Self Help Approach: a tool to Community Development.
Presentation by Mr Godsent Jomo at the 1st Edition of EPF Hangout this 17th Day of September 2021.
Self help approach to Community development means the individual and collective effort by a group of people directed towards improving infrastructures and quality of life in their community of origin or residence.
When we talk of self help, it revolves round those little efforts, contributions, sacrifices, etc that we make to help ourselves and family which in the long run help the entire community. These little things that matters include:
1. Constant remittance to our loved ones at home most especially our immediate family and those in need.
2. Contributing to issues and engagements of our Uwen or Egbele (the extended family).
3. Establishing your presence in the community by building your own house no matter how small and starting a business.
4. Supporting community projects.
5. Engaging in the cultural renewal of the heritage’s of the community.
Let me explain further:
1. The reason for our emigration far from our community of origin is for the purpose of a brighter future and comfortable life for ourselves vis a vis those we left behind at home including our parents, friends, old school mates, extended family members, etc. If God eventually make our lives better in the cause of migration or sojourn in the world of works, we should constantly look back to our root and stretch a hand of assistance to those in need. Charity they say should begin at home. Our parents should be a top priority because they gave birth to us. No amount of exposures, new friends or religious affiliations should make us forget this our first duty. If you can eat, buy cloths, rent a house and enjoy in wherever you are, also remember about your loved ones back at home who rely and look up to you as a source of hope and support.
No matter how little you earn and how comfortable you are in your life journey, also remember those you left behind who are not as educated and fit as you are. Always remember that their formative effort and sacrifices made you what you are today.
2. Contributing to issues and engagements of your Uwen or Egbele (Extended family): Egbele means your extended family members including your uncle’s, auntie’s, cousins, nephews etc. This is your second constituency that you should try and extend a hand of fellowship to. The children you are raising today with love, that was how your uncle’s and aunties grew up with love among themselves. Despite the fact that they now live apart, that family bond should continue as it was in their time when they lived together under same roof. The brotherly love should continue. It was the white men who told us about uncle’s and auntie’s. In the time past they saw themselves as one in love and unity.
3. Establishing your presence in the community by building your own house no matter how small and starting a business:
This is for your own good. It’s not ideal to live through life without having an olele in your ancestral land. An olele means a house built by you in your village. It could be small or big, bricks or mould but at least there should be an olele in your name. Many culture shares this belief. These little efforts by individuals make the community develop faster. We should not have the fear of the unknown as a hindrance in achieving this feat. No man is God. The creator gives each and everyone the power of self preservation. No one can take this from us. It’s just in the mind that you think you maybe harmed if you show yourself in the village. The day you see others as capable of harming you is the day you lost the power that God gave you. God has not given us the spirit of fear. He has given unto us the spirit of power, the spirit of love and of sound mind.
4. Supporting community project: This is the Cruz of this presentation. Why I delve into our individual contribtion to community development is to relive the old adage which says “build the man, build the community”. It is the individual that make up the community. When we develop ourselves and families, we develop the whole community.
However the communal development is needed to take the town or city to another level.
This is an effort made by a group of people to effect positive changes to their land of origin. In practical example, Ewu Progress Foundation (EPF) can be used as an item of studies in this. Since inception over 4 years ago, EPF has been doing something in that line. EPF took over the running of a library that was closed that today, Ewu is the only community in Esan land with a functional community library. EPF spearheaded the purchase of security equipments for the Ewu Vigilante and Neighborhood Watch. EPF has organized sports events, established a farm and hosted two editions of the Famous Ekpebua House in which issues of community development were discussed at length.
This is just a quick summary of what can be achieved if we are United for a community cause.
Apart from the TY Danjuma Foundation’s supports toward the reroofing of the Ewu Community Library, EPF till now has not received any form of support from the government or other private donors. All of the above were achieved through self help via contributions by members towards every cause. It’s a manifestation of the fact that we can achieve so much as a people through self help approach.
5. Engaging in the cultural renewal of the heritage’s of the community:
Our culture is our pride. Self help approach also means the need to help in reviving our cultural heritages to international standard. We should not forget to promote our language among our offsprings to keep the candle burning. Culture is not paganism. No matter our religious affiliation, we should be concerned about our culture and traditions including language, dressing, taboos, education, norms and values of our land of origin and we should try to bond with our family members to protect and preserve the family tree. Families makes of the world and the bond should continue.
In summary, I will roll up the presentation by reinstating the need to always think and contribute to the development of our community by remitting to our loved ones, building a house to establish your olele, contribution to communal effort like in the time of old when we gather to help each other in building a house or doing farm work
My forecast for Ewu Kingdom is that Ewu have the capacity of becoming one of the most developed city in Africa and even over taking big cities like Benin and Lagos in the nearest future. Our location placed us at a higher advantage over others. Ewu being a transit point to the major commercial centers of power in Nigeria – Lagos, Abuja, the East and Niger Delta, I see Ewu with very tall skyscrapers, industries, banks, etc in the nearest future. The onus is on us to contribute our quota towards the actualization of this dream. Lagos was a fishing camp when Benin was already a big city comparable to Lisbon in about 1440 but today, Lagos is a mega city. Ewu also has the potentials of this kind of accellerated development. Thank you.