#Strike101 ‘Tola’s story

On July 1 2013, The Academic Staff Union of Universities decided to embark on industrial action due to the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 Agreement reached with the Union. Most of my colleagues and I expected the strike action to last no longer than two or three weeks at the most. The month of July went by without any seeming end in sight to the strike action. By August, it began to dawn on me that the end was not anywhere near in sight. That was when I knew that I had to find something to do during the waiting period. The question then became what could I do.

 

My highest qualification was SSCE which almost every job seeker holds. Meanwhile, my mother offered me employment in her school to help audit bank tellers and balance the accounts. Since I wasn’t particularly good with figures, I was not too enthralled with the prospect. Then I joined an online community on Facebook called Volunteer in Nigeria. Since I have always wanted to do a bit of volunteer work with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) after my education, I felt it was a right step to take. This was arguably one of the best things that happened to me during this strike period because of the numerous opportunities they brought my way and the amazing people I got the opportunity to network with over the last couple of months.

 

In October 2013, I was a participant in LEAP Africa’s Youth Empowerment Programme sponsored by Shell Nigeria and we were exposed to a variety of ideas ranging from Social Responsibility to Missioning and Visioning. The lessons I learnt there gave me the resolve to do more in terms of individual social responsibility. And so from October to December 2013, I spent my break volunteering with LEAP Africa for SIPA 2013, Fate Foundation’s Annual Celebration, Friends of the Global Fund for Africa’s VCT/HIV Week, Slum 2 School’s Xmas In A Box Tour and Love Project’s Community Outreach. I also participated in The Excellence in Leadership Conference, Unilever Nigeria’s Campus Learning Workshop and a host of other seminars and programmes.

 

All in all, I think I can group my strike break into 2 periods; the first period is between July and September when I was waiting for something to happen while the second period is between October and December when I actually made things happen. Volunteer in Nigeria really did a lot in terms of making me utilize my strike break productively. I got information about many of these programmes and volunteering opportunities from their blog and Facebook group.

 

After about 170 days at home, the Federal Government and ASUU finally reached an agreement and the industrial action was finally called off. Resumption dates for most institutions have been announced. I would be headed back to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Osun state, to continue my academic pursuit in January 2014 but one thing I am sure of is that I am not going back the same person who came to Lagos in July. My horizons have been broadened, paradigm shifted and my mindset changed. I have become a better Nigerian!

 

‘Tola Oladiji is studying Medicine at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria. You can connect with him on Twitter via @GodConscious1

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Want to send in your own story and share with us how we are helping to make you a more responsible Nigerian? It’s easy! Leave us a post or message at our Facebook page.

 

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#IVD2013 Campaign

The International Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development(IVD), established by the UN General Assembly to be commemorated on 5th December every year, is about telling the world what volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations achieve for rounded development.

Volunteering that works cannot be taken for granted. It needs to be recognized, facilitated, networked and promoted. Organisations that understand the value of volunteering celebrate IVD by establishing volunteering programmes for social impact.

Working with extra hands can help organisations:

-grow effectively thereby contributing to national development

-plan projects and events without disrupting course of work at the office

-make cheaper and wiser recruitment decisions by getting to know the working habits of the volunteers who they can hire

Moreover, volunteering can help the volunteer make important networking contacts, learn or develop skills, impart skills, enhance résumé, gain work experience, build self-esteem and self-confidence, improve health, meet new people, feel needed and valued, express gratitude for help received in the past from an organization, communicate to others that you are ambitious, enthusiastic and care about the community, make a difference in someone’s life. Volunteering improves the likelihood that children will volunteer as adults and helps groom responsible generations for our nation.

 

Sure enough, our great team went out and about in a number of states to ensure our radio outreach to spread the message of youth volunteerism and engaging volunteers was a huge success. In some states, the plan fell through but we made the effort-sowed seeds for next time. Big big appreciation to Adebayo and Osato! It was amazing to see virtually all the fruitful contacting and scheduling happen within a space of 3 days. And Moyo is a super woman! Many thanks to our trainer and coordinator-at-large, Chioma Okereke!!!

 

Ebuka and Abdul discussed with Sophie at Cool FM Kano state and even received some phone calls of commendation.

