Rebuilding Hope: The Nyakwala Community Restoration Program’s Journey Towards Sustainable Development
For generations, the village of Nyakwala has been agrarian and home to diligent farmers who sustain themselves by growing crops like rice, maize, millet, and guinea corn in the rich soil surrounding them. Situated in the verdant region of Northeast Nigeria, Nyakwala is located in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State.
However, in April 2014, a terrible tragedy struck the village, leaving a lasting impact on the community. Unidentified gunmen attacked the community which caused significant loss of lives, and properties, and, endangered the locals’ means of subsistence. This event reflects the current survival struggles of the community.
Yet, amidst the darkness, a beacon of hope emerged in the form of the Nyakwala Community Restoration Program, implemented by the Victims Support Fund (VSF).
At the behest of the elder statesman and Chairman of VSF, Gen. TY Danjuma (rtd), GCON, a comprehensive evaluation of the community’s needs assessment was conducted by Barr. Mrs. Toyosi Akerele Ogunsiji, who serves as the Special Adviser on Programmes and Operations of VSF, and Prof. Nana Tanko, the Executive Director of VSF, and their team of Programme Staff.
Launched in November 2022, the program took a comprehensive approach to providing sustainable solutions for the community’s livelihood. It addresses the immediate needs of victims while also looking to the future.
The program encompasses various facets, including crucial Health Support measures. One of the key endeavors involves the renovation of a Dispensary, which entails equipping the facility with essential medical equipment, medical consumables, and non-consumables. Additionally, the installation of a solar inverter is provided to ensure a reliable 24-hour power supply for the dispensary to promote maternal health.
Education Support forms another integral part of the program. Dilapidated classrooms are being reconstructed, and educational materials are provided to school-aged children, ensuring they have a conducive learning environment.
Recognizing the importance of restoring the community’s livelihood and aiding recovery, the program extends support to the farmers. By offering farm inputs like seedlings, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers, the program facilitates their return to the fields, empowering them to resume their agricultural activities.
The program also includes the establishment of the “T. Y Danjuma Industrial Rice and Maize Milling Factory.” With a capacity of 10 tonnes of rice per production day, this facility caters to the predominantly farming community’s needs. Managed by members of the community, VSF staff, and factory management, the milling factory provides training opportunities for the community members to develop the engineering skills required for the operation and maintenance of the facility. Profits generated from the milling machine will be reinvested into managing the facility, fostering self-sufficiency, and empowering the community to start their businesses.
Additional benefits bestowed upon Nyakwala through the program include the construction of a solar-powered borehole with 20 tap heads, enhancing access to clean water, and improving the overall health of the community. Furthermore, a fishpond has been made available, recognizing the community’s reputation for engaging in fishing activities.
The impact of the Nyakwala Community Restoration Program has been profound. Since its inception, the program coordinators reported a significant decrease in suffering, fostering a brighter outlook for community members. The program has also contributed to the overall well-being of the community, enabling many previously struggling individuals to launch businesses to support their families.
Ultimately, the Nyakwala Community Restoration Program has emerged as a lifeline for the community, providing much-needed relief and hope. With the prospect of sustainable development, the community is optimistic about its future and the transformative potential that lies ahead.