Photo of the Author:

-Paul Ndukwe (Rev.) International Executive Director
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Link International Ministries
May 2016 Community Outreach.

During the month of May, 2016 we (Link International Ministries, Canada) were invited to collaborate with Global Children & Youth Rescue Mission by Abia State government to conduct a capacity building training program captioned "Structural Repositioning of Academic Performance of Primary School Pupil" for 170 primary school teachers drawn from the seventeen local government areas of Abia State.

The training was commissioned May 2, 2016 at the premises of The School for Professional Administrative Management Studies, Old Umuahia by the Hon. Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Charles Ogbonna who was represented by Chief Enyinnaya Iheanyi, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs, Pharmacist Iheanyi Agbai, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information, His Royal Highness Eze Dr. (Sir) John O. Onuzuruike of Elu-Elu Old Umuahia Autonomous Community who was represented by Mr. Godfrey C. Ndukwe and other government officials.

We held the program in three locations within the three Senatorial zones in the State. The first week (May 2-6) was at Umuahia South Local Government Area within Abia Central. The second week (May 9-13) was at Aba North Local Government Area within Abia South and the third week (May 16-20) was at Ohafia Local Government Area within Abia North.

The theme was broken into the following topics: Improving the Reading/Literacy Skills of Primary School Pupils; Foundations of Effective Management of Primary Schools; Stepping Stones of Literacy Development; Wisdom For Right Living; Socioeconomic Factors as they Relate to Moral Performance of Primary School Students; Effective Communication; The Teacher as a Servant Leader and Teaching with Passion with Students in View.

We cannot overemphasize the incredible comments most of the teachers made to indicate the positive impact the training made or had on them. Permit me to summarize the heartbeat of the teachers by mentioning few of their comments.

One participant said, "I am not exaggerating when I say that the program is the best so far in Abia State as far as "Teachers' Capacity Building" is concerned. I want to use this medium to appreciate our amiable Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for supporting and allowing teachers to participate in this seminar. When I was asked to attend the program, I was expecting as usual a large crowd of teachers, market people (who usually pose as teachers), local government workers, ten naira biscuits as lunch, one topic per day and a lecture method of teaching, the reverse was the case. I met a few of real classroom teachers, no local government worker, no market women and not even the head teachers were allowed to participate. The resource persons were seasoned educators who had been classroom teachers, administrators, civil servant and senior government officers. I am referring to Prof. Mkpa A. Mkpa, Dr. Susan Woko, Rev. (Amb.) Paul Ndukwe our Education "Goodwill Ambassador" in Canada, etc.

Their participatory and grouping teaching pedagogy exposed me to a higher level of learning and teaching. We as teachers became teams of learners as well as teachers. I cannot wait integrating this teaching pedagogy into my teaching practice. These resource persons impacted so much that will not be forgotten in a hurry. My regret however, is the fact that not all teachers participated in this awesome program. I would request that other teachers be given the opportunity someday to participate in this focused and relevant conference".

Another teachers said, "I was contemplating on leaving the teaching profession due to lack of motivation from my employers and the constituency I represent, but this five days capacity building has not only reminded me that the children entrusted to my care are the future leaders of tomorrow but has also ignited fresh flame into my bones and imparted new skills into me. I am glad I am one of the participants of this great program. I am vigorously motivated to continue as a teacher, inspire the children, create in them the hunger for learning and help them develop the leadership potentials residents in them". Another said, "I have learnt that the children entrusted to my care must be respected, given the maximum attention they need especially those with learning disabilities. I identified different ways of communicating effectively with the children without intimidating or belittling them."

One common thread that runs through the comments of the participants is the need for continuity of the program so that other teachers within the State would receive the same training. Some suggested an increase in the number of teachers to be trained from ten to twenty and the training should be conducted twice a year.

We have no doubt that we made a positive impact on the teachers through the program. It is my belief that the teachers we were opportune to interact with during the three weeks training program will not remain the same. We have no doubt they will be much more competent and effective. Should they be allowed to implement all they were taught, their pupils, the schools and the constituency they represent and indeed the State that sponsored the training program will be transformed.

We immensely thank the Abia State Government for giving us the opportunity to conduct this training. Our services are still available for other people who wish to partner with us in improving the educational standard of our people. We thank and truly appreciate the facilitating role exhibited by all the Education Secretaries from the seventeen local government areas in ensuring the success of the program by making sure the teachers who were the target group duly participated. We must express appreciation for the level of responsibility demonstrated by the participants during the training. They made our task easy. Thank you all and we wish you success in your teaching career. May our paths cross again?

Community Development Project Report:

The community outreach which took place at Umuovo community old Umuahia, in Umuahia South LGA,on May 7, 2016 was well attend by members of the community, notable key stakeholders and individuals from surrounding communities, including those from Umuahia City. The main objective of the outreach was to attend to varying degrees of medical conditions based on clinical assessment, drug prescription/dispensing and prompt referrals where necessary- all at no cost to the beneficiaries hence Link International Ministries Canada has paid for all services. The drugs for the outreach were procured by Link International Ministries Canada and were supplied from Canada, excluding anti-malaria drugs which were procured in Nigeria by the same organization. Partners of Good Health Initiative Nigeria, provided the technical support at no cost to the sponsored organization (Link International Ministries), that established the partnership between the two organizations, and which resulted to a very successful outreach.

The exercise was grouped into three sessions- (a) Initial proceedings/documentation, (b) Health talk-dangers of self-medication and (c) Clinical assessment- diagnosis and drug dispensing. The team that participated in the outreach includes;

6 doctors, 3 Pharmacist, 3 Pharmacy Technicians, 7 Nurses and 4 support personnel.

After the opening formalities, presentations were made on the following two key areas;

SELF MEDICATION AND DRUG ABUSE- This session was anchored by a Pharmacist (Programme officer, Partners of Good Health Initiative Nigeria) who educated the beneficiaries on the dangers of self-medication and drug abuse, he highlighted some of the dangers associated with self-medication, prominent among them is drug abuse and its adverse effects, Renal, and liver failures, addiction and irreversible complications. He advised that nobody should be his/her own doctor and nobody should make his/her own diagnosis, unless the one trained to do so. He said that the rising cases of stomach ulcer, arthritis, kidney failure, lever damage etc. were as a result of self-medication and drug abuse. He said drugs are better procured using prescription from a qualified medical personnel licensed to prescribe. He also advised the participant to patronize patent medicine vendors with caution

PROSTRATE- This session was anchored by a Public Health expert. He started by explaining the meaning of prostrate in a layman`s term. He said that the prevalence of prostrate among Africans and Nigerians in particular is on the increase, especially among men above 40years. He said that unhealthy life style such as excessive alcohol; smoking, etc. are the major causes of prostrate. He said that routine medical checks remain the catalyst to early dictation of prostrate problems. The presentation was quite interesting and revealing as the presentation brought to bear the need for routine prostrate checks among adult males especially those above 40years age. At the end of his presentation questions were asked and answers given accordingly.

Indeed the outreach was a huge success to the satisfaction of both the organizers and the participants. Principal Officers of Link International Ministries Canada and Partners of Good Health Initiative Nigeria who participated in the outreach rendered their services free of charge while the field teams of the organizations collected only transport fare which was paid by Link International Ministries Canada.

Click on the photo below to see photos taken during the program.

Paul Ndukwe (Rev.)
Executive Director, Link International Ministries

(click photo for gallery)