Day 11: Raising the roof…

Changed hotels today: no functioning wifi in the first hotel here and managed to find a more secure feeling hotel away from the main road and negotiated a really good NGO rate. Need wifi in order to keep in touch with the office and to be effective- even from a distance! 

To get there we cross Eket market: it's a big game of chicken… 

Met with Chief and Grace from our SSMS school to re-launch our Better Schools, Brighter Futures project. This will deliver a much needed school hall before the 2017 examination season, a computer centre and a farm to grow snails to sell.

These facilities will allow the school to develop diverse income streams by providing scarce resources to the local community. The protein the farm will provide is in short supply due to the devastating impact that oil spills have had on local agriculture. 

It's exciting to see the foundations of the school hall- the building has a footprint.

Thanks to our funder, Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, we expect the building to be constructed to roof level before the rainy season begins in earnest in May. It will be impossible to do much from then until October but the roof will go on before Christmas allowing windows, doors, electrics and plastering to take place with the building due for completion by May 2017. 

The children are elated! 

We spend the day project planning, reviewing timescales for implementation and discussing our new strategy.

We learn about the current challenges for educators in Nigeria and put together an outline for what we want to achieve together.

We've been looking at how we measure the impact of our work and one of our supporters based at Lancaster University has introduced us to the concept of 'most significant change'. We really like this and are introducing it into our reporting templates for the work with street children and the schools projects. 

We spend time discussing this carefully with Grace and Chief. By the end of the session I think we've already got loads of rich information, which makes me excited to think about how to use this when I get back. 

My most significant thoughts today?

Grace and Chief are both volunteers, they retired some years ago. Grace was a head teacher, Chief a secondary school teacher. Both should be taking it easy but took a decision 15 years ago to start a primary school based on values of humanity, dignity with a strong child rights ethos.

With your help, we've been supporting them for over 10 years making sure the most vulnerable children in the area go to school. Some of these children have disabilities that other schools refuse to accommodate; others have lost one or both parents. They’ve faced poverty, deprivation and many have lived on the streets, forced to fend for themselves.

These leaders have transformed their local community by modelling and demonstrating that compassion can succeed.  

Not for the first time on this trip I'm deeply humbled by the sacrifice, compassion and personal commitment these people show in their daily lives to carry out this work.

Truly inspirational.