The Uncommon Man

November 06, 2006

Networking in Nigeria

Monday, 6 November, 2006

This morning Ugo took us to meet the Executive Chairman of the Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze. We were ushered into his large office with a group of other people, waiting our turn on black leather couches. The Chairman listened attentively to a presentation by Ugo and myself about our work and the vision for a Nigeria Men‚s Resource Center beginning in Ebonyi State. He spoke about his commitment to innovative educational programs (such as his prison program and schools for the disabled), and pledged his support for our project. He then brought out a bottle of non-alcoholic wine to honor our visit.

Our next stop was to the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission where we met with the Chairman, Adeline Idike. She told us of her long commitment to women‚s issues, and that she is the only woman in her position in Nigeria. She expressed great appreciation for our work and invited us to join in the women‚s day activities later in the week. As with the village elders, we were offered the cola (a vegetable that looks like small green eggplants) with peanut butter, the traditional way of welcoming people.

The afternoon was spent resting, trying to send email and reviewing our plans for the first day of training. Then, Ugo took us to the home of her uncle and his wife, both of whom work in civil service. They treated us to some delicious food, and delightful conversation. Before we left they proudly showed us their snail farm, several large cages with scores of giant snail crawling among papaya leaves.

We topped the evening off reviewing the Attitudes About Masculinity surveys completed by training participants, and a heartfelt discussion about men and violence with the our colleagues from Zambia and Rwanda.

— Steven Botkin, Executive Director
Men's Resources International, USA

Posted by Daniel at November 6, 2006 07:12 PM

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