ActionAid group ends social development intervention in Ebonyi amid testimonies –

An ActionAid agency, the Participatory Development Alternative (PDA) has brought various forms of development to several communities in Ebonyi State, improving the lives of over 14,400 people in communities across the state, including including women, children and people with disabilities.

The PDA program was mainly focused on education, health care; water, sanitation and hygiene; economic empowerment, nutrition and capacity building to meet residents’ demand for basic civil rights and basic principles of community development.

At the learning and closing meeting, held at Monabliss Hotel, Abakaliki on Wednesday, marking the end of the programme, community and individual beneficiaries thanked PDA for sharing testimonies on the positive impacts of the initiative on their lives .

Sharing her testimony, a fourth grade student, Favor Ogbuinya, noted that in addition to providing a borehole for her school, PDA and ActionAid helped them with school materials and taught them personal hygiene.

In an emotionally charged voice, little Ogbuinya said, “They provided us with recreational facilities for the children.

“They gave us school uniforms with books and writing materials, and whenever they come, we will always benefit from so many useful things in our education and in life in general.

“All I want to say is that PDA has done us so well, and I say thank you to them.”

To back up Ogbuinya’s testimony, Ebonyi State Universal Education Council Secretary Dr. Gabriel Uju, who represented the President, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor, added in an interview: “They made so many things about Ebonyi State, and we are here to enjoy them..

“I’m particularly concerned about what they’ve done in the education sector because that’s where we represent.

“First, 4 local government areas were involved: Abakaliki, Izzi, Onicha and Afikpo North, and 16 communities were involved.

“And in those 16 communities, they did a lot of things.

“They have built so many boreholes in primary schools in these communities.

“They also gave so many teaching aids.

“They also provided 604 desks to these schools and they built many blocks of classrooms ranging from 5 to 10 rooms.

“There are other things they have done, like advocacy to make sure there is an increase in schooling, especially for girls.

“We can’t thank them enough, and want to assure them that we will do our best to ensure these facilities are protected and maintained, as sustainability is very important.”

Uju however called on ActionAid to make the program with an expanded scope to cover more local government areas.

Others who spoke, including Agnes Oshibe, Veronica Nwambam from Ovuoba community in Abakaliki local government area, as well as Oscar Elechi from Amikpo community in Afikpo North, recounted of role the different elevations that have been given to them and their communities by the program.

While Nwambam recounted that the only school in their community was built by ActionAid as part of the program, Oshibe noted that the economic and capacity empowerment of the program has elevated his status and that of his peers in the community, thus freeing from domestic and other constraints. forms of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation.

In her remarks, ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Ene Obi, represented by Collins Iheanyi Chinyere, Finance Director of ActionAid Nigeria, chronicled some of the achievements of the program in the state, including the construction of schools , health centers and increased enrollment.

Obi said, “Over the past 17 years, ActionAid Nigeria has constructed 6 schools in various communities in Ebonyi State including a school hall in Amikpo of Afikpo North LGA; nine schools in Abakaliki, Onicha, Afikpo North and Izzi LGAs also received furniture to promote school perseverance.

“In addition to this, five communities now have access to quality health care thanks to the construction of health centers by ActionAid Nigeria.

“As a result, in all these years of work in Ebonyi State, our local rights program has helped over 10,000 children access quality primary education.”

PDA Executive Director, Chidimma Arukwe, in her welcoming remarks, explained that the poor and excluded population have enjoyed improved standards of living and dignity through mutual respect, humility, non-violence, gender equality, transparency and accountability which were the main mission of the organization, adding that the partnership with ActionAid Nigeria under the local rights program was at the root of the impacts.

She appreciated everyone who also partnered with PDA to make the project a success in the state.

“You have all chosen to be part of our organization because of a mutual passion for our common vision.

“Your passion has helped unite us, and the energy we have created has allowed us to achieve our individual and collective goals.

“Yes, we are here today because of so many true stories of change recorded over these years.

“With that, I would say with confidence that ActionAid and PDA have come, seen a conquered.” said Arukwe.

Messages of goodwill were received from other partners: SMEDAN, Ministries of Finance, Environment, Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Issues; State Universal Basic Education Board, State Emergency Management Agency, FADAMA and INEC, among others.

Awards and certificates of recognition were also presented to outstanding program volunteers and partners.

Joel C. Hicks