MARKET DEVELOPMENT FOR RICE AND COCOA GROWN IN AKWA IBOM STATE – NIGERIA

As Youths of Akwa Ibom State joined the world to mark the 2021 International Youth Day with the Global Theme – TRANSFORMING FOOD SYSTEMS: YOUTH INNOVATION FOR HUMAN AND PLANETARY HEALTH, we need to think locally and act globally.

Modern markets are replacing traditional markets and outlets for small scale producers are reduced considerably. This comes with a risks of increasing poverty, not just for those producers, but for the entire rural communities. But with the right sort of support, small scale producers can be efficient and reliable providers of quality produce.

Let me bring this back home.

Finding ways to include youth farmers engaged in small scale production of Rice and Cocoa in INI and IBIONO LGA can be a sensible business strategy in the Agrifood Market Development of Nigeria.

The advantages include reduction of rural and urban youth poverty, innovations in the agrifood value chain, globalising Akwa Ibom rice and cocoa market, participation in the transnational market and price control, learning and unlearning the science of modern market participation, transformation of curriculum in research centers of state and federal tertiary institutions.

These youth farmers cannot do this on their own. It requires government, the organizing and mobilizing power of farmer organizations and Civil Society Organizations as a critical ingredients.

The role of Government is by investing in infrastructures and services for these youth farmers to access markets and to ensure policies that encourage them and ensure that the right checks and balances are in place for the market to work efficiently and fairly.

For joint learning, Civil Society Organizations should begin to step in and become actors in the engagements process between Government and youth farmers.

Farmers organization should be more focus to ferret out biases and portfolio farmers who strategicaly usurp the real farmers’ benefit. These benefit captors are the first to vilify failed government agricultural programmes.

To influence policies, collaboration is required among policy makers, researchers and practicioners across industry sectors and among government, business and civil society actors. This is the Multi-stakeholder processes (MSP).

MSP is any set of activities that enable groups to interact with each other for shared learning, joint decision making and collective action. It is not one-off event but rather series of activities carried out over time.

The following multi-stakeholder methodology developed by Charisma Centre for Development Research, a Think-Tank group can be adopted for action.
There are:

  1. Mapping out rice and cocoa base
  2. Mapping key policies and institutions
  3. Establishing the key drivers, trends and issues affecting youth farmers in this areas.
  4. Risk and scenerios assumptions
  5. Identifying options for better inclusion
  6. Next step strategies for change of policies and institutions within the public, private and civil society sectors.

Each of the methodology makes use of tools. These tools have been widely used in participatory development and learn-shop processes.

©️ KingsleyG.

My Personal Experience with SPECIAL ANTI-ROBBERY SQUAD (SARS)

My name is Kingsley George, a Citizen and twice a victim of SARS brutal tactics of illegal arrest and detention.

Nigerian Lives Matter Campaign

The memory is indelible because of the uniqueness in dates of encounters: March 10th, 2010 and March 11th, 2011.

I am sharing the first experience which gave me the deepest cut.

It was around 6PM and the evening was breezy, awaiting a light rainfall. I had gone to visit a Lady friend. About the time to leave, another friend who also came to visit my host decided to join her in seeing me off. Along the adjourning street, we spotted a Police Van and a few Police Officers inspecting a Vehicle, which we later learnt was a missing vehicle and on spotting us, one of the Officers (which we later learnt was the  Officer-in-Charge of the SARS unit in the Akwa Ibom State Police Command) ordered us to enter the back of the Police Van.

When I hesitated, I was landed a blinded slap and with a shaky voice, I asked why? the OC SARS got visibly infuriated by my question. He snapped the Umbrella from my Friend’s hand and hit my head so hard that the impact broke the umbrella. He grabbed my phone from my hand and smashed on the tarred road. At this point, I was silently praying for a safe entry into the back of the van and another silent supplication for them to allow free my friends, so as to report my whereabout to my parents. But instead, all of us were taken to the State Police Headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia. A station only legendary to Guantanamo Bay detention camp.


