favour Ogbuinya, noted that apart from providing borehole for her school, PDA and ActionAid have helped them with school materials and taught them personal hygiene.In an emotion laden voice little Ogbuinya said: “They provided us with children recreation facilities.

” They gave us school uniforms with books and writing materials, and each time they come, we will always benefit so many things useful in our education and life generally.

“All I want to say is that PDA did us so well, and I say thank you to them.”Buttressing Ogbuinya’s submission, the Secretary, Ebonyi State Universal Education Board, Dr. Gabriel Uju, who represented the Chairman, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor, in an interview added:” They have done so many things in Ebonyi State, and we are here to appreciate them.

“I am particularly concerned about what they have done in education sector because that is where we represent.”First of all, 4 local government areas were involved: Abakaliki, Izzi, Onicha and Afikpo North, and 16 communities were involved.

” And in these 16 communities, they did a lot of things.

“They built so many boreholes in primary schools in those communities.They also gave so many teaching aides.They also supplied 604 writing desks to these schools, and they built so many classroom blocks ranging from 5 to 10 rooms.

” There are other things they did, like advocacy to make sure that there is increase in school enrollment, especially for the girl-child.

” We can’t thank them enough, and we want to assure them that we will do our best to ensure that those facilities are protected and maintained because sustainability is very important.”

Uju however, called on ActionAid to return the programme with enlarged scope to cover more local government areas.

Others who spoke, including Agnes Oshibe, Veronica Nwambam from Ovuoba community in Abakaliki Local government area as well as Oscar Elechi from Amikpo community in Afikpo North, among others took turns in narrating the various elevations given to them and their communities by the Programme.

While Nwambam narrated that the only school in their community was built by ActionAid under the Programme, Oshibe noted that the economic and capacity empowerment from the Programme has elevated her status and those of her fellow women in the community, thereby liberating them from domestic and other forms of gender-based violence, including Female genital mutilation.In her address, the country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, represented by Mr. Collins Iheanyi Chinyere, Director of Finance, ActionAid Nigeria, chronicled some of the achievements of the Programme in the State to include building of school, health centres, and increasing school enrollment.

Obi said: “Within the last 17 years, ActionAid Nigeria has constructed 6 schools across various communities in Ebonyi State, including a school hall in Amikpo of Afikpo North LGA; also 9 schools across Abakaliki, Onicha, Afikpo North and Izzi LGAs were provided with furniture to promote retention in school.”

In addition to this, five communities now have access to quality healthcare through the construction of health Centres by ActionAid Nigeria…”Hence, through all the years of working in Ebonyi State, our Local Rights Programme has supported well over 10, 000 children to access quality primary education.

“The Executive Director, PDA, Ms Chidimma Arukwe, in her welcome address explained that the poor and excluded population has enjoyed improved standard of living and dignity borne out of mutual respect, humility, nonviolence, gender equality, transparency and accountability which formed the core mission of the organisation, adding that partnering with ActionAid Nigeria under the Local Rights Programme was the foundation of the impacts.She appreciated all those who also partnered with PDA to make the project a success in the State.

“You have all chosen to be part of our organisation due to a mutual passion for our shared vision.”Your passion helped us unite, and the energy we created allowed us achieve our individual as well as group goals…

“Yes, we are here today because of so many true stories of change recorded over these years.”With this, I would confidently say that ActionAid and PDA came, saw an conquered.” Arukwe said.

Goodwill messages were received from other partners: SMEDAN, Ministries of Finance, Environment, Women Affairs and Social Development, Local government and Chieftaincy Matters; State Universal Basic Education Board, State Emergency Management Agency, FADAMA and INEC, among others.Awards and Certificates of recognition were also given to outstanding volunteers and partners in the Programme.

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