Friday, August 26, 2016

‘Sowing Seeds for Recovery’ in Northeast Nigeria

Aisha M. receives her share of seeds to be planted in
Gombi, Nigeria.
GOMBI, Nigeria: Aisha was home with her husband and children the day they heard that that Boko Haram was coming. The family left the village that same day, taking only what they could carry.

“We managed to escape to the mountains,” Aisha recalled later. “But many of my relatives who didn’t leave soon enough were killed.”

Three years later, Gombi and communities like it in northern Adamawa state remain devastated. All that’s left of Aisha’s house is a charred heap of collapsed concrete and corrugated tin. Any food is long gone. Farm fields are strewn with debris. Home for thousands of families is little more than space on the floor of a host neighbor’s house.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Explaining U.S. Elections

Cultural Affairs Officer Robert Kerr addressing Nigerian
 Turkish Nile University students
The U.S. presidential election is followed in Nigeria with some excitement, but also confusion.  The excitement comes from the volume of media coverage it enjoys, the fact that whatever happens in the United States affects many other countries, and also that the contestants are usually major players in the global space.  This year’s election has been a huge media spectacle with an estimated $10 billion spent on advertisements and the major players enjoying cult-like followership.

Representing Nigeria well

Tolu Alabi is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa.  She is a recipient of the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship.  Joseph Ekpenyoung studied math at Bates College in Maine and is now giving back by teaching math at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.  Daniel Akuma attended Kenyon College in Ohio and got accepted into the top eight medical schools in the United States.

What is common among these three young Nigerians?  They are all beneficiaries of the Opportunity Fund Program, popularly referred to as EducationUSA Achievers Program (EdSAP) of the U.S. Embassy Abuja.  The program assists highly qualified but low-income students to finance upfront costs of obtaining admission into U.S. universities with full financial aid.  One common feature of all three is that they went to public schools, including Federal Government Academy Suleja and Model Secondary school.