At the station, I spent the night inside a dark cell, squeezed between shadows of men, only able to identify my fellow detainees through voices of sad Lamentations expressing their innocence. The only distance between us were gummy bodies of these half-naked men, some pleading not to be trampled-upon because they were tending to bullet wounds and other injuries sustained through the brutal processes of arrest. Psychologically, that night has been the longest night in my memory and how I survived that night has been a flash tale that sends shivers down my spine each time I sight SARS personal going about their duties. The cell environment alone left unknown physiological scars. The thickness of dirt on the floor caused by gradual sedimentation from mixtures of sweats, tears and blood,  gave off a pungent odor similar to putrefied and decaying organic matter. There were landlords on every corner of the cell, either sitting, standing or squatting. New entrants like me had to stand through the night and when I suddenly dose, my pillar was another standing body.

The silence of the night was either disrupted by punches thrown at space Intruders by landlords or by a bottle being passed round for us to empty our bladders or by deep voice of an Officer calling out a detainee, which I never saw returned.

At day break, some of my friends who managed to know my where about came for my release. At point of giving statement, I wrote every thing I knew and how I was arrested but the statement was rejected by the officer assigned to handle my release. He carefully guided me through another statement that would capture the stolen vehicle that was left abandoned in the street I had passed through that evening.

I was released after paying the sum of Ten Thousand Naira.

Lesson:

Just in one night, I learnt that freedom is the greatest asset one could have. And since I was innocent, maybe walking with 2 beautiful lady friends got the SARS team upset, as the Police could not explain why I was arrested.

Recommendations

In as much as the society needs the Police, their inadequacies have to be addressed through institutional reforms, adequate funding and continuous education program for officers. There is also an urgent need to change arrest tactics. The strategy of arresting innocent persons to fish out the guilty is an outdated principle of social justice and human judgment, which is against the various statutes of human rights.

MARITAL SUBMISSION IN THE FACE OF GLOBALIZATION

Marital Submission in the face of GLOBALIZATION has a different definition from what my fore-fathers used to know.

Modern day submission has to do with both parties in a marriage and not the stereotype Woman-Man Submission that was application in the past.

Present day wives are equiped with knowledge through education and civilization, which makes them involve in decision making at home unlike those days when women were taught to believe that Men were superior to them in every marital decision from ranging from childbirthing, child rearing, kitchen responsibilities to career building .

Religion and culture do play a in tmajor part in social construct around marital submission.

Some religious and cultural settings do not promote womens’ right, decision making and privileges especially in the home front. Thereby giving women sanctimonious humility and depressing identities, with feelings locked up like an angry child who is taught to never to disobey adults even at his peril.

In present times, social issues sterming from marriages are on the increase compared to the past. Not that these issues did not exist, but people were on ‘enduring and silent mode’, especially women. Now, driven by elements of GLOBALIZATION, voices of oppressive marriages are heard and institutions are also evolving to handle emerging issues.

Worthy of note is the changing etymologies of words that have women at the focal.

Words like liberty, equity, equality, freedom, rights, sexuality, genital, autonomy, integrity, reproduction, health, widows, gender, female, harassment, violence, alimony are now conveying powerful messages in phrases and nomenclatures that were unheard of thirty years ago.

From Gender and Violence to Gender-based Violence (GBV); Sexual Autonomy and Bodily Integrity (SABI); from Female and Genitals to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); from Child birth to Childbirth Spacing (CBS); from Sex to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) to the current one which is Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); Widow’s Right; Educate the Girl Child (EGC), from Gender to Gender and Equality Access (GEA); Sexual Exploitation Analysis (SEA); Gender Desk Officer (GDO) etc.

Infact, learning curriculums have adapted to these evolution especially in Multi-Disciplinary Courses like Development Studies, and International Development, Gender Studies, Public Order, Communication for Development, Globalization, Occupational Health and Safety, Public Health. In all these Courses, there are Subjects designed around Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Stereotype, Gender Roles in the society, social norms, Migration and population change, Risk Communication, Social Change, Behavioral Change Communication, Occupational Psychology and Social Bonding, Behavioral Economic and Human Centered Design (HCD) etc.

