The HAWK Project

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oron Town-Hall meeting, a Huge success!!

For behavioral change to be induced, the locals have a big role to play. This indubitable mantra, which is in agreement with the local participation buzz in the development field, led YHN/CRARN with active participation of SSNCEF (Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation) to jointly organise a town-hall meeting at Oron, the most endemic zone in Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria on 20 October, 2009.

The result of the well-attended meeting which had the President of the Oron Town Union President, Chief Medekong and his wife in attendance, was ORON COALITION AGAINST CHILDWITCH HUNTING and an appointment of HAWK Project ombudsman, Mr Godwin XXXX for the area.

More on this later.

(Special Thanks to the HAMU, Norway Board that made this possible)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Battered Caroline rescued from her assailants!

Her name is Caroline. She is less than five years old yet she has spent the last four months of her life on the streets trying to move from one village to another in Oron area of Akwa-Ibom State to escape from those that seek her death. Her sins? She is an 'Ifot' (a witch)!

She has now been rescued and taken to the CRARN Center. The worst scenario played itself when we took Caro to a village near hers; we (volunteers of YHN, CRARN and Stepping Stones) were stunned to discover to our chagrin that the villagers asked us to take her away from them or be ready to take her corpse to the morgue. What a callous set of humans!!!

YHN, CRARN and STEPPING STONES collaborate on a town hall meeting in Oron

YHN has finally entered into talks with Stepping Stones Nigeria led by Gary Foxcroft on how to tackle the child stigmatization menace in Oron area of Akwa-Ibom State. The long talk took place on Oct. 16, 2009. Stepping Stones through its Project Director has shown interest in joining the P4D, Prosecution for Deterrence, program and also the town-hall meetings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

HAWK Anti-childwitch Advert hits the Akwa-Ibom airwaves!!

In the fight against beliefs such as witchcraft, we have realised that there is dire need for concerted efforts that will involve the media and the locals, hence the decision to take the enlightenment programme to the locals through the media. However, the favoured media based on our studies is the Radio. Hence, with the help of an award-winning broadcaster EssiET Esamme, also known as Rockyfella, we have been able to package a jingle in pidgin english and local Efik language. The ad is currently running on two popular radio programmes: Afternoon Ride and Abadie . (Special thanks to HAMU, Norway, the adverts will run from October to December, 2009)

HAWK Engages a Lawyer for its P4D programme!

To achieve one of our set goals, that of Prosecution for Deterrence, the board of the YHN, Nigeria in consultation with the board of the CRARN, Ikot Afaha have agreed to engage Barrister James Ibor Esq. of the Basic Rights Counsel, Calabar as the HAWK Legal Adviser/Prosecutor. For now, he will be assisted by CRARN Staff but by 2010 we hope to engage two local investigators/ombudsmen to assist him in getting the right information about the background of the abandoned kids that could lead to the arrest of their parents/pastors that proclaimed them as witches.

Although Mr James Ibor Esq. will offer the services as a pro bono HAWK will undertake expenses involved. Already, certain sum has been paid to cover transportation and library costs for him to join the CRARN lawyer in defending the Center in a case filed by the infamous leader of the Liberty Foundation Church, Helen Ukpabio. (The case hearing resumes on the 23 Oct. 2009).

And they were abandoned again!

While we were busy trying to put together the town hall meetings, about four chilkdren were brought to the center between Oct 1 and 5, 2009 by different groups ranging from a youth corp member, the police to a 'father' who cursed and abandoned his son at the market square in Afaha-Idung.

HAWK Donates Essential Materials like 6.5kva generator, fans, science books, etc

In line with the need assessment and agreement between the board of YHN HAWK Team and the CRARN Center, a brand new 6.5KVA generating set was donated to the center to assist the health and security concerns of the center.

We also donated a set of six ceiling fans, four OX standing fans, primary schools' science textbooks, junior secondary school mathematics, english and science textbooks.

We also undertook the wiring of a classroom building built by the Bristow Helicopters. All these wouldn't have been possible without the support of Humansist Actio for Human Rights, Norway.

A memorable Independence Day Celebration with the Kids

Members of the Young Humanistas Network, Ibadan had a nice time with the kids at the CRARN Center on the 1st of October, 2009. The event tagged "Happy Birthday, Nigeria" was observed to take care of the psycho-social needs of the kids. The cutting of the anniversary cake of Nigeria's independence and subsequent fun packed events that followed put smiles on the faces of the kids.

The HAWK/CRARN team also seize the opportunity to flag off the first phase of the intervention project being sponsored by HAMU, Norway.