…as ActionAid flags off 10, 000 tree planting programme
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – WOMEN, children and youth of Gofidna community in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, at weekend, hailed ActionAid Nigeria, over social interventions made in education, advocacy enlightenment, and business empowerment.
Speaking on the intervention by ActionAid Nigeria, the women leader of Gofidna, Zainab Rabiu, who was elated, expressed appreciation and gratitude over the concern and love shown by the international humanitarian organisation in her remarks.
According to Rabiu children in the community were faced with the herculean task to attend primary and secondary schools as they trek and risk their lives over three kilometers, which in the process lost some children to car accidents along the busy Abuja-Kaduna Highway in the bid of crossing it to get to Zuba, a sub-urban town to attend their classes.
She further stated that the community under the leadership of Sarkin Gofidna, Alhaji Ismail Tukura, pulled local resources together to build three classroom blocks then and was completed by ActionAid Nigeria, before AMAC took over and transferred some teachers there.
In the midst of been appreciated by the Sarkin Gofidna, chiefs, women, youth, and children, ActionAid Nigeria flagged of its 10, 000 tree planting campaign in the community as part of advocacy and promoting protection of the environment to mitigate climate change.
The Board Chairman of ActionAid Nigeria, Dr Jummai Umar-Ajijola, lead other members of the Board and General Assembly to plant 35 trees in the community at different locations including 10 mangoes, 10 guavas, 10 oranges and five pears.
According to Ajijola it marks the beginning of the 10, 000 tree planting programme nationwide and is a five year action plan, “we intend to plant at least 10, 000 trees in our communities and this is directly also linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
She further stated that a lot of empowerment work has been done on the women, a lot done on training in the ICT, which all points to achieving the SDGs, which as ActionAid nigeria, would not want what happened with the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, to happen, rather Nigeria as a whole to attain if not all the goals, at least 70 – 80 per cent of the SDGs.
Speaking was the Women Leader, Gofindna, Zainab Rabiu who said, “We are very grateful to ActionAid Nigeria for their timely interventions to ameliorate our plight. Firstly, they gave us the women sewing machines after we acquired the skills in fashion design designing.
“Secondly, they built two classroom blocks and head teacher’s office including school toilets for our primary school. our children trek three kilometers everyday to go to school at Zuba, and by so doing lost three children.
“We the women have been trained on several skills also, where we are transported out of the community to the venues for training. Although the sewing machine was not enough to go round we had to buy our own after the training and when we make money, we can pay for our children school fees or use the money for food, look good, and feed properly. They gave us borehole water and took off the burden and harrowing pain of trekking long distances into streams and rocks in search of water.
“Our joy also is that ActionAid Nigeria is an organization that feels the needs, pains and desires of people like us, and as a result we have been receiving enlightenment and education on how to manage our resources to take care and maintain our spouses and children including peaceful co-existence in our families.”
However, the women leader made some requests which she spoke with deep concern for provision of electricity, health care delivery facility, and others
“We want electricity, hospital and good access road because most women encounter child mortality as a result of lack of accessibility to hospital. It takes a long time and distance for them to get to Zuba from this axis, which we lost about five women and three children this year”, she said.
Also speaking was the youth leader of Gofidna community, Tukura Al Mustapha, who acknowledged the impact made by ActionAid in the life of young people in terms of ICT training and budget implementation tracking, human capacity building, and others.
“We started 2009, though we have been working with ActionAid Nigeria over five years before the project started that is 2003/2004 when we started working with them. I could remember it was June 3, 2003 that they came to Gofidna community.
“In terms of girl-child education also, we use to have a notion that girl education is not important but with the coming of ActionAid Nigeria and Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, have enlightened us, therefore more than 20 girls in this community have completed their secondary school education now. While over 10 are in higher institution, two have graduated from higher institution and the girls are very happy”, Mustapha.
Meanwhile, according to him girls are more in school than the boys in the community and it is with the help of ActionAid Nigeria, but demanded for more computers to be brought to the community as they have the largest number of young people who are into ICT than any other neighbouring communities.