When you hear the word ‘rural’, what readily comes to mind?
You think about subsistence agriculture, poverty, lack of access to social infrastructures like roads, hospitals, education, and water and so on.
Prikkle Academy looks at rural communities with a different perspective. We focus on the assets, the education and the past success of rural communities. We mobilize these strengths to empower young people to become active citizens and community builders.
Our #CollaborativeCommunity project started out in 2016 by zooming in on the local potentials in Mbagishi, a rural community in Vadekiya Local Government of Benue State, Nigeria. We started out with 40 participants.
Using the Asset-based community development (ABCD) approach, we worked closely looking at individual’s gifts, the power of associations and the importance of institutions in rural communities.
After an intensive 8 weeks of capacity inventory, it was clear that the community is rich and has abundance of different skills, natural asset, community bonds and agricultural produce.
The next question that stare us in the face is, “how can we transform these assets to the benefits of the people?”, “how can we translate people’s knowledge and education into tangible social solutions?”
To mobilize these community assets for development, we took one of the agricultural products that the community produces – groundnuts. “How can we add value to this product? Where can we get information from?”
Electricity has not reached this community, there are no computers in any school and the internet strength is extremely unstable.
But almost every house has a mobile phone! – This is an asset.
Prikkle Academy got one of their virtual facilitators, Miss Grace Opoola, a Masters’ student, living in Lagos, Nigeria who knows how to make peanuts from groundnut to facilitate a session over the phone with our people in this rural community.
For 1 hour 40 minutes, using a discounted calling package, we successfully spent ₦100 (half a $) to make this training possible. This is definitely innovative! We have removed the overhead costs of training, there is no information overload, the learning is specific and tailored according to the participants’ requirements.
Our greatest lesson is that people, especially in rural communities have survived to this point – certainly, not without pain—but with ideas, education, will, hopes and other people, all of which we need to understand and appreciate in order to help.
Prikkle Academy have other projects that focus on bringing innovation and creative thinking to schools in rural communities such as turning trash into toys and so on.
We have also used plastic bottle to light up the dark thatched houses during the day which are all homegrown solutions to empowering young people in rural communities to use local resources to create sustainable social solutions.