National Director Nigeria SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria
My Story, Our Story
After joining SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria in 2008 as the National Family Strengthening Programme Coordinator, may team and I were tasked to realign the existing Family Strengthening Programmes and design new ones in the country. This included redefining the scope, redesigning/adjustment of the entire programme for sustainability, majorly focusing on child development through family and community empowerment, whereby family and community capacity were built to enable them engage, support and lead the implementation of the programme themselves.
Realignment for better outcomes
The management team, family strengthening co-workers, children, young people, community stakeholders and other relevant actors as well as the village co-worker actively contributed to the entire process of the realignment of the programme. Together we reflected and gained understanding of the present situation, while also proposing and discussing likely solutions for programme implementation and sustainability. The process of alignment took place in two existing locations, while setting up of new programmes and designing commenced in Abuja and Jos respectively.
The goal of this process was to refocus the family strengthening programme (FSP) in existing locations and develop new programme using the right approach, so as to be able to show result and account to donors and other relevant stakeholders the outcome/impact of our programme as we implement the programme in the various communities.
The scope of the programme in each of the states where programmes were being implemented was wide and ambitious with overwhelming desire to reach more children and families. However, the programme did not define in clear terms its scope of coverage and no baseline information was available for measuring progress, result or for sound decision making in all the existing programme location. The programme was initiated with good intention, but the dependency syndrome was vicious at every area of intervention/service of package making it very challenging to convince experts or other stakeholders on the impact and sustainability of our FS programme.
Based on approval received from management to assess the existing programmes, the consultants were able to identify and engage relevant stakeholders. Children, young people and community leaders as well as other community based organizations were presented in the entire process and report of results.
Positive change based on assessments made
After the report has been submitted, we were now able to have baseline information to work with and restructure the entire programme, including the scope of the programmes, steering committees’ set-up, while community ownership started to rejuvenate, as the communities was able to organise themselves with each establishing a community based organization, as key implementations partner. Also, the leadership in these communities were now being responsible as they began sensitizing and providing means of identifying and supporting families whose children were at risk of losing parental care within the communities. The active participation of the community in the activity of the programme management committee was another clear indicator that the community are now taking ownership of finding solutions to the needs of children in their communities. The fact that we were able to achieve the critical foundational need for programme sustainability or realignment ignited motivation. This means that now, the community based organization/key implementation partner are now directly leading and implementing programmes in their various communities, while emphasis is based on family and community empowerment for sustainable child development, as a clear roadmap to ending or reducing to the barest minimum the inherent dependency syndrome. The fact that communities were now able to find out the hidden resources in their community and are now tapping on these resources while responding to the situation of their children was a significant leap. One of my flow moments was when community started leading the programme by taken actions that has always been driven by SOS. Interestingly, all the programmes are growing and developing along the part of sustainable change and meeting up to the dynamic nature of our world, especially as it relates to children development, family and community empowerment.
All these happened as a result of the active participation and engagement of all stakeholders notable the community, the government, children and young people, co-workers, management and the regional office staff, while also acknowledging that the challenges faced were dealt with using courage as a value to doing things differently, as against “this is how we have been doing it”.
is the National Director Nigeria at SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria.
His work is happiness to him, then, his motivation to work comes from within. Belonging to a family is the foundation of love, respect and security and from these he draws faithful inspirations. He drops a pointing word of wisdom: A family without its own unique story may not be complete. He loves nature. While it is the foundation for the work of our hands, it is in its own, filled with the marvels of relish and wonder. He lives in Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria and where life activities run almost 24 hours every day. The diversity of the country Nigeria, he sees reflect well in the multiethnic constitution of his own very family. These are equally great sources of motivation from within.