For instance, a Medical Doctor furthering a Post Graduate Course in Public Health will definitely acquire new aspect of experiential learning to fit in completely as a Community/Public Health Doctor and also manage clients’ behaviors. Moreso, an Engineer taking courses in Development Studies is able to fit into any Humanitarian setting with skill and patient to conduct an after action review (AAR).

In the context of the theme of this article, Knowledge driven by Globalization will contrast the conventional definition of ‘Submission’, and as Knowledge shapes the society, that is how an emotionally or physically abused woman is shaped in mindset, and her constant exposure to these tools of globalization like social media, movies, x-rated porns and others (beauty product adverts), reality TV shows, female role-models in business and politics and other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, sooner or later expose those inert social actions.

At this point, if a partner is not flexible and adjustable in marital relationship, friction and shadows of conflict would set in.

Other influencers are women centred reforms, policies and legal instruments like Work Place Policy, Gender Policy, Palimony and Alimony can further empower women if wielded properly. These instruments have broken grounds for woman and more gains are still being made – The recent Court Judgement on Female Right to Inheritance in Igbo land can tear down an age long tradition.

There have been an overwhelming support to the assertion that the western world is developed because they uphold rights of women.

A Modern Teacher who is also a proponent once told me that any society that does not recognize the inert and active rights of women will perpetually remain stagnant with its original and traditional landmark features. He would say that there are similarities in landmarks across local Communities in Nigeria, like rugged, untarred and undulated terrains, dark at night without electricity, some with uncompleted town Halls, primary schools with leaked roofs, obnoxious customs and beliefs etc.

Hmmmmmmm! But his hypothesis seems to be true in a way, but i may not in entirety attribute our underdevelopment to deprivation of certain rights because where I come from, there had been a time in history women wielded decision making powers to the extent they had the liberty of naming children after themselves.

This is evident to the fact they are persons still bearing ‘Ekaete’ (Mother’s Father), ‘UdoAdiaha’ (second son to the mother), ‘Kopno Uka’ (Listen to your mother) and so on. Also, what would have led women to revolt against excessive taxation by the colonial Whites, which for whatever reason was tagged “Aba Women’s riot’. This more or less depicts that Women had assets.

When did they lose these liberties? Could it be that the liberties in decision making process led to the custom of brothers/relatives inheriting the wives of demised brothers/relatives, so as to situate the assets of demised brothers/relatives within family watch? Then while trying to hold on to those powers of decision making, widows decided to adopt either their first or last sons as Husband in order not to be married to late husband’s relatives?

In my thinking though, I believe that was when the Rubicon line of rights deprivation was drawn and it found its way into local customs, belief and thus gave a superior mentality to male children over females.

This also affected gender roles as our foremothers taught their daughters to stereotype Woman-Man submission model.

I remember then in the village during summer holidays as a kid, there were moments my grandmother will prepare a chicken meal as a punishment for failing to add certain condiment like periwinkle in my Grandfather’s meal.

Those moments were fun and sweet anyway, but a modern women would not be confined to such practices. Even when she happens, with the modern Life skills of persuasion, assertiveness, Interpersonal Communication, charisma, and empathy, she can comfortably negotiate her way out of modern slavery.

Kingsley George
Non-Profit Specialist

MARITAL SUBMISSION IN THE FACE OF GLOBALIZATION

Marital Submission in the face of GLOBALIZATION has a different definition from what my fore-fathers used to know.

Modern day submission has to do with both parties in a marriage and not the stereotype Woman-Man Submission that was application in the past.

Present day wives are equiped with knowledge through education and civilization, which makes them involve in decision making at home unlike those days when women were taught to believe that Men were superior to them in every marital decision from ranging from childbirthing, child rearing, kitchen responsibilities to career building .

Religion and culture do play a in tmajor part in social construct around marital submission.

