Friday, July 21, 2017

Nigeria and Farming; the Importance of Agriculture


Nigeria and Farming; the Importance of Agriculture

After the discovery of oil in Nigeria, the country stopped investing in agriculture and decided to rely almost solely on income from oil.  Even then, agriculture remained a primary activity of the majority of the rural people in Nigeria. Many are subsistence farmers, farming primarily to survive, rather than farming for income. Ripples agrees with this article which highlights the importance of farming in Nigeria: http://ow.ly/M7x130c8bjK


To help women grow food to feed their families and teach them to grow food sustainably without degrading the land, Ripples will be flagging off RIPPLES FARMS project in Ogidi Nigeria, working with partner Universities in the US, Ripples Farms will include a Business Incubator Centre where 2000 women and 1000 youths from 20 villages will be trained by our partners on Agroforestry, Permaculture and Business.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Going Healthy



This week we wanted to give you a little bit of a break from all the sad news around. We know you already care about women empowerment and development in Africa simply because you are here on our page, so we know your heart is in the right place. Now let's talk about ways to make sure your body is too.

Recently here at the UK office we have gone on a bit off a health kick,  going to the gym, cutting down on biscuits and eating fresh produce. We want to emulate what people in Africa do best,  eat and live on fresh produce. It has been hard but we’re getting there,  we want to update you about the few lessons we learned:

On eating better:

  • Oreos have tons of calories.
This might not be a revelation but we found it so incredible that sometimes the tiniest of snacks can pack enough calories to throw us off course on our diets. We have learnt that maybe it’s better to have tons of delicious grapes rathen than 2 sad, old biscuits.  We have learnt a lot of lessons from the women on our projects and one of them is going back to basics and eating fresh produce.  Please see the infographic below on what 100 calories look like.

  • Home cooked all the way.
OK,  this has been hard as none of us here is a chef,  but cooking at home gives us control of ingredients and makes us aware on exactly we are eating.  Making meals at home and bringing them in means healthier AND cheaper meals for the whole week.

Consider this,  a little bag of plantain chips here in the UK will set you back £0.70. Ok, that’s not too bad but you can buy 3 whole plantains from the market at £1.00 and you control the cooking process. So instead of frying them you can bake or boil your plantain for a lighter option.

On using natural products:

  • No chemicals.
I  have always used coconut oil for my hair and skin but since I started working at Ripples we have been introduced to black soap. I am not about to overestimate the effect of these in my life,  skin feels baby soft.; and the eye-opening experience at my first experience using shea butter.

  • Replacing old habits.
I love eating cake myself . They have a special place in my heart and tummy so I am always keen to find ways to make my cake eating habits less unhealthy. A friend recently introduced me to vegan brownies and they were delicious coconutty parcels of joy so I have attempted my own non vegan version with coconut oil. There are tons of ways to make food healthier like  swapping cream for yogurt in cooking or biscuits for nuts.

All in all! We have learned one thing,  natural is always better whether that is in food or healthcare.

If like us,  you are attempting a healthier more natural regime  there are a couple of things you can do now.
  1. Get yourself some fresh vegetables and fruit.  
  2. Go to our Akomi page to check our natural range of skin care.
  3. Smile! It’s not all doom and gloom. If the women on our projects can give us a big smile so can you!

Jellen Olivares





















Friday, November 4, 2016

Displacement in Nigeria



Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, countless women and girls abducted and children drafted as suicide bombers into Boko Haram. Up to 2.5 million people fled their homes, 2.2 million of whom are internally displaced and 187,126 crossed into neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Boko Haram stronghold is the North; anyone not complying with their very violent, inhumane view of the Koran is at risks. Whether they are of muslim faith or not.




Fig. 1  Boko Haram stronghold


According to the Internal displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that there are almost 2,152,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Nigeria as of 31 December 2015. It is hard to determine exact paths of displacement but there has been a doubling of the population in certain areas from the influx of displaced persons from the north east where violence is ripe. Maiduguri,  in Borno state, an already deprived area is currently facing difficulties providing for the influx of IPDs. IDP camps have been set up there to receive victims of conflict.


