Volunteer for social good

I recently came across a blog post by a young British lady who decided to volunteer in a northern Nigeria village. She was on a gap year and thought spending time helping rural families could be rewarding.

Her journey during the three months period was full of adventure – learning, growing and participating in lending hands to others. Her contribution was primarily to help educate on better farming techniques. She was with a group.

She detailed her journey on her blog – very inspiring.

After reading the entry, I wondered what these young people see to make them want to volunteer in a place like Nigeria that Nigerians that are a bit better off do not see.

Dynamics of Nigeria people is vast, so in general one hears about how much wealth Nigeria has, on the other we learn that more than half of us live in abject poverty.

Growing up in rural Nigeria, I don’t particularly grew up thinking I had the most difficult life, because most people around me are just very much the same – Food, clothing and shelter more or less taking care of and on top most children in my region stay in school – quality of education is another topic.

It is always intriguing chatting with people from different parts of Nigeria, especially people in rural areas, it helps to better understand different levels of challenge people face to survive.

Not so long ago, my niece went to a three-day outreach program as part of her National Youth Service. It was in a remote village of Jos.

On the trip they brought along used clothing mainly Youth Corpers old uniforms, then medicines and other supplies. Medicines and supplies provided  by the state government.

Villagers gathered in the only primary school to collect these give-aways, even fighting over the used cloths. Medical trainees testing and diagnosing illness with lots of people being referred to the teaching hospital for immediate help.

People in this village are primarily farmers and most work from hand to mouth.

Tola told this story as I was really interested, I wanted to know more what drove young Brits to wanting to lend hands to Nigeria rural poor.

So I asked Tola to compare this village in Jos with the villages she has visited in southwest. She thinks the situation there was a lot worse in terms of health and basic needs.

There seems to be lots of similarities in the rural areas but to not extent that people can be so vulnerable and queue for free medicines like paracetamol and free food?  – not good.

How long would volunteers really help situation where basic needs become luxury?

Each of our states get allocations for various reasons which include maintenance of our roads for ease of business transactions, schools and probably water too for their local areas – what are these allocations spent on?

Not too surprising to find that the formal governor of this state only a few years ago was arrested in London with large sum of money and later impeached for defrauding his state of $9m – the rest is history as he was not prosecuted while in the office.

I hope for a day that every public officials in Nigeria is made to give accounts of what they did with their allocation not just on paper but on ground.