Some religious and cultural settings do not promote womens’ right, decision making and privileges especially in the home front. Thereby giving women sanctimonious humility and depressing identities, with feelings locked up like an angry child who is taught to never to disobey adults even at his peril.

In present times, social issues sterming from marriages are on the increase compared to the past. Not that these issues did not exist, but people were on ‘enduring and silent mode’, especially women. Now, driven by elements of GLOBALIZATION, voices of oppressive marriages are heard and institutions are also evolving to handle emerging issues.

Worthy of note is the changing etymologies of words that have women at the focal.

Words like liberty, equity, equality, freedom, rights, sexuality, genital, autonomy, integrity, reproduction, health, widows, gender, female, harassment, violence, alimony are now conveying powerful messages in phrases and nomenclatures that were unheard of thirty years ago.

From Gender and Violence to Gender-based Violence (GBV); Sexual Autonomy and Bodily Integrity (SABI); from Female and Genitals to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); from Child birth to Childbirth Spacing (CBS); from Sex to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) to the current one which is Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); Widow’s Right; Educate the Girl Child (EGC), from Gender to Gender and Equality Access (GEA); Sexual Exploitation Analysis (SEA); Gender Desk Officer (GDO) etc.

Infact, learning curriculums have adapted to these evolution especially in Multi-Disciplinary Courses like Development Studies, and International Development, Gender Studies, Public Order, Communication for Development, Globalization, Occupational Health and Safety, Public Health. In all these Courses, there are Subjects designed around Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Stereotype, Gender Roles in the society, social norms, Migration and population change, Risk Communication, Social Change, Behavioral Change Communication, Occupational Psychology and Social Bonding, Behavioral Economic and Human Centered Design (HCD) etc.

For instance, a Medical Doctor furthering a Post Graduate Course in Public Health will definitely acquire new aspect of experiential learning to fit in completely as a Community/Public Health Doctor and also manage clients’ behaviors. Moreso, an Engineer taking courses in Development Studies is able to fit into any Humanitarian setting with skill and patient to conduct an after action review (AAR).

In the context of the theme of this article, Knowledge driven by Globalization will contrast the conventional definition of ‘Submission’, and as Knowledge shapes the society, that is how an emotionally or physically abused woman is shaped in mindset, and her constant exposure to these tools of globalization like social media, movies, x-rated porns and others (beauty product adverts), reality TV shows, female role-models in business and politics and other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, sooner or later expose those inert social actions.

At this point, if a partner is not flexible and adjustable in marital relationship, friction and shadows of conflict would set in.

Other influencers are women centred reforms, policies and legal instruments like Work Place Policy, Gender Policy, Palimony and Alimony can further empower women if wielded properly. These instruments have broken grounds for woman and more gains are still being made – The recent Court Judgement on Female Right to Inheritance in Igbo land can tear down an age long tradition.

There have been an overwhelming support to the assertion that the western world is developed because they uphold rights of women.

A Modern Teacher who is also a proponent once told me that any society that does not recognize the inert and active rights of women will perpetually remain stagnant with its original and traditional landmark features. He would say that there are similarities in landmarks across local Communities in Nigeria, like rugged, untarred and undulated terrains, dark at night without electricity, some with uncompleted town Halls, primary schools with leaked roofs, obnoxious customs and beliefs etc.

Hmmmmmmm! But his hypothesis seems to be true in a way, but i would not in entirety attribute our underdevelopment to deprivation of certain rights because where I come from, there had been a time in history women wielded decision making powers to the extent they had the liberty of naming children after themselves.

This is evident to the fact they are persons still bearing ‘Ekaete’ (Mother’s Father), ‘UdoAdiaha’ (second son to the mother), ‘Kopno Uka’ (Listen to your mother) and so on. Also, what would have led women to revolt against excessive taxation by the colonial Whites, which for whatever reason was tagged “Aba Women’s riot’. This more or less depicts that Women had assets.