IVD 2013 Cool FM Kano 2

Do Daniels always take the city? Indeed! Daniel was on MITV Ibadan, Oyo state. He was also on radio- Star FM and possibly some other platforms I do not yet know.

IVD 2013 MITV Ibadan Oyo state

Daniel again...

IVD 2013 Star FM Ibadan Oyo

Uju and Moyo took the reins in the Centre of Excellence on Top radio 90.9FM Lagos. They had an engaging discussion with Wyse. Thank you Wyse!

 IVD 2013 Top Radio Lagos

Oh my! Joel was too helpful. Orange FM Akure, Ondo state got a piece of the action.

IVD Orange FM Akure



Do not let this picture deceive you. Innocent received

at least 7 calls of enquiry after leaving the Rhythm FM Port

Harcourt studio at Rivers state! He even robed in

Zubby, the very helpful On-Air Personality, who

said he would be interested in volunteering.

IVD2013 Rhythm 93.7 PH 



Special thanks to Bankole the Bvibes blogger and EDK.

We were live on Vibes FM Benin, Edo state.

 IVD2013 Vibes FM Benin 



Finally, Margaret was on OGBC radio, Ogun state.

THANK YOU Margaret!

IVD 2013 OGBC 





So went the great day! By the way, the pictures were not taken with professional cameras. Remember there is always something you can do to make our country and the world a far better place.

 

Giving and gifts

Happy happy Boxing day fam!

As the year ends, what is most fulfilling and satisfying is knowing-not that you have houses and other assets but-that you have reliable people. I have to say that THIS PROJECT HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER THE MOST AMAZING PEOPLE! Oh my! Talk about Samuel, Uju, Bimbo, Ebukaaaa, Tola, Moyo, Jire, Gbemisola, Janet, Nancy, Franca, Chibuike, Innocent, Osato, Adebayo, Ademola, Dami Rotiwa hahaa etc. Whew! I know I have got you thinking I know them all and the other hundreds unmentioned who prefer to stay behind the scenes-but let me announce to you that I do not. For many, their ‘names’ have gone before them. Like the French would say, “votre réputation vous précède.”

So on 24th December, tens of us went giving, courtesy Love project at Bariga, Lagos state. It was our first project with a non-registered organisation.

Love projecttt

Somebody selflessly baked and donated a cake. Oh, someone else gave up his salary.

Love projecttttttttt

Over 600 people were touched, going home with food and clothing items.

Love projecttttt

Love projectttttttttt

Love projectttttttttttt

And there was free medical testing and counseling.

Love projectttttttt

All the high chiefs (Baales) in Bariga came around. The young man there is Odunayo, the visioneer.

Love projectttttt

The most priceless gift we enjoyed this year was definitely NOT

IMG02893-20130429-1059

But it CERTAINLY WAS

grace

Finally, as you box those gifts open today, take a moment  to read about Bishop Kodji Island as told by Tina at http://teenanews.blogspot.com/2013/12/abandoned-without-development-story-of.html

Tina has initiated #toilet4kodji and #water4kodji awareness for Bishop Kodji island and we are glad to help push that. We also got thinking about what we can do for the community this season. Sharing food? What are your thoughts? Would you like to help? How? Leave us comments!

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY

Apply to the VSO-ICS volunteering programme

Charlotte & I on our way from school

Charlotte & I on our way from school

Of the 365 days allocated to me this year, I spent 85 in Oke-Ero Local Government in Kwara State as a volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.

I spent the night of Christmas Eve discussing the evils of the society with my grandmother. In particular, we discussed a friend of my dad who had recently been murdered on account of money (the story is definitely more complicated). Money and the desire for it pushes people to carry out such despicable acts. However, in the face of all these, we have people who while they desire to make money and be prosperous, have not allowed themselves become slaves to it. They are people who volunteer for little or no money at all.

This post is supposed to be about my experience as a VSO volunteer but please before I continue allow me to celebrate my ICS colleagues and more importantly every other volunteer out there. The world is a better place because of your efforts. Twale!

