On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the President of the Africa Caribbean Heritage Alliance (ACHA), Ambassador. Okama Ekpe Brook led her team to pay a courtesy call on his royal Highness, the Emir of Bwari, Alhaji Auwal Muhammad Ijakoro at his Palace in Abuja Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria. The purpose of this visit was to intimate the Emir and his Council of Chiefs about the successful completion of the Innovation and Reconnection Project (IR project), inform about the project achievements, encourage them on the need for building from where ACHA stops, and to express gratitude for the opportunity given to interact with the people of Bwari Local Area Council of the FCT.
ACHA, through its president, appreciated the Emir for granting permission to work with his youth and women. Ms. Okama Ekpe Brook used the opportunity to remind those present about ACHA’s objectives for this project which include providing access to social services in health and education and using arts, culture, edutainment and sports as innovative tools. The ACHA is about reconnecting Africa and the Caribbean through culture, sports, education, travel and trade. She recounted how the Emir granted permission to ACHA to operate within the area Council and how, today, the opportunity has snowballed into massive gains in areas of inclusiveness and empowerment of the youths and women of Bwari and more. The project is being handed over to him having come to its end. Ms. Okama Ekpe Brook nevertheless, implored those who would be in charge of the programme after leaving the scene to ensure sustainability and continuity is maintained, especially with the establishment of a Cooperative, called the ACHA Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society. This is an outcome of the project to help the people continue with their livelihood opportunities. In her words, “ACHA is always ready to come to your aid for guidance . We similarly need your support in reaching out to policy makers in influencing Baram sports, to ensure it is recognised as a standard sport and incorporated in school curriculum and sports festivals”. Amb. Okama Ekpe Brook ended her speech by presenting a memoire a booklet that encapsulates some activities during the project.
To further buttress the position of the President of ACHA, the representative to the Emir and Sarki Hausawa, Alhaji Dantani Dantshoho, who has keenly been monitoring the project from inception had a lot of praises for ACHA in relations to the impact of the project in the lives of youths and women of the community within the short time of interaction. He itemised many areas that the youths of Bwari benefited, some of which include payment of monthly stipends to ten volunteers for 2years, training of over a hundred beneficiaries in different skills like fashion designing, painting, shoe making, hair dressing and others. Honourable Saad, a stakeholder, and others present, who have been following these developments, not only endorsed highlighted achievements, but gave credence to the project. Alhaji Dantani concluded thus,” we have never had an NGO that stayed this long to see the light of the tunnel”
These outcomes, as captured by the President of ACHA the Sarkin Hausawa, Amb. Okama Ekpe Brook and other speakers at the forum, moved the Emir into requesting for those present to give resounding applause to ACHA for positively influencing his youth and women in his community. He promised support, in whatever ways, to ensure that the programme is upheld from where ACHA stops. He enjoins other organisations to emulate ACHA’S style in empowering youths and women and promised to support beneficiaries of the project. On the proposed building of a youth complex, he said, “ this should not be done by you alone, you will get the needed support in this regard and you have my blessings . Besides, my door is open to you anytime “ When the visit eventually ended, it was smiles all the way for both ACHA’s team and that of the Emir resulting from reflections on impacts of the project. Apart from this, management of ACHA was extremely excited that the INNOVATION AND RECONNECTION PROJECT which has been built on a solid structure was being handed over to a trustworthy hand.