When did they lose these liberties? Could it be that the liberties in decision making process led to the custom of brothers/relatives inheriting the wives of demised brothers/relatives, so as to situate the assets of demised brothers/relatives within family watch? Then while trying to hold on to those powers of decision making, widows decided to adopt either their first or last sons as Husband in order not to be married to late husband’s relatives?

In my thinking though, I believe that was when the Rubicon line of rights deprivation was drawn and it found its way into local customs, belief and thus gave a superior mentality to male children over females.

This also affected gender roles as our foremothers taught their daughters to stereotype Woman-Man submission model.

I remember then in the village during summer holidays as a kid, there were moments my grandmother will prepare a chicken meal as a punishment for failing to add certain condiment like periwinkle in my Grandfather’s meal.

Those moments were fun and sweet anyway, but a modern women would not be confined to such practices. Even when she happens, with the modern Life skills of persuasion, assertiveness, Interpersonal Communication, charisma, and empathy, she can comfortably negotiate her way out of modern slavery.

Kingsley George
Non-Profit Specialist

HERMAPHRODITISM and Social Construct: Lessons from the past.

kingsleygeorge's Blog

If HERMAPHRODITISM condition does exist in humans, then ignorance owes victims an apology.

There lived a certain woman (name withheld in order to respect the dead) in Nsit Ibom LGA, precisely Mbiokporo Nsit, whom during her death, rumors went round the Community that she was a witch.

How did she become a witch? Her condition of HERMAPHRODITISM made her a ‘witch’.

In African settings, being labeled a witch comes with inter-related social embargoes ranging from ostracizing, aliniation, shaming, isolation etc. Pychologically, victims are faced with identify and social acceptability crises.

I have come to believe that the combination of these social construct made my Case Study to live in isolation, constantly withdrawing from social and communal activities except tending to her private business which still drew villagers to her because of sole monopoly in the her trade. Meaning that if Community members had options, she would never have been an…

View original post 129 more words

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION IN A NIGERIA-STYLED DEMOCRACY

kingsleygeorge's Blog

This article is a simple tip for Engagement of Political Aspirants during electioneering campaigns.

In the Ladder of Citizens Participation as illustrated by Arnstein in 1967, the 8 rungs are:

  1. CITIZEN CONTROL
  2. DELEGATED POWER
  3. PARTNERSHIP
  4. PLACATION
  5. CONSULTATION
  6. INFORMING
  7. THERAPY
  8. MANIPULATION

This model and others were behind the real motives of participatory projects in Europe and America’s until there was nothing left to be identified as social needs, resulting in the formation of development aid baskets to the developing world, which Nigeria is a major beneficiary over the years.

To shock you, rural Communities ceased to exist in Europe since after the Marshal Plan.

Having remodeled this framework, it is obvious that the progenitors of Nigeria-styled democracy understood these elements of participation and adopted thus during campaigns, but only sticking to MANIPULATION rung which is the bottom Rung of the LADDER OF CITIZENS PARTICIPATION.

Achieving Citizens participation in governance in a…

View original post 243 more words

Request for Proposal: Family Planning Stakeholder Mapping

Goal

To identify and present qualitative information on key stakeholders within the Asian region that the Knowledge SUCCESS project could engage with for the successful implementation of knowledge management activities for improved family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH).

Objectives

  1. Prioritize non-governmental organizations (NGOs), technical working groups (TWGs), and other key stakeholders according to their capacity to influence and their level of involvement in FP/RH in selected Asia countries for Knowledge SUCCESS to work with on knowledge management activities.
  2. Identify content creation and dissemination partners as well as opportunities for broader dissemination of KM products developed under Knowledge SUCCESS project. 

Deliverable

A matrix of stakeholders/partners, short analysis report, and an accompanying PPT.

Key Questions the Mapping Exercise will Explore

  1. Who are the main stakeholders of the FP/RH community in Asian countries? (Types of organizations, location, area covered, etc.).
  2. What are the stakeholders and forums that Knowledge SUCCESS should prioritize to work with? (Level of influence, funding level of commitment, national and regional anchorage, etc.)
  3. What actions can Knowledge SUCCESS take to best engage stakeholders in this region?