Fig. 2 Paths of displacement

Whilst international attention has tended to focus on Boko Haram’s brutality, inter-communal conflicts, flooding, desertification and forced evictions have also caused significant internal displacement.

Although insufficient, both the Nigerian authorities and the international community have focused disproportionately on north-east Nigeria. This leaves other already deprived areas  in the south to fend for themselves. From projects on ground we receive reports of incredible hikes in food prices and fluctuating currency that makes it hard to budget.

The situation in Nigeria is difficult and ever changing,  what is important is to remember that when the cameras are turned off people stay behind.  We at ripples do what we can, we know it can never be enough but we try to do our bit for Nigeria.

If you wish to help us please donate via our Total Giving Platform.

Thank you!

Jellen Olivares



Friday, August 12, 2016

Our International Internship Programme



Julien is studying International Business in France. He was an intern at our UK Office during the last 4 months. Watch this to find out what are our intern missions here!

If you want to be part of a great humanitarian project, do not hesitate, just do it. Everybody has so much to give and some people somewhere in the world need your help.

 

Being an intern at Ripples Foundation UK


Flora is a french student who did a Fundraising internship in our UK Office for 4 months. Watch her story and see what you can achieve as an intern with Ripples Foundation!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Insights from Nigeria : Health and Heights


Kwaku took part on Ripples Foundation's projects in Nigeria during 2 months and he is about to finish his trip as an intern on the 5th of August. Read more about his fascinating experience in Ogidi below.



" One key objective of our internship in Nigeria was to join and participate in Ripples foundation’s medical MOT (outreach) program in Ogidi, a village in the Kogi state of Nigeria. I was particularly struck by the friendliness and warm hospitality that was extended to us by the people of Ogidi upon our arrival. Known for its famous igneous rock mountains, a traditional art industry and a deep tradition of self-reliance, I was anxious to have an experience of a lifetime in Ogidi.
The Medical MOT was very successful with almost the entire village people coming for free medical consultation and treatment-including the very old and young. What was even striking was the involvement of the youth mainly as volunteers in helping with organization of the clinic grounds to accommodate all the patients and helping the elderly navigate their way to the prescribers. The mass patronage of the medical MOT signifies how the people of Ogidi value healthcare and are working hard to get the village clinic up and running. Hopefully this happens by the end of the year.
Personally, the highlight of the trip was when I decided to challenge my inner self to climb one of the tallest mountains in Ogidi. I have never been a fan of heights but I wasn’t going to let an opportunity to explore one of the famous tourist attractions in Ogidi pass me by, and was ready to make the most of it. As Mark Twain once said “There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it.
Straight from the medical MOT grounds, in my regular jeans, T-shirt and sneakers (no professional mountain-climbing gear) I headed to the foot of the mountain with a group of ‘experienced’ mountain climbers, including my wingman, Dr. Abdurrahman who by the way was also about to do this for the first time-I couldn’t have chosen a better wingman."

" As I stood at the bottom of the mountain looking up, I almost had a change of mind and was contemplating on going back to the guest house to join the rest of the Ripples team for lunch. As I was contemplating chickening out, I heard a voice behind me asked “are you afraid to climb?” – I turn and see a young boy of about 10years with a cheeky smile on his face. The thought quickly disappeared and I mustered courage to climb. I could hardly see any trail but I followed the handful of young climbers up the mountain.


