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My Challenge; My Action Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Henry Ekwuruke, Nigeria Aug 2, 2007
Environment , Human Rights , Technology   Opinions
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My community development is one of the most pressing issues in my agenda as a youth. That is why I have no alternative but to work out the change, voice out and act. That is also the reason we should not pretend that we haven't got very major challenges to face or that it is going to be anything other than a very tough slog to meet these challenges successfully. I am going to spend some time narrating some steps I have taken to address some of these challenges and also to state categorically that I am optimistic that we can’t be defeated by these problems, though the needs of my people are so great, yet we must move forward and that, it is still very possible that brighter future with my generation putting their destiny into their own hands and working out their own future themselves for our own interest and through partnerships. Challenges are bound to confront us and our ability to confront it and winning is the peak of our success and when it happens we blow up our trumpets. Indeed, my community is a developing one and my ability to contribute to its development and growth makes me a bonafide member.

It seems I have done the introductory note but I really believe this is more of a personal achievements and activities of yours sincerely in making my community active, develop, be informed, educated and shine out.

First, let me start by saying that I have always worked with the policy word which gives my thinking, attitude and actions to my community development and solving its problems which I rather refer to as challenges: “you don’t talk about what the community will do for you, but what you will do for your community development” and my immediate community is Umuahia. Staying Alive Project is a project that has helped impact on the youths and women of my community, this project was designed to address, educate and inculcate the right values, ways and better avenues to keep the rural people informed about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It Initiated for change socially, morally and most importantly to address the “taboos of sex education” and talk up the problem that has held our community in pains and also divided, since it is an issue, it must be talked locally, thus helping solve the problem of sexually transmitted diseases by involving the people concerned and bringing the prevalence rate of the disease in my community to the barest minimum and it has succeed in improving the healthy people in my community.

Secondly, I have been able to contribute what I called my quota in employment through the Youth Empowerment for Employment (YEE), this programme which exposes the level of talents in our community youths seeks to empower unemployed youths and women to learn skills that will give them an edge and equip them to use their hands to create, example is the Art for Development initiative which sees young people and women learning Artistic works such as drawing, painting and sculpture making. Believe you me, this programme has affected largely and positively in the lives of our unemployed and ‘a new music’ has emerged for better, with most of the learners becoming their own CEOs.

Also, with the advent of the new technology of Global System of Mobile (GSM) Telecommunication, having identified the importance in our society and having come into my community, I utilized the advantages by empowering some unemployed youths and women who are ‘home managers’ to take advantage of the initiative to become Small and Medium Enterprise managers and it has been working. Again, not only do I contribute by empowerment, I had also written letters to the President of my country, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria’s Director General, Central Bank of Nigeria - Governor, my state Governor and local Government Chair and other important stakeholders on ways to solve the high rate of unemployment in my community and some of them have promised to take actions with some promising replies which I sometimes doubt about their seriousness, but in any case I believe we can so it. Some of the highlights of the letters stated below: “

Also, I am a part of my country’s Youth employment Summit Network and had just sponsored the youth employment review of my country as a coordinator in my community and it involved youths making their future themselves and making decisions that will become law to favor them now and in the future.

Third, poverty is a very sensitive agenda of problems confronting my community, making it history is a challenge because it is like a ‘surname’ to many people’s name in my community. Nigeria as a country harbours 150 million people with the majority living below the poverty line of above $1 per day and the minority holding the majority to a ransom. It is really quite unfortunate that this majority is found at the rural areas and is faced with the decision of ‘should I move to the city?’ Fighting poverty is like fighting HIV/AIDS, as I will always say, the duo are like sisters, they have and always occur concurrently. I am really involved in the UN Millennium Development Campaign and had signed many documents and letters to world leaders to fulfil their declaration to end poverty by year 2015. With my voices, I had been able to raise and organize seminars to inform my community of the need for their action and voices in the fight to end poverty and with great believe that empowering people through employment and allowing the person earn over (700 Naira = US$7) per day, is a development through the emergence of the Mobile Telecommunication and I believe that by intensifying our efforts, we are really going to make poverty history in my community, going by data, it seems impossible but by WILL, it is a reality and our work is to ensure no excuse 2015.

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Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke is Executive Director of the Development Generation Africa International.
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