Focus countries

USAID Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) priority countries in Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Yemen.

Methodology

Information Sources 

  • Desk review of existing FP/RH stakeholders and their functions and activities in the region
  • Co-creation workshop notes (provided)
  • Key informant interviews via Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp
  • Decision makers (e.g., MOH, select co-creation workshop participants) 
  • NGOs, FBOs and CSOs working in FP/RH, including co-creation workshop participants
  • Small-group interviews via Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp

The questionnaires will explore: 

  • How is each organization or TWG involved in FP/RH in their country as well as the region?
  • What are the recent, current, and planned KM activities and products?
  • Which organizations do they see as key for Knowledge SUCCESS to collaborate with? 
  • How are partners collaborating and TWGs functioning in the time of COVID-19? How have their FP/RH priorities and strategies shifted as a result of COVID-19?

Expected Outputs

  • Short report analyzing information from the desk review
  • Produce summary tables for stakeholders and forums that includes information on each respondent’s level of influence and contribution to FP/RH activities. Format will be provided to ensure consistency in other landscaping activities.
  • Engage select partners to have the opportunity to review and comment on the matrix and presentation prior to finalizing the document. 

Selection Criteria

Respondents will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Overall response and understanding of the scope of work described herein
  • Availability to start right after full execution of the consultancy contract and to produce the outputs by November 30, 2020.
  • Evidence of technical capability as shown by prior work, especially familiarity with the Asia region
  • Past performance as articulated by former and/or current clients

Proposal Requirements

Consultants/Firms should be aware that services will be performed for a program operated by a department at a university, designed to benefit the public good through the improvement of international public health services. The project is funded through USAID and as such is subject to US government terms and conditions.

Please submit a proposal that includes:

Proposed approach to task: Proposals should include a general description of the proposed approach, as well as any other relevant descriptions of processes and ideas that are believed to be relevant to this project.

Budget: Please provide an itemized budget with this scope of work and/or a description of your fee schedule. 

References: Three references with reference name and contact information are required.

Past performance/Capability statement: Proposals should also include a brief summary of their professional background  and a minimum of three relevant descriptions of past performances, particularly with similar projects. Examples of similarly produced materials would be preferred.

CCP expects work to begin on this project immediately after the contract has been fully executed, and completed in October 2020. 

Proposal Dates

Monday, August 10             Proposal is issued

Monday, August 17 Questions due from consultants/firms by 5:00 pm EDT

Friday, August 21 Responses to questions sent out

Friday, August 28 Proposals due by 5:00 pm EDT

Wed, September 2 Proposal selected, and bidders notified.

Questions can be submitted in writing by 5 pm EDT on August 17 to Heather Finn, Operations Manager, at heather.finn@jhu.edu . Questions will be answered collectively in one document for the benefit of all bidders, without identifying information.It is anticipated that a proposal  will be selected on or about Wed, September 2, 2020. CCP will notify all vendors who respond to this RFP. If CCP does not receive a proposal that meets our needs adequately and cost effectively, we reserve the right to make no award at this time.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/148iuvdp5BX5FH74yyXwn-Z_0whAqgwngrg1fU6OaEPo/edit?usp=sharing

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION IN A NIGERIA-STYLED DEMOCRACY

This article is a simple tip for Engagement of Political Aspirants during electioneering campaigns.

In the Ladder of Citizens Participation as illustrated by Arnstein in 1967, the 8 rungs are:

  1. CITIZEN CONTROL
  2. DELEGATED POWER
  3. PARTNERSHIP
  4. PLACATION
  5. CONSULTATION
  6. INFORMING
  7. THERAPY
  8. MANIPULATION

This model and others were behind the real motives of participatory projects in Europe and America’s until there was nothing left to be identified as social needs, resulting in the formation of development aid baskets to the developing world, which Nigeria is a major beneficiary over the years.

To shock you, rural Communities ceased to exist in Europe since after the Marshal Plan.