I tried my level-best to keep up with their pace but after about 15 minutes (400steps) I started panting heavily and felt oxygen gradually suck out of my lungs. I therefore decided to stop and take my first unofficial 5-minute break. I drank water to soothe my parched throat and decided to change my tactics, go at my own pace and climb in sets of 50, 100 and 200 steps increasing the number of steps in sequence. I rested for a few minutes after each set. I repeated this until I reached the official rest area of the mountain. I was not sure if the tactics I used was right but I was literally out of breath when I caught up with the rest of the climbing party. I barely had energy to drink water and I had a flashback of our discussion in medical school on how oxygen saturation reduces significantly as you climb a mountain- Now I was experiencing it! The whole time during our climb up, I was behind my wingman, Dr. Abdurrahman, who I must confess for a first timer, showed skill and technique at climbing (maybe it wasn’t his first time.one can never tell) "


" We rested for 15minutes and then navigated the remaining short climb to the summit of the mountain. Upon reaching the peak, all the climbers rejoiced (led by yours sincerely, my exhausted voice). The view was simply amazing! From the peak, I could see the whole of Ogidi village and beyond. I could also see blankets of clouds floating a few hundred meters above the other mountains. Soon it was time to watch the sun set. The view was breathtaking! It was definitely worth the lung and muscle fatigue.
It was then time for my decent down which started with very slow and careful steps partly due to the unbearable cramps in my thighs and legs. I will leave the full story of my decent for the next blog. "

Kwaku,
Ripples foundation Intern (June-August ’16)
MPH candidate ‘17
Washington University in St. Louis

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My experience as an Intern with Ripples Foundation in Ogidi, Nigeria


Chanarion is currently studying Public Health in the University of Washington and she went to Nigeria in June to take part in our Medical MOT Program. She also wanted to see a different culture. Read below about her experience. 






" My first exposure to Nigeria was enriched with the spirits and characters of the people living in the Ogidi village. As an American public health student, we study and read case studies and examine data regarding African village people, but to actually interact with those same people who were only statistics in our minds was a life-changing experience. Even though the village people of Ogidi lack essential amenities and have resource constraints, they find joy in life and are content, but not complacent. These are people that want better and will take the necessary steps to progress. Never have I witnessed such a high-level of oneness and unity among a group of people. With the occurrence of Ripples-sponsored Medical Outreach Program and the Ogidi Yam Festival, community support and community involvement were in full effect. With this oneness, no disease, sickness, financial constraint or amount of corruption can overtake this society. This oneness mentality will strengthen generations to come.

I have learned that when working with any population to improve health, you must build a relationship with the people- you build a certain degree of trust and feed their needs, not your personal wants. For the people of the Ogidi village to want greater access to healthcare, this will contribute to the longevity of not only the Medical MOT program but the health facility that is currently being completed. Having that community involvement and support will contribute to the sustainability and impact of any program. Key players contributed to the success of the Medical MOT program: the chief, prince, community leaders, local doctors and nurses and even the youth. With the community leaders displaying their full support, this indicates that the health of their people is a priority and they will do everything in their power to improve their citizens’ quality of lives."







"The highlight of my week-long stay in the Ogidi village was interacting with the young children during the Medical Outreach. I was quietly sitting under a tree and I noticed that a group of kids started gravitating towards me. So of course being the person I am, I sparked a conversation with them. The conversation was a bit challenging since there was a language barrier but, with the help of Ms. Anne as my translator, the conversation led to the kids teaching me their language…which I failed at miserably. So I had the idea of playing a game, they’re kids after all- What child doesn’t love to play? First I taught them a hand game, referred to as “Slide,” and one by one, I taught the girls the sequence of hand movements involved in the game, as the other kids intensely focused on us, eagerly awaiting their turn. Then, we prepared to play one of their favorite games. We all formed one big circle and one young girl started singing the jingle, “Cinderella dressed in yellow…” and I instantly traveled back down memory lane. It came as a surprise to me that their game was in fact a game that was an all-time favorite among myself and friends in the neighborhood. It was a clear indication that this world is not as big as it seems.

The spirits of these children can withstand any disparity they may face. I am optimistic about the progression of this village because it will be in the hands of these children, whom will continue the work that has been done and help the citizens of the Ogidi village reach optimal health. 


I appreciate and cherish the relationships that were built during my week of living in Ogidi. I commend the people of the Ogidi village and I thank them for their graciousness. You all are in my prayers. "