I’ve always known about VSO but if not for the Volunteer in Nigeria post about the ICS programme, I may have missed this opportunity. VSO-ICS Youth Volunteering Programme is a youth-centred community development programme, conducted in partnership between International Citizen Service (ICS), Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and their implementing partners. The three-month programme brings together young people (aged 18-25) from the UK and Nigeria. Each team will typically consist of 20 young people, with equal numbers coming from the UK and the host country. In carefully selected communities, volunteers work in placements fully supported by their implementing partner organisations and two full time VSO/ICS programme supervisors. Together, in cross-cultural counterpart pairs, volunteers live with host families and work in the host communities. The type of work varies depending upon the needs of the community, but can include service delivery, advocacy work, and peer-to-peer education programmes.

I sent my application, was invited for an interview and subsequently selected to be on that cycle of the ICS programme. We went through intensive training. In fact, at some point it became quite ‘belabourous’ for me- but it was needed to get everyone to understand and be able to function properly. The training involved understanding the organisations we would be working with, the work we would be doing and more.

There were 2 teams, one was assigned to Lafia in Nassarrawa State and the other (mine) to Oke-Ero in Kwara State. My team was to work on improving the standard of education in schools that had been identified by the partner organisation (Olive Community Development Initiative) as places that really needed help. A pair of volunteers were assigned to each school.

There was no one-size-fits-all formula we had been given to use for the schools. We had to visit the schools and work out a custom made solution for the problems of the school. My school was a Nomadic School. My partner and I worked out a plan that would help the school, students, teachers, parents and the community.

A typical week would consist of training illiterate parents on ways by which they could help improve their child’s level of education, training teachers on ICT and different teaching methods, speaking with some parents in the Fulani settlement to send their kids to school, one-on-one sessions with the kids who were doing poorly in schoolwork and extra-curricular activities for the kids such as games, experiments, clubs etc.

At some point I began to feel I was not doing enough to help improve the standard of education in that school but at the end of the programme I saw a marked difference and improvement in ALL of the kids and that was such a high for me. Kids who didn’t even know all the letters of the alphabet had as a result of our work moved to the stage where they knew 2/3 letter words, their confidence had greatly improved, the teachers had adopted one of the methods of teaching we showed them and generally the kids became happier kids.

Asides work in my school, the whole team carried out joint projects like renovating a school, building a makeshift bridge, sports day, HIV/AIDS awareness campaign& testing, and breast & cervical cancer awareness talks. Other pairs assigned to other placements (10 in all) recorded success stories in many areas too.

I faced some challenges which were downright frustrating then but with all I was able to achieve, they are all negligible now. The main challenge was that of being a victim of ‘racism’ in my own country. My team was made up of 10 Nigerian and 10 UK volunteers. Being treated by my own people as a lesser human being than the white person was infuriating and a big turn off.

After it’s all been said and done, if I had a chance do this again I would do it maybe with a few modifications though. I did not just add to some people’s lives, I have become a better person as well. 85 days living in a village was definitely one of the highlights and high points of my year.

To apply for the next cycle of the ICS programme, download the form here. Completed forms should be submitted to the VSO-ICS Team at No 14B Banjul street, off Monrovia street, Wuse 2, Abuja OR by email to kingsley.udo@vsoint.org. Deadline is January 2, 2014 (4:30pm).

Simi Olusola

 

Admin’s note___

Have you experienced racism in your own country from your own people? What was it really like? The #JusticeForAlice  story has prompted us to ask these questions. Please leave comments.

 

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A thrill of hope

The weary heart rejoices

For yonder brings

A new and cloudless morn

Fall on your knees

Oh ye with angel’s voices

Oh night divine

When Christ was born

And as many as received Him to them He gave power to become the sons of God. John 1:12

Merry Christmas!!!

Beware of fraud!

Hello family!

There are probably a million and one posts we owe you by now but this is rather urgent. While we are doing our best to put smiles on people’s faces this season, some people are doing the exact opposite. Somebody got the mail below and sent it in.

Sender name: First Bank!

Sender email: ibanking@100.org

________________________________

Dear Valued Customer,

You have been successfully migrated to the new FirstOnline, our enhanced internet
banking solution.

Kindly update all your records with us correctly to prevent service interruption/suspension.

.You can login using the following link https://www.1stbanknigeria-online.com/corp/ with your current User ID as stated below;

——————————-

User ID:Password

Token Code

——————————-

Follow the above link and the letters in red are mandatory for migration

For security purposes, your account will be suspended if you ignore this .
Thank you for banking with FirstBank.

Signed,

First Bank Nigeria Plc

Observe security policies.

