“I didn’t know it was possible for a community to be turned around development-wise in a short period until we became involved in V2P activities” says Chief Goddy Eze, the Town Union Secretary of Oba community in Idemili South LGA of Anambra State.
The health sector in the community had constituted a challenge at the beginning of the project, with the health centre being one of the priority needs identified collectively by the community. Talking about the baseline state of the health centre, Chief Goddy reports that: “The doctors did not always come, the nurses came when they like and the general look of the place was not encouraging. When our people don’t see anybody in the health centers, they painfully go to the neighboring communities or in the city for treatment”.
However, working also as a Community Based Monitor, he attributes the turn-around in government’s service provision within his community to the efforts that have been made by members of the community to advocate and engage with local and state governments. The project through partner, JDPC Onitsha has provided capacity building training and support/mentoring for advocacy, monitoring and reporting government projects as well as facilitating links between communities and the relevant local and state government authorities.
Using new skills gained, Oba and at least 47 other communities are engaging effectively and regularly with government for service delivery. Two years into the project, active citizenship which the project is promoting is leading to significant changes that positively affect the lives of community members.
“With the training on advocacy, engagement, monitoring/reporting, we started seeing government projects as our own and then we begin engaging service providers both at the local and state government with the supports of JDPC”. Chief Goddy adds.
“Today, I am proud to announce that the government has refurbished our two health centers. There is a resident doctor in the quarters built. Government gave us a deep freezer and installed solar transformer at the hospital. We also have a visiting doctor that comes along regularly with nurses that are always there. There is also regular supply of drugs and other medical facilities like treated mosquito net which the community helped distribute. There is a maternity center opposite the health center which in now merged with the health center while the maternity building is now transformed into rehabilitation center for PWDs. The other health center in Umuoko-Oba has been given generating set and upgraded too. We are all happy for the development and are looking forward to more deliverables”.
Oba community has continued to conduct advocacy for other issues within the community such as the on-going engagement with the LG chairman and works department because of the bad state of the roads which link the community to other communities in the State. They are confident that the improved skills they have received would continue to enable more development within the community.
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