His Royal Highness, and Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Jubrin Tanko, hosted management of the Africa Caribbean Heritage Alliance (ACHA) at his Palace on Tuesday, the 26th of January, 2021. In his speech, he expressed appreciation, specifically for choosing Kuje among many Local Council Areas in Abuja FCT to execute the INNOVATION AND RECONNECTION PROJECT, for a good job done by the organisation and thanked God for its seamless completion and thus far and the ongoing transition of the programme into a Cooperative Society.
The visit created a platform for the Gomo to share his perception of ACHA and how impactful the INNOVATION AND RECONNECTION PROJECT was. In his words, “there are some NGOs that do not meet terms of engagements, but as regards this, ACHA is different. The non-compliance in implementation of terms of agreement discourages local leaders and community chiefs from forging partnerships with Civil Society Organisations. Also, if other organisations and the government could influence like this, then the problem of this country would be minimised “. He listed observable areas of impact which included payment of monthly volunteer stipend, creation of safe spaces for the youth and women of Kuje, economic empowerment, sports and entertainment and the creation of the ACHA Multipurpose Cooperative Society of Nigeria among others.
The Gomo further praised the Kuje beneficiaries and volunteers of the programme for maintaining considerable level of discipline all through the programme. This was premised on the fact that no negative reports about their conduct was issued by the organisation. In addition, he was proud of the growth they his communities had achieved through the programme as highlighted by the Volunteer Coordinator, Yusuf Abdulmalik. The Gomo particularly noted that instead of ACHA to give a speech on the outcomes of the project, following convention, the Volunteer Coordinator from Kuje Community did so himself. This commendable pattern, not only showed confidence but transparency and great leadership skills.
In line with success stories related to the project, the Kuje Volunteer Cordinator, Mr Yusuf Abdulmalik profusely appreciated ACHA for deeming it necessary to earmark Kuje as one of the choices to work with among many Area Councils, noting that “ working with ACHA has been an eye opener. Apart from how the project impacted us, both economically, socially and culturally, we have learnt more significant lessons on interpersonal, leadership and management skills. On the impact, we have countless areas to mention but I will summarily mention the areas of skill acquisition which has made some of us financially self-reliant. We have learnt that we can achieve a lot from using local materials to create different types of products like clothes , shoes, bags, jewelleries, foods, music, dances, sports, and other contents that can be sold to the world to earn income on the one hand, and promote our Gede and Gbagyi cultures on the other hand, he continued. For all of these, we have ACHA, VOICE and OXFAM in Nigeria to be thankful”. He also recounted testimonies of what rights holders are doing and believes that the ACHA Multipurpose Cooperative Society of Nigeria done for the volunteers and rights holders by ACHA’s management was a perfect icing on the cake. A few others spoke to corroborate this position.
Finally, the president of ACHA, Ambassador Okama Ekpe Brook was thankful for the opportunity given by the community to work with the organization in a collaborative and result oriented manner. She commended the conduct of Kuje volunteers and rights holders and the discipline with which they responded to the project implementation and any challenges that arose even during the pandemic. She encouraged rights holders to maximise opportunities derived from the project and replicate such where necessary. She is hopeful that when the piece of land promised by the community is made available, a Youth Development Centre will be built for the community by ACHA.
Some major highlights of the visit were presentations of a document containing pictures of some major events done by ACHA and a trophy won by Baram players in Kuje during the Arts and Sports Fair.