Having remodeled this framework, it is obvious that the progenitors of Nigeria-styled democracy understood these elements of participation and adopted thus during campaigns, but only sticking to MANIPULATION rung which is the bottom Rung of the LADDER OF CITIZENS PARTICIPATION.

Achieving Citizens participation in governance in a Nigeria-styled democracy has lots of roadblocks and challenges and as CSOs, we can reverse the MANIPULATION rung to the advantage of our communities and constituencies by equipping them with Charters and Community Development Action Plans (CDAPs), while CSOs BUFFER at any point of the rungs (depending on skills and resources) until citizens participation is achieved at the critical mass level.

In the meanwhile, the time to test our individual and collective principles is here. Citizens, Primary and Secondary Stakeholders, and Party Leaders (Electoral college) should be encouraged to engage Aspirants with their Local Community Development Action Plans, charters and blueprints, containing their prioritized Community needs.

This plan should be produced and presented in triplicate copies as follows:

A copy for the Aspirant;
A copy for the community and;
A copy for the Party/ sponsor.

Before the presentation, The Aspirant should be engaged to identify and adopt at least one need from the community plan

Commitments should be secured through signature, fingerprints/seal, in videos and Voice Notes, that during the first 100 days in office, S/He will incorporate that NEED in the LGA budget estimates and also link other NEEDs to relevant MDAs during the State Budget Preparations.

These commitments are part of social accountability.

There are Organisations willing to take up the Advocacy using the Community Copy of the Plan as a tool, if there is a Breach of Trust.

Is time Citizens woke up because NATURE ADHORS VACUUM.

Kingsley George
Non-Profit Specialist

HERMAPHRODITISM and Social Construct: Lessons from the past.

If HERMAPHRODITISM condition does exist in humans, then ignorance owes victims an apology.

There lived a certain woman (name withheld in order to respect the dead) in Nsit Ibom LGA, precisely Mbiokporo Nsit, whom during her death, rumors went round the Community that she was a witch.

How did she become a witch? Her condition of HERMAPHRODITISM made her a ‘witch’.

In African settings, being labeled a witch comes with inter-related social embargoes ranging from ostracizing, aliniation, shaming, isolation etc. Pychologically, victims are faced with identify and social acceptability crises.

I have come to believe that the combination of these social construct made my Case Study to live in isolation, constantly withdrawing from social and communal activities except tending to her private business which still drew villagers to her because of sole monopoly in the her trade. Meaning that if Community members had options, she would never have been an alternative.

The stigma of being a hermaphrodite lingered through her life time and made worse in the hands of the Mortician, on sighting her male reproductive organ, validated the social construct of witchcraft even at her death bed. And her condition was internalized by Community members and shared as myth and folklores till date.

In various societies, very few are bold enough to face this health and social conditions. And very few are aware of their conditions.

However, this article is careful enough to avoid usage of related modern nomenclatures around the condition because our laws are parallel and may never align to recognize such conditions. But as development practicioners, these conditions should attract empathy and corresponding advocacies for the sake of Human Rights.

Kingsley George
Non Profit Specialist.

Addressing Covid-19 Impact with Human-Right Based Policies

Kingsley Aniefiok George

The COVID-19 pandemic has created severe Economic consequences for countries around the world and Nigeria’s situation is not far-fetched. The lockdowns have frozen economic activities, causing massive job losses and supply chain disruptions. Recent Premium Times report quoted The World Bank assertion that before the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of poor Nigerians was expected to increase by about two million largely due to population growth, and in the face of Covid-19 Pandemic, the number would now increase by seven million – with a poverty rate projected to rise from 40.1 per cent in 2019 to 42.5 per cent in 2020. The report notes that the pandemic is likely to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable, in particular women. https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/399581-covid-19-nigeria-on-the-brink-of-severe-recession-world-bank.html

A critical analysis of recent media chats by the Federal and some State Governments reveal a high scorecard on the state of their economies, yet the indicators are not in tandem with these claims. There are a lot of revealing realities that contrast with their Economic scorecards if the definition of sustainable development is taken into consideration. According to Amartya Sen, development lies in elimination of sources of un-freedom: poverty, poor economic opportunities, and repressive state etc. He talked about five types of freedoms; political freedoms, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective security. To his account, economic un-freedom can breed social and political un-freedoms that can further advance economic un-freedom. Therefore, it is not economic growth but freedom (achieved by eliminating sources of un-freedom) that is the principal end of true development.

