By Egede Jonah Ode
As a young scholar and aspiring leader, it is my responsibility to make things happen where nothing is happening. Therefore, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I came to realize that this is the best time to prepare for the tasks that await us beyond the pandemic.
That’s why with the internet data that was given to us by RUFORUM, I have been able to continue with learning through online platforms.
I have been able to register for free online courses and completed most of them. Others are still ongoing. Many of the courses I have undertaken are on health and agriculture.
As a healthcare professional and agriculturalist, it is critical to note the relationship between agriculture, nature and health. This makes it important to encourage production and consumption of agricultural produce that is healthy.
With the monthly financial support from RUFORUM, I was able to buy and install a new cassava grinding machine in my community. This machine is used to grind cassava but also garri, a local staple in my home country Nigeria. Where I grew up from, cassava and garri are major sources of food and income for the local communities. Yet despite this, not many people have access to a grinding machine.
I have also used part of my stipend to expand my father’s agricultural output by hiring out labour to clear the land and plant the crops. This has greatly increased the yield and production, part of which is now being sold to generate income, while the rest is consumed at home.
My mother has also been able to use the financial support I have extended to her to buy palm oil in bulk during the surplus season, which she then sells at a profit when it is out of season.
Because of the positive feedback so far from the investments we are undertaking, I plan to establish poultry, piggery and goat farms, which will offer employment opportunities to the young people in the community. With more youth engaged in a productive venture, I hope it can contribute to reducing the current high rate of crimes in the community. These crimes are often as a result of young people not having productive activities to engage in, that can provide an income to them. Special thanks to RUFORUM for their continued support financially, morally and academically.