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Poverty in communities in the midst of plenty

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Brief report of re-sensitization and re-validation of facilitators and Community Development Committee (CDC) in Otutuama and Ophorigbala communities in Delta State by Aigbe Omoruyi GA, AAN.

Introduction:
The Partnership Against Poverty (PAP) is ActionAid Nigeria’s integrated development and community driven programme which recognizes that the fight against poverty can be won through unique partnership between all stakeholders, civil society, public sector and private sector.

The PAP programme of ActionAid Nigeria is engaging 12 communities in Delta State, all of these are hard to reach communities, with the face of poverty, only 8 of these communities have child sponsorship links, 4 of these communities are currently awaiting been linked.

Visit Background:
The team made up of ActionAid Nigeria where I represented the General Assembly and the partnering Organization (Envirumedic) took off from warri after a briefing meeting at the partners’ office on a 1hr 30mins ride to Okwagbe community, due to bad access road to the PAP community (Otutuama) we had to park the vehicle at Okwagbe community.

The road leading to the PAP community cannot be access at this time of the season by either a vehicle or a motor cycle (bike) the alternative was to go in by foot, between Okwagbe and Otutuama community, it took the team 1hr 40mins on foot walking (trekking) its was an exciting journey I confess. After the engagement at Otutuama community, the team left for Ophorigbala community, the journey which took 40mins on a motor cycle (bike).

The 7-member team had to pay over N3, 500 for the Motor cycle ride between Otutuama and Ophorigbala and back to Otutuama before the journey by foot back to Okwagbe community where we had left the vehicle.

In both communities the following was the resolve:
- The role of ActionAid Nigeria vis a vis ActionAid International was brought to the fore, the relationship with Envirumedic and the community was stressed. The need for AAN visibility was the focus
- Capacity Building of the Community was stressed, while emphasis was place on RIGHTS.
- In Otutuama Community, a total of 100 children are currently expected to be linked for the Child Sponsorship Program, only two members of the CDC are viable, whereas ten members exist.
o A ten-member CDC was nominated and affirmed by the community, they comprises five men and five women for equity.
o Issues raised by the community members were cleared and specify direction given with the aim of achieving success.
o The community agreed to send in their two facilitators (1 male, 1 female) for the first batch of training holding in Warri this month.
- In Ophorigbala Community, a total of 137 children are currently expected to be linked with the Child Sponsorship Program.
o Information regarding AAN was made available, as community members expressed fear over AAN and Envirumedic work in the community. The CDC and other community members were encouraged to support the process.
o The source of funding was cleared with the community, hence the delay with funding for the project.

Findings:
The State of Delta is characterized by indicators of a failed State; the Government of Delta cannot justify the huge resources available from IGR, the Federation account and other sources amounting to billions of naira. The people in these communities are living in a total abandonment from those responsible for their welfare.

Whereas, government’s major role is to provide social services such as road, water and electricity supply for the good of the people, the case in Delta lack the thinking of the poor. The dwellers are calm and cool, violence is not the preserve of the people, and they live in harmony with one another.

I commend AAN PAP, the two communities selected in Ughelli South Local Government Area for PAP is worth it, the communities are poverty stricken, the major tenets of necessity (Basic amenities) are far from the dwellers, the major source of income for the people are farming and fishing, the rivers are nothing to write about, crude oil flows on the surface of the waters, farm produce are poor. The children look malnourish and sick.

Recommendations:
- There is the urgent need to quickly facilitate the linking of the children in Otutuama and Ophorigbala.
- There is also the urgent need to a high level advocacy to the Delta State Government to immediately mobilize the contractors back to site and complete the access road leading to the communities with over 20, 000 people.
- Regular visit by AAN office is advised to keep hope alive in the communities.
- Increased sensitization and engagement of the communities is also advised
- General Assembly members should utilize this opportunity to familiarize with AAN PAP work most especially.
- These communities should be selected for the review team visit for internationalization process.

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