In other words, the Federal Government borrowing for infrastructural development will only yield results if the loans are expended with transparency, and the social sector is also given priority attention. A hungry fellow would not mind vandalising and selling off government properties in the black market to feed himself and family. Hence, economic growth without corresponding economic development is a dead end.

Reassuringly, the World Bank said government of Nigeria had already taken important health, fiscal and monetary measures to contain the outbreak, moderate the recessionary pressures and start mitigating the effects of the economic shock. This, the Bank Country Director for Nigeria said, is important as it will determine the sped, quality and sustainability of Nigeria’s economic recovery.

The Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) is an initiative in the right direction to guide the Federal Government in achieving sustainable development. Just Like the ‘Marshal Plan’, Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan will stimulate the critical sectors of the Nigerian economy and prepare Nigeria for the new-normal. The Marshal Plan was a support program from the American Government to the depressing economies of Western Europe after World War II. The Marshal Plan was officially known as European Recovery Plan (ERP) and was worth $12 Billion in (equivalent to over $129 billion as of 2020). it operated for four years beginning on April 3, 1948. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall Plan.

The Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan will (i) stimulate the economy by preventing business collapse and ensuring liquidity; (ii) retain or create jobs using labour intensive methods in key areas like agriculture, facility maintenance, housing and direct labour interventions; (iii) undertake growth enhancing and job creating infrastructural investments in roads, bridges, solar power, and communications technologies; (iv) promote manufacturing and local production at all levels and advocate the use of Made in Nigeria goods and services, as a way of creating job opportunities, achieving self-sufficiency in critical sectors of our economy and curbing unnecessary demand for foreign exchange which might put pressure on the exchange rate; and (v) extend protection to the very poor and other vulnerable groups – including women and persons living with disabilities – through pro-poor spending.

Sub-National Governments can key-in and develop their blueprints to stir their Economies to safety. In Akwa Ibom State for instance, the Economic Reconstruction Committee came up with recommendations that could guide the State into sustainable development process. This has always been the desires of many Development Planners. However, while we applaud the Akwa Ibom State Government on this laudable initiative, a localized multi-sectoral approach should be adopted during implementation in order to eliminate expert views and agency capture. Also, other plans, frameworks, reports, and recommendations from various convergences and campaigns across various disciplines should be considered and incorporated into the recommendations of the committee during implementation. In my opinion, this is where the civil society comes in: there have been multiple recommendations from various Webinars and workshops tailored around the impact of covid-19 on the economy.

Still on the Marshal Plan. Accolades heralded the decision of the Akwa Ibom State Government to provide financial assistance to Ibom Air which according to the Information Commissioner ‘became necessary given that airline operations in Nigeria have been grounded for over three months, occasioning a revenue loss in the region of N4bn by Ibom Air’ https://akwaibomstate.gov.ng/aksg-disburses-palliatives-to-ibom-air-info-boss/ . This gesture should also be extended to Private schools, Transport Companies and Allied Enterprises to support their out of job staff this period. They are legal and organised private sector players in the state. Unvalidated data indicates that Private schools and Transport Companies contribute a greater percentage to job creation in the State.

On the interim, stimulation of the Akwa Ibom State private sector with economic palliatives could flatten the curves of unemployment; violent crimes like rape and banditry; internet fraud; prostitution; baby factory; and even Covid-19. This could be our Marshal Plan before the implementation of the recommendations of the Economic Reconstruction Committee.

Kingsley Aniefiok George

Non-Profit Specialist

kingsleygeorgea@gmail.com