Thank you for visiting the blog for Ipaja Community Link (ICL), a small community-based organisation in Lagos, Nigeria, working towards creating a prosperous, healthy and empowered community in Ipaja.

The main activities of ICL are:
- skills vocational training for women and young people in basic cooking, sewing and bead-making
- youth and community volunteering
- community health education, awareness and support
- community care initiatives

ICL specifically aims to support and empower women, people living with HIV/AIDs, young people, and orphans and vulnerable children.

The following information is representative of the work of ICL and reflects the views of staff, volunteers and those that ICL are working with.

ICL is working hard to make poverty a thing of the past in Ipaja - no one in the community is asking for a handout; they are simply looking for ways to make their lives better, to provide for their families and to secure their future. For more information, please call 0702 969 8523, 0706 155 0665 or 0705 636 9269 (or add +234 if calling from the UK) or email icl@difn.org.uk.

Please read on... (and here's a tip: it might be best if you read from the bottom, for older posts, to the top, for newer posts)...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Ipaja Community Link: what are we all about?

Ipaja Community Link (ICL) is the main partner of Development Impact for Nigeria (DIFN). DIFN is a registered UK-based development agency establised in 2000 and is run by UK-based Nigerians. In 2002, DIFN created ICL in the heart of the Ipaja community, Lagos, to create viable and meaningful socio-economic opportunities for all in the local community and to encourage and empower the community to be socially responsible for their own development.

ICL is currently supported by two international bodies - Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Christian Aid - as well as DIFN in the UK and is working closely with Ayobo/Ipaja Local Government as well as other small community-based organisations in Ipaja. ICL currently has eight staff and is hosting an international volunteer from the UK for one year to assist with the development of the organisation and its programmes.

The main activities of ICL are as follows:
- Skills acquisition training: Women and young people attend daily classes for free, learning new skills, such as catering, basic cooking and bead-making. The classes are facilitated by two trainers and the programmes last for 5 months. The trainees receive small business training and support to enable them to set up and run successful small businesses within the community following the completion of the course.
- Youth and community volunteering: Volunteering provides the opportunity for youths, young adults and professionals to contribute to the development of their own community. The volunteers engage in activities such as supporting vulnerable people in Ipaja through working in collaboration with a local agency supporting the elderly and a small health foundation supporting mothers and babies, peer education and mentoring, fundraising as well as assisting with other ICL programmes.
- Community health education, awareness and support: Local training for teachers, along with youth volunteers, provides the basis for the community health education programme. Teachers and volunteers will educate primary school pupils on basic family and community health values through the Child-to-Child programme and educate secondary school pupils on issues of healthy relationships and sexual health, focussing particularly on HIV/AIDs. ICL also runs a monthly support group for women, young people and children affected by, and living with, HIV/AIDs providing voluntary counseling, advice about testing and drugs, donation of food packs, and educational support.
- Capacity building workshops and training: Following the establishment of close working relationships with the Ayobo/Ipaja local government, ICL aims to provide training for staff, members of other community development organisations and faith grup leaders on community development issues, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the eradication of poverty in the community.

Whilst most of ICL's activities fall under these categories, other programmes in development include:
- Youth apprenticeship programme to place 100-200 unemployed youth with local artisans/crafts persons as apprenticeships.
- Diaspora volunteering initiative programme to place UK-based Nigerian professionals on short-term placements on short-term placements in Nigeria in the areas of youth and community work, social work, education, community health, social policy development and local government administration.
- Ipaja entrepreneurship centre to provide on-going business development support, through workshops and mentoring, to all trainees and other members of the local community ensuring that all self-employed businesses have the best opportunity for success and to sponsor 40 unemployed graduates per year on a one-month entrepreneurship programme at the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (part of Central Bank).

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