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)...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

What are you doing or what can you do? Development Impact for Nigeria, Diaspora Workshop, 14 May 2009, London

On Thursday 14 May, over 25people interested in development awareness issues in Nigeria, mostly Nigerian Diaspora, gathered to hear about the work of Development Impact for Nigeria (DIFN) and its main partner, Ipaja Community Link (ICL). Ade Fashade, General Secretary and Trustee of DIFN, said "The presence at the event was very encouraging to us all at DIFN and ICL. DIFN is determined to continue to support the great work going on in Nigeria in making a difference in society. Although the bulk of the work is concentrated in one small, deprived local area of Lagos, the work could, and has, begun to be a template for further development, poverty eradication and skills empowerment work in other areas of Lagos and beyond. To continue to sustain this, your help, both financial and in kind, will continue to be most valuable to our work."

As the international volunteer with ICL, I shared what we work we have been doing in Ipaja - from empowering women and training teachers and youth volunteers, to supporting orphans and vulnerable children and people living with HIV and HIVS. The work of ICL is far-reaching. With more assistance, we could do even more. In partnership with VSO, DIFN would like to recruit individuals from the Diaspora in the UK to volunteer on 3-6 week placements in Nigeria, as either teacher trainers or community development professionals. This is an amazing opportunity to make an impact to the development of Nigeria at grass-roots level in both Lagos and Adamawa.

For more information about the VSO/DIFN Diaspora volunteering initiative, how to subscribe to our regular emails and newsletters, or to make a donation to our vital work, please contact Ade, in the UK, at difn.uk@googlemail.com, or Yomi, in Nigeria, on icl@difn.org.uk. Please do not forget us - your support and commitment will be most appreciated! As Ade says, the impact of the work of ICL in Lagos is just the start - let's work together to achieve much much more.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Youth volunteers and staff help to renovate ICL's new Youth and Community Resource Centre...

In April, ICL acquired a new office in Akinyele, Ipaja, in addition to the current office in Baruwa, Ipaja. Our main funders, Christian Aid, were able to secure the payment of the rent for a much-needed Youth and Community Resource Centre in Ipaja. Over the last few weeks, volunteers and staff have been working tirelessly to clean and paint the office before some of the staff can relocate here in May. This new office will become the hub for our youth, community and Diaspora volunteering initiatives, community health education work and our growing orphans and vulnerable children programme. Once the office is fully furnished, we hope that this will serve as a 'drop-in' centre for young people in the area. But can you help? Do you have spare computers to donate to the Resource Centre? Do you have any spare materials or books to develop our Library? We really need additional assistance to make sure this new office is a great success. If you have anything to donate, please contact Yomi on +2347029698523, Mercy on +2347069743615 or Jennifer on +2347056369269 or email icl@difn.org.uk. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Ipaja Community Link and NYSC - an exciting new partnership!

Back in March, Yomi, Coordinator of Ipaja Community Link (ICL), Tonye, one of our dedicated youth volunteers, and Timothy and Jennifer, Youth Volunteer Coordinators, visited the NYSC camp in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, to talk about the work of ICL in Lagos and the many benefits of volunteering. National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) is a mandatory one-year of service that all graduates in Nigeria, under the age of 30, have to complete. Usually corpers are placed in a different state to their state of origin and each year there are hundreds of thousands of corpers who complete this service. VSO and NYSC already have a partnership with the Corper Plus programme in Nasarawa and Kwara. There is more information aboutr NYSC here: www.nysc.gov.ng. As part of the NYSC placement, corpers are encouraged to volunteer as part of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) project. During camp, interested volunteers signed up to be part of a five-day intensive training programme around the MDGs and how they can actively become involved in their host community. I spoke to them about how ICL are working hard to meet all of the MDGs, even if this is in a small way, in a local community on the ground. Following this sensitisation session, ICL are now engaging corpers, who are based in and around our local government area, as volunteers with our community-based work on their once-a-week community development (CD) day. One corper, Dipo Ogunfeibo, aged 27, is regularly volunteering to assist at the local mother and baby immunisation clinic in Akinyele, Ipaja. Dipo told us that he is passionate about community development and has been challenged by the commitment of ICL staff and youth volunteers to do more in his community. The immunisation clinic, which exists to reduce child mortality and is synonymous with millennium development goal four, enables Dipo to have an impact in the local community by assisting with the registration of mothers and babies, handing out needles for injections and weighing babies. Dipo studied Eduation at Ile-Ife University, Nigeria, and is a Development Knowledge Facilitator on the MDGs, so he regularly talks to pupils in schools about poverty and development. He believes that peer education is key for young people - "if we plant these ideas in the minds of young people at an early age, they will tell their parents, brothers, sisters and friends about development, and hopefully become actively engaged with the issues as they grow older." Dipo is planning to provide some additional training for ICL staff and volunteers around the MDGs.