Creating solutions to real-life problems is one of the Prikkle Academy’s goals. While everyone talks about the problems and how to solve them, we think and act otherwise.
We work with children and youths in African communities to start with ‘what they have, rather than what they lack’ – exploring their gifts, skills, talents, past achievements and community assets, then using these strengths, to tackle personal and community challenges.
We believe that children and youths should have agency in their own development, and solutions, from the idea stage to implementation. One of the processes with use for this is called ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).
Afon, in Nigeria – one of the communities where we work has a lot of assets – accommodating people, rivers, land for agriculture, produces cash crops such as cashew, headquarters of Asa Local Government, primary and secondary schools, associations, and so on.
Despite all these assets, there is a major challenge – electricity! Electricity is not a constant (sometimes unavailable for many days or weeks), the community is always left in a blackout during the night, and only a few people that can afford a torch (flashlight) would be able to go about some of their activities.
The majority that cannot afford a flashlight will just call it a day and suspend their unfinished businesses till the following day, this surely leaves them less productive. Now, think of children that would have loved to read before bedtime or have a great time with their loved ones, all that is almost impossible.
Musa Sheriffdeen (a participant at Prikkle Academy makerspace) and Jamiu Balogun (a Prikkle academy member), decided to come up with an idea, looking at the assets in the community.
Providing Electricity should be the responsibility of the government and energy companies. Yet, they thought, ‘what if we can create a little solution to this problem, that makes a difference?’
Within 1 week, they decided to build a torch from waste bottles, cartons, wires and switches and lights from condemned gadgets). ‘Wow! This is out of the box’, they all thought.
“What if we reach out to the schools in this community and guide the children on how they can also build their torch from scratch, with the same materials thrown to the bin daily”, Jamiu suggested. After all, if children can create their own flashlights, that means there will be light in more homes when there’s a blackout.
They notified a primary school and decided to start with, NYSC nursery and primary school, and they were welcomed wholeheartedly. They implemented this project on the 23rd, of November 2023.
Their expectations were met and surpassed as the school management cooperated with them and the pupils reacted positively. The children were informed before D-day to come along with the aforementioned ‘waste’ materials that will be needed for the project which the majority of them brought.
Prikkle Academy members (Jamiu, Sherifdeen, Atanda Shafau andAbdulsalam Ibraheem) also went with treasures in the guise of ‘waste’ materials available at the makerspace.
After two hours of guidance from the team and careful practice by the children, they were divided into six groups for peer-to-peer learning and co-creating their flashlights together, each of the six groups was able to build a torch from scratch.
The project was a success as the majority of the pupils can now confidently build a torch from scratch, leveraging the materials they previously considered as waste.
Surely, everyone can now afford a torch at little or no cost, which will also help them achieve more daily. Quite interesting to see an asset-based approach to solving problems in action!
What are you doing with your gifts, skills and community assets?
How are you working with children and youths around you to find their talents, gifts and uniqueness, then use that to create solutions to the challenges they experience?
If you will like to join us on this journey to learn how to create small solutions, that make a real difference in your community, click HERE.
Do you want to donate to Prikkle Academy, so we can continue this empowering work? Please, click HERE.
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