This area is also an area full of many paradoxes. This area produce over 80% of the entire wealth of Nigeria, being the oil producing area of the country, however, it also has very visible, high level of poverty.
It is to this Niger Delta area of Nigeria that the SELL Team made up of Leo and I took the SELL Programme from the 25th of January to the 12th of February 2013. In all, we spent a total of 18 days in this region, covering Four States in the journey while working with three different groups.
The journey started with our arrival at the Family Life Centre in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. There, we worked with the group called Friends of St. Patrick. This group supports the work of St. Patrick Missionary Society in Nigeria. The Unit of the SELL Programme that Leo and I shared with this group was the Justice Unit. 42 participants took part in the workshop. For them, it was a time to discuss and share their experiences on some of the challenges they face in the society. They reflected on the way society is structured and how unjust structures in the society helps to perpetuate injustice. Among the sessions and simulations that were used in the course of the workshop were the Newspaper analysis and the diamond framework of analysis which was used to explore the oppression of women in the society.
Participants in the workshop were grateful to the SELL Team for our sharing the unit with them. They hoped that the learning from the workshop will help them to understand more social issues in the community and help them to work for a more just society.
The next stop for Leo and I was the ever busy city of Port Harcourt in River State of Nigeria. We are grateful to Mr Uche, a member of the friend of St Patrick who gave the duo a comfortable drive in his car from Uyo to Port Harcourt.
In Port Harcourt, we worked with the young people of Woji Estate in Woji community, Port Harcourt. The Workshop in Port Harcourt started on Tuesday 29th of January and ended on Sunday 4th February. With this workshop, the young people of that community have taken all six unit of the programme. Therefore, at the end of the workshop, they were awarded the certificate of participation by the Foundation. The two units of the programme shared with the young people were the Community Building and the Justice Units.
After the work in Port Harcourt, Leo and I went on then to Bomadi, via Yenagoa in Bayelsa state of Nigeria. Bomadi is a town by the side of the river Niger in Delta State of Nigeria. The young people in the town had organized the SELL Programme for their young people and those from neighboring communities along the creeks.
The workshop began on Thursday evening and closed on Sunday Morning. The unit covered with the young people was the Self Awareness unit of the SELL Programme.
According to the young people who participated in the workshop, this was exactly what they needed. The Self Awareness Unit of the SELL Programme helps young people to explore issues around their life story and assist them to reclaim their self worth.
The young people, in the course of the workshop, shared very emotive experiences from their life. In this shared learning experiences, they realized that these experiences that we all have had in the past have influenced to some extent what we are today, and that the choices we therefore make today will influence what happens and the experience we will have of tomorrow.
By Monday the 11th of February, tired from all the journeys but delighted by the work that has been done and the number of people that we have shared the programme with, Leo and I started our journey back to Bauchi.
We are very grateful to all the people who open their doors to us, providing us with warm hospitality. We are also very grateful to the young people who took time out to organize the workshop locally. We look forward to working with you again.
For the SELL Foundation Team.