To sign up for your free e-statement, and for enquiries on FirstBank products and services, please call 0700FIRSTCONTACT (0700-34778-2668228), 01-4485500, 0708-062-5000, SMS Short Code 30012 or email firstcontact@firstbanknigeria.com

_______________________________________

Perhaps, unlike the receipient of this mail, you use First Bank and are tempted to think this is another email from your bank. First take a look at the email address from which this was sent: ibanking@100.org. The email address clearly shows the mail originated from a website: 100.org. THAT IS CLEARLY NOT FIRST BANK’S WEBSITE.

Sometimes, fraud is not so crystal clear. Beware!

SHARE WITH EVERYBODY

Knowledge Is Not Enough, Skill Is King By Rise Networks

Each year, only 40,000 out of the over 400,000 Nigerian graduates who pass out of the NYSC scheme get employment. Furthermore, only about 20 percent of the 40,000 graduates who get employed are in their desired place of work.

These are clear indications that the employment capacity of the country is inversely proportional to available job seekers. The employing capacities of multi-nationals and blue chip companies (which are the dreams of young job seeking graduates) that service hundreds of thousands of Nigerian Youth are relatively low.

 

As you may well know, RISE NETWORKS is an institution passionately dedicated to assisting Youth to express and achieve their highest feats in idea building, education advancement and wholesome human development.

 

After a much deserved hiatus taken to research and plan, the highly anticipated, national discourse on Nigeria’s Youth development blueprint, Rise National Youth Forum is finally back with this Year’s theme as NIGERIA BEYOND OIL; Strengthening Youth Entrepreneurship in the Next Most Productive Sectors), ENTERTAINMENT + AGRICULTURE + TECHNOLOGY – (EAT).

 

The highlight of the restructured Program is the BLUE COLLAR JOBS CAMPAIGN Initiative; a Strategic Focus on Vocational Skills. This year’s event will feature very experienced, skilled, knowledgeable Entrepreneurs and dynamic Change Agents as Speakers entrepreneurs who will teach/train Participants and also prepare their minds to compete in the “soon would-be” next most productive sectors.

The idea of the EAT Model is to begin to build capacity of young Nigerians to embrace radical change and innovation in preparation for the diversification of Nigeria’s Economy. If Nigeria’s Oil dries up today, these 3 Areas and other divisions of General Production are the major sectors that can guarantee the highest level of employment and Revenue as much as Oil and the barriers of entry into these Industries are pretty low. Nations like China, India, Japan, North Korea, have massively invested in human capital development which has led to tremendous economic growth in those nations. For instance, China is known to be the world’s fastest–growing major economy, the largest exporter of goods, and the largest manufacturing economy in the world. This feat was achieved due to the introduction of vocational skills to cater for the ever growing population which is set at above 1billion people.

This spectacular, life transforming, impact focused Program which has an indisputable track record of commanding the attention of the largest single gathering of Nigerian Youth in one Venue is coming to a city near you this December and January 2014.

In the exciting Rise Networks’ Quiz Competition, MTN Nigeria, the Program’s Lead Sponsor is giving out Windows 7 Premium Wireless Laptop + MTN Internet Modems and tones of Airtime. Participants will also get the chance to win best selling Leadership and Business Management Books and Material.

Rise Networks has also introduced Instructional Video Content on different areas of Vocation oriented and Production Centered Businesses and will launch and be made available to millions of budding Entrepreneurs on MTN Nigeria’s Online Digital Content Portal, MTN Play in December 2013.

Microsoft West Africa will also train and deploy the ‘MICROSOFT BUILD YOUR BUSINESS {BYB} Curriculum FREE to all the Participants at the Program, exclusively.

The Location Roll Call is below:

OWERRI on the 14th December, 2013. (#RiseYouthForumOwerri)

Venue: Rochas Convention Center, Okigwe Road, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

MTN (Lead Sponsor), Nescafe, CocaCola, Close-up, OLAM and OMO

Online Media Partners are Premium Times, OLORISUPERGAL, Bella Naija, Y!Naija, Linda Ikeji’s Blog

Executing Partners are the National Association of Small and Medium Scale Entreprises {NASME} and International Finance Corporation

The Guardian Silverbird Group, Channels and AIT are Media Partners.

ENTRY AND PARTICIPATION is FREE!

 

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