KWASU CCD’s activities are carried out through three channels.
The first set of activities is carried out by the Centre as a unit. These are activities that are designed and implemented by Centre’s staff who are professionals in the field without any contribution from any academic staff.
The second set of interventions is academic-based. These are interventions which are carried out by lecturers as part of their roles as faculty members. CCD staff plays supervisory roles and support them from the beginning to the end of such interventions.
The last set of activities is done by students. Presently, the only intervention by students is the annual certificate in community development outreach. As part of the certificate programme, students are to finance and facilitate a community project in communities of their choice through the Centre’s guidance. Below are details of these aforementioned activities:
CENTRE’S CONSTANT COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
This is a continuum activity solely carried out by staff of the Centre for Community Development. As parts of the community, we understand the general plight and aspirations of these communities and we cannot ignore both the communities and their plight. Especially when capable hands are abound in our University.
Over the years, since a high level of trust has been built, communities approach CCD with different complaints and requests. And sometimes, through other activities of the centre which take us to communities, we get information about communities and their needs. To ascertain these claims, complaints and requests, we hold sessions with members of communities, right inside their communities. This assists in identifying with them their specific felt needs.
Having gotten the needed information through careful use of community mapping and profiling, we retire to our office to explore ways to solve problems identified in the community. Sometimes community needs are provided for them using local resources in the community. In some cases, we approach government ministries, local government councils or Special Assistants to the Governor. And in some instances, some needs are met by interventions from KWASU staff. Depending on the nature of what community needs are, providing for those needs are always achieved through any of the above platforms.
COMMUNITY HEALTH EXTENSION INITIATIVE (CHEI)
Through the CHEI, we reach out to remote communities that lack medical facilities. Our Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) who are trained practitioners travel on the Centre’s motorcycle to give health talks, conduct medical check-ups and diagnosis,prescribe (and if need be, also give) drugs and do referrals to more equipped facilities in Ilorin.
A typical example of such intervention was our engagement with GaaManso, a community in Moro Local Government Area. Our Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) visited the community for their normal community visiting routine when they noticed prevalence of Malaria in the community.Having noticed that, we ran malaria test on all less than 150 members of the community and we found out that 95% of the entire community tested positive to malaria parasite. We knew there was a serious problem, we went back to the office and drew our plans immediately.
From the Kwara State Ministry of Health, with the support of the then Permanent Secretary, we got malaria test kits which were even more than we needed at GaaManso. We approached some individuals in Ilorin (in this particular case, foreigners) to donate mosquito nets and we got some. KWASU clinic also donated more than half of needed mosquito nets. In company of our CHEWs, school clinic staff and lecturers from department of public health we invaded GaaManso.
Right inside the community we delivered health talks centred on the prevention and treatment of Malaria. After those talks, we demonstrated how mosquito nets are mounted and its maintenance. With the permission of the community members, female staff on board went into homes to inspect mounting of the nets in their various rooms. And after one month, we revisited the same community for monitoring and evaluation, the result we got was very pleasing as only three people were carrying malaria parasite. It was further revealed that all three missed our health talks as they weren’t available during our visit.
This is to show how we operate; we look out for where there are issues, we seek to know how these issues came up and how they can be addressed in a participatory manner, we approach contributors to problem solving ideas and we bring them together and ultimately those problems are solved.
CARE FOR THE ORPHANED AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC)
In 2012, we conducted a research on the Causes of absenteeism among primary school pupils in Kwara State: the case of Moro LGA. Our findings showed that, majorly among other things, poverty and ignorance are responsible for having young children out of school. Being an action research, to address this issue of absenteeism, we enrolled 13 children who had never been to school and re-enrolled 8 children who had dropped out of school. We provided them with necessary items; school uniforms, pairs of school sandals, books and bags. Their tuition fees were also paid. This marked the beginning of the OVC intervention.
When the State government got information about this intervention in the same year, the wife of the Governor, in person of Deaconess Omolewa Ahmed requested for more of such kids and we got her more. All in all, the number ofthe OVC rose to 51 and they were all adopted by her Excellency till date.
Aside these 51 kids, CCD, in 2015 conducted another research on the Challenges of Inclusive Education in Kwara State. This also unravels some kids with one disability challenge or the other. We came in contact with some children with special needs and five out of these children whom we also considered as vulnerable are on scholarship by the Centre. Four out of these kids are hearing-impaired while one is battling with visual impairment.
All of these children are being enrolled into different classes in the same school; Kwara State School for Special Needs Children. The Centre monitors their activities and reports to their sponsors every term.
WATER FOR ALL INITIATIVE
One of the most encountered and reported issues in Kwara State is lack of potable water sources, especially in the rural communities. CCD visits communities for needs assessment exercise and in most cases, lack of potable water is always at the top of community needs. Having gotten that, CCD reaches out to ministries, companies and individuals and enjoins them to come to the aid of such thirsty communities.
