Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) pledged to partner with the Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Fund (BEDTF) in the execution of some projects in the state’s public schools.
Prof Mondy Gold, President of IDC stated this when he led other principal officers of the council to engage the BEDTF in a virtual conference.
Gold said the council was pleased to work with the Bayelsa agency to actualize its lofty goals as government bureaucracies often hinder the process of attracting diaspora projects back home.
He noted that IDC comprises Ijaw professionals cut across several countries of the world and were eager to contribute their quota to the development of Ijaw land, and promised that the IDC would use its wide network and members’ commitment to attracting more development partners to the state.
Also speaking, the Vice President of IDC, Mrs Antonia Garner said the group has the capacity of attracting more philanthropic organizations to Bayelsa as it serves as the nexus for living in the United States of America, Europe and other Continents of the world.
She lauded the BEDTF for articulating projects that would impact the lives of young Bayelsans, noting that was standing in the gap of the state government to provide matching grants for projects that would be attracted to the state education sector.
In her remarks, the chairman of IDC, Gesiere Brisibe-Dorgu said with proper synergy the proposed projects were feasible, adding that the success of the proposed projects would bring fulfilment to the IDC, the state and the Ijaw nation at large.
Speaking on water and sanitation issues, she urged the Bayelsa government to formulate laws that would prohibit open defecation and waste disposal in the river which remains a major source of potable water.
Brisibe-Dorgu noted that Ijaws were lagging behind in the comity of tribes in the Nigerian nation, stressing that any effort geared towards tackling the problem should be given the needed attention.
The chairman of the BEDTF, Prof. Turner Isoun applauded the IDC for embarking on numerous projects in several communities of the Ijaw nation.
Isoun, who was represented by Prof. Francis Sikoki, said the quest for partnership with development partners, groups and philanthropic organizations was in line with the law establishing the EDTF.
He said the challenges confronting the state education sector were enormous for any government to shoulder alone and requires collaboration from well-meaning bodies and organizations.
He explained that the vocational training being proposed was fashioned according to the required skill sets for companies, industries and the labour marketplace, adding that building, plumbing, carpentry, welding and fabrication for the oil and gas industry and tourism and hospitality are some identified skills needed to make youths to be meaningfully engaged to check social vices and unemployment.
In her presentation, the Executive Secretary of the BEDTF, Alice Atuwo, said the proposed projects include the construction of science and technology laboratories water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, sick bays and capacity building for Technical, Vocational and Education Training (TVET) programmes, which are designed to complement existing structures in the education sector.
While lauding the IDC for demonstrating a genuine commitment to supporting the programmes of the BEDTF intended to improve the standard public schools in the state, she stated that the agency was committed to providing counterpart funding for projects to be sited in the schools.
Atuwo pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had further exposed the need for e-learning and the establishment of e-libraries for schools in remote communities in the state.