How Mobile Phones Can Break Barriers To Community Empowerment In Rural Nigeria

When you hear the word ‘rural’, what readily comes to mind?

Most people think about subsistence agriculture, poverty, lack of access to social infrastructures like roads, hospitals, education, and water and so on.

But this is not always the case. At least some organizations that work closely in these communities would give you a different picture.

Prikkle Academy (Prikkle Educational Initiative), a non-governmental organization looks at rural communities with a different perspective. They focus on the assets, the education and the past success of rural communities. They use these strengths to empower young people to become active citizens and community builders.

They launched a project called #CollaborativeCommunity earlier this year by zooming in on the local potentials in Mbagishi, a rural community in Vadekiya Local Government of Benue State, Nigeria. They started out with 40 participants.

Using the Asset-based community development (ABCD) approach, they worked closely by looking at individual’s gifts, the power of associations and the importance of institutions in rural communities.

After an intensive eight weeks of capacity inventory, it was clear that the community is rich and has abundance of different skills, natural asset, community bonds and agricultural produce.

After that, the team explored how these assets can be used to benefit the people. One of the questions they asked themselves was: “How can we translate people’s knowledge and education into tangible social solutions?”

To mobilize these community assets for development, they focused on one of their agricultural products– groundnuts and maximized access to mobile phones in creating something profound.

Here is how it happened:

Prikkle Academy got one of their virtual facilitators, Miss Grace Opoola, who knew how to make peanuts from groundnut to facilitate a session over the phone with the participants in this rural community.

For an hour 40 minutes, using a discounted calling package, they successfully spent ₦100 to make this training possible. This is definitely innovative! They have removed the overhead costs of training, there is no information overload, the learning is specific and tailored according to the participants’ requirements.

One of the key lessons worth noting is that people, especially in rural communities, have the resources they need to sustain livelihood.

 

For more updates about this work:

Please visit website www.prikkleacademy.org, follow on twitter @prikkleacademy and like their facebook page www.facebook.com/prikkleacademy You can reach out to Prikkle Academy on +2349080078110 or email info@prikkleacademy.org

RuralReporters.com is a news platform with in-depth coverage of under-reported issues in rural communities in Nigeria and across Africa. We report on Agriculture, Health, Women and generally on Rural Development. To pitch a story idea or submit a report, please email: editor@ruralreporters.com

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