The Uncommon Man

June 16, 2008

Nigerian collegue wins Disney Grant

Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) in Nigeria, founded by our colleague and friend, Patrick Amah, recently won a Disney Minnie Grant. The following is a report, written by Patrick, about the awareness that the grant has inspired.

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebration

Peer Educators being tested on their knowledge of the Child's Rights Act for qualification to educate others.


Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) Foundation was awarded a Disney Minnie Grant to lead a community service campaign on Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebrated every April. It is the largest service event in the world. These grants support young people between the ages of 5 and 14 years old in planning and implementing service projects in their community. Disney Minnie Grant winners were selected by Youth Service America (YSA) and sponsored by Disney and in our own case, because of the importance of the service project, supported by the Afikpo South (Edda) Local Government Council in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

With 13 year old Master Chima Amah (an SS1 student of Teresa Montessori College, Afikpo as the Lead Youth Organizer - mentored by our organization), the GYSD 2008 celebration in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi State disseminated information on the Child's Rights Act 2003 in the rural schools/communities in the LGA; trained in-school youth and teachers to become advocates of Child's Rights protection in their respective schools/communities. Child's Rights Clubs were formed in the 10 pilot participating schools across the LGA which was inaugurated on the celebration day by Mrs. Cecilia Nkama who represented the Deputy Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Mrs. Dorothy Obasi.

130 school youth (71 males and 59 females) and 20 teachers (10 males and 10 females) participated in the training and were trained as Peer Educators on the Child's Rights Act after which the participating youth were tested (by written test) on the Child's Rights Act to test their understanding of the Act as a prerequisite to qualify them to teach others through their various Child's Rights Clubs.

8 Physically Challenged persons (youth) and 467 in and out-of-school youth were also present at the celebration and the leader of the Girls Guides in Afikpo South LGA who represented her organization.

The service project was generally heralded as 85% of the rural populace (including teachers) in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State never heard about the existence of the Child's Rights Act 2003. The Child's Rights Act 2003 was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003. From the year of its passage into law to date (April 2008), over 85% of rural in-school youth, their teachers and rural community members never knew of, nor heard about the existence of such law protecting the rights of children in Nigeria.

Our organization is therefore happy to be associated with Youth Service America who approved our application to carry out this very important service project especially Disney for the Minnie Grant awarded to us. We totally agree with the President of YSA who said "it is an honour to work with Disney who is committed to youth serving around the world. This yearly programme increases the scale and visibility of youth serving around their community and helps young people around the world play a leading role in addressing important community needs by giving their time, energy, commitment and idealism. It should be appreciated that millions of young people serving together in their communities, performing strategic service send powerful message of hope and healing around the globe."

We have also discovered that engaging youth in matters affecting them or their communities is a wonderful opportunity to encourage today's youth to be part of making our world a better place to live.

The Executive Chairman of the Local Government Area, Hon. Nkama, Nkama Ude had this to say "It is a great privilege to share with you ideas on how to advance these humanitarian services of protecting the rights of our children and this group must be protected as they are the people we will bequeath our future to."

Master Chima Amah (the lead youth organizer) had this to say in his address "We are gathered here to disseminate information on the Child's Rights Act signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, which has been passed into law by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly; thereby joining the countries and States that are concerned for the welfare of the child, as specified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Before April 2008, most children in Afikpo South Local Government Area did not know and never heard about the Child's Rights Act 2003 and that they have rights which must be protected. So, we are here today to celebrate this knowledge with the hope that it will propel Edda children to work harder in order to measure up and contribute in matters affecting them and their community.

"We are here to celebrate the planting of seed in the minds of Edda children that they have rights as well as responsibilities to the society, which if protected and adhered to, will surely make us (children) live more responsible and productive lives in order to become the better leaders of tomorrow expected of us."

The service project has come and gone leaving in its wake 3 landmark achievements in Afikpo South Local Government Area:
1. Getting the youth to come together as a team (for the first time) to plan and execute a service project that has to do with a matter that concern them now, and in the future. This has definitely opened a new horizon that they can come together to exchange ideas, plan and carry out a project on their own. Youth in Afikpo South now know that they are capable of making adults recognize their ability to contribute to self and community development.
2. The dissemination of information on the Child's Rights Act in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State Nigeria has not just popularized the Act but has caused the Local Government Legislative Council to pass the Child's Rights Act into law in the Local Government Area as required by law thereby making the LGA to become the first to pass the law at local level in Ebonyi State.
3. The Child's Rights Clubs members are now advocates and watchdogs of Child's Rights abuse in their schools and communities.

The following pictures were taken at the celebration!




Posted by at June 16, 2008 12:19 PM


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