I was joined last Sunday by Dana Boals, the Director of Global Partnerships for Partners Worldwide. We left early Monday morning (4 am) for Nigeria. Our goal on this trip was twofold: one, to visit the East Kambara Area (EKA) of Nigeria, located in the North-West, where one of the two projects of Partners Worldwide, called Water Wins, is taking place. The second goal was to give a Training of Trainers to the affiliate leaders of the other project, called PCEN, on the business training curriculum of Partners Worldwide.
We landed in Abuja and were picked up by Jeremiah Yongo, the Nigeria Partnership Manger for Partners Worldwide, and began the 8.5 hour road trip north to the EKA. This trip consisted of about six hours on fair roads (West Africa standards) and the last 2.5 hours on terrible roads (56 km or 31 miles). Most of the trip was going through rural areas and small towns; the terrain was beautiful. You just can't capture it in pictures I did try.
The EKA is a very rural area, made of of many villages of a number of different tribes. The work of Water Wins is primarily to drill wells in these villages, coupled with latrines, immunizations, and evangelism. This project is somewhat outside the scope of what Partners Worldwide typically does, but the goal is to bring this area to the point where business development can take place. To date, 235 wells have been drilled and seven evangelists are working in these communities. The community members report a decrease of 50% of childhood deaths because of the work of Water Wins.
|1st community visited|
In discussing this later with Jeremiah, he told us about the long history in that area. This area had been subjected to Muslim slave traders over one hundred years ago. The particular tribe in the second community had resisted converting to Islam at that time, and fought hard to maintain their independence and safety. That resistance and insecurity led them to isolate themselves from the rest of the world, to the point that the children in that village, though living just 1/4 of a mile from the main road, had never been to the main road up to this day. Additionally, animist beliefs create a victim mentality as it relates to health, sickness, death, etc. - it is a result of spirits - so the adults tend to be less intentional or willing to explore proactive health choices. And the same resistance to becoming Muslim is now being applied to becoming Christian, therefore the freedom that Christ brings is not available to them, keeping them feeling continually subjected to the will of the spirits.
|PCEN Mkar Affiliate leaders|
|Jos Affiliate leaders|
|PCEN Takum Affiliate leaders|