Donors sometimes deposit cash into the Centre’s bank account for drilling and installation of hand-pump boreholes and they most often times contract the drilling and installation to independent companies of their choice without any contribution by the CCD, aside leading them to the needy community.
We believe that assessing and addressing community needs are better carried out in the community with the community members at the centre of discussion. To achieve this, CCD as a matter of necessity sits with communities and in their communities to assess or address any issues of concern. On the invitation of interested communities, we meet them and in some cases, we call for meeting, depending on the nature of the issue. Issues bordering on health, security, education among others are always discussed in such meetings.
ACADEMIC STAFF OUTREACH
At KWASU, for the academics to earn promotion from one cadre to another, they must present evidence of successful community outreach project under the auspices of CCD. This means CCD must be part of it from the scratch, monitor it and ensure it is successful at the end.
To achieve this, here are some channels through which academic staff gets involved in developing our communities:
• Participatory Action Research
• Self-Prompted Community Outreach
• Enhanced Students’ Community Outreach Mentorship
• Fund Raising
PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH (PAR)
This provides a platform of partnership between our researchers and local people in addressing real-world challenges. Also known as Social Action Research, PAR promotes the exchange of knowledge and skills between stakeholders especially in self-discovery and increasing the capacity of communities. Hence, validity of research findings is assessed based on the extent of community engagement – through research design or planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Engaged communities eventually become ‘empowered’ to independently deal with other issues by replicating principles imbibed through PAR.
Examples of some successful action research projects funded by us include:
• Risk mapping for malaria episode and the assessment of the efficacy of long-lasting insecticide- treated bed net among rural communities of Moro LGA, Kwara State.
• Utilization of corn silk extract for the prevention and management of kidney disease among the people of Ogbondoroko Community, Asa LGA, Kwara State.
• Identification and mitigation of causes of primary school absenteeism in communities within Moro LGA, Kwara State.
• Sustainable conflict resolution among crop farmers and pastoralists in Kwara state.
Calls for PAR funding proposals are usually circulated once annually in different internal KWASU communication media. The selection process is highly competitive with each proposal carefully screened against specified criteria by an independent committee. Full disclosure of funding criteria is always made in keeping with the principle of fairness and transparency. Interdisciplinary collaborations are also encouraged.
SELF-PROMPTED COMMUNITY OUTREACH (SPCO)
Academic staff can volunteer their services to benefit any community pro bono. SPCO is different from PAR in regard as the latter is usually funded by CCD.
This platform runs throughout the session and is driven by the volunteer. Academic staff who wish to assist communities under SPCO is expected to share their knowledge or expertise with any target group or community. CCD enjoins the involvement of KWASU students in all outreach programmes carried out by lecturers and this is expected not to hamper their primary objective of being in Malete.
We have had a number of lecturers conducting a number of SPCO activities including:
• Volunteer teaching at schools as substitutes for incomplete staffing.
• Geological survey for borehole water supply projects.
• Facilitation of adult literacy classes in rural communities.
Outreach activities of the Centre are largely funded from external sources – essentially linking communities with donors. KWASU lecturers can be involved in this process by organising fund raising activities or by facilitating sponsorship of outreach initiatives by third party.
ENHANCED STUDENTS’ COMMUNITY OUTREACH MENTORSHIP (ESCOM)
Lecturers play a crucial role in the success of students. The ESCOM programme is designed to enable students apply, with professionalism, theories of various fields of learning in the community.
Although primarily student-driven, ESCOM Mentors are thoroughly involved in providing guidance across every phase of students’ community outreach projects – from planning through monitoring and evaluation.
A variety of initiatives are considered under this programme including community practicum integrated to KWASU academic courses as well as outreach programmes embarked upon by registered student groups on Campus.
ESCOM provides a veritable platform through which future drivers of emancipatory development are bred. It facilitates synergy among staff, students and external communities.
Examples of previous ESCOM activities include:
• Public and community health field practicum.
• Annual student projects in the entrepreneurship mentorship course.
• Computer literacy classes run by the student group – ‘ICT for Development’.
STUDENTS COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Certificate in Community Development (Cert in CD)
The Certificate in Community Development is a certificate course designed to explore the structure and practice of community development and spirit of volunteerism around the world. Participants who are exclusively our own students are drawn from both penultimate and final levels, regardless of their field of study. They are engaged in a critical analysis of different approaches to community development, their historical development and underlying assumptions. They gain an understanding of the structural and practical issues that promote or detract from the goal of community empowerment. These are achieved through class sessions-in form of lectures-and field trips to communities.
With the Cert in CD, we aim to produce students that would go on to make reckonable contributions towards achieving community development agenda – both locally and internationally.