Wednesday 26 February 2020

The MPK Foundation Reaching Out Through It's Programs To Foster Education!

Established in 2015, in memory of Mba Patricia Kanayo (late), a retired teacher, and my mother, the MPK Foundation is a Humanitarian Organization, set up to provide Social and Educational supports.

The Foundation grants full Elementary School Scholarships to underprivileged children, thereafter supports them with necessary skills acquisition or vocational training.

We equally grant high school scholarships to exceptionally intelligent children.

In addition, through free weekly sessions, we engage community children aged between 2-15 years on: Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening skills, to better develop their English Language proficiency. 

Each lesson objective is achieved though the employment of- games, puzzles, matching activities, coloring, poetry, story telling, learning songs and their meanings in different languages and pronunciations.

Overall, Lesson deliveries are guided by well mapped out plans, and thought-out: Engage, Study and Activate stages. These, have facilitated better freer-practice of target language by the learners.

Our learning session:

In an interview with the Program coordinator, Obianuju Mbanusi, she disclosed that the foundation was established in 2015, in honor of her mother: Mba Patricia Kanayo (Nee Ononye), who was a retired teacher, from Asaba- Delta State - Nigeria.

On why the reading club was included in the scheme:  Obianuju said: The English Language is undisputed-ly a predominant language across the globe, for business, academics or leisure purpose. It is also the basis of all other subjects, since they are taught in English. Nevertheless, there is a huge gap in it's proficiency, which in turn has affected it's correct application despite being the lingua franca in most countries. This is evident in the challenges encountered in the effective flow of communication at all levels, and low scores in national, regional and major International English Language tests like - the Ielts, SAT, Toefl etc.

This situation has daunted the progress of most young people living in third world countries, especially the underprivileged whose parents cannot readily afford to send to schools that offer quality education. In the Nigerian context for example, good formal education is like a prerogative for the rich. If one's parent is not financially buoyant, the chances of getting a good education is slim.  Hence, you are left at the mercy of what the public schools can offer, which in most cases is a far cry compared to what could be obtained in some private schools or internationally. For this, the MPK Foundation introduced its Reading Club where, using acquired skills from my training in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), I teach children in my community the English language free of charge. This is what makes us different. I believe every child, irrespective of their parents or guardian's financial strength, has a right to quality education.

On what inspired setting up the Reading Club: Obianuju answered: My motivation came from my mother. Although, the reading club was established in 2019, two years after she passed, the whole idea started in 2015, when she was still around, with our first beneficiary. You see, notwithstanding the fact that we didn't grow up with lots of money, my mother ensured we had the best education she could afford, by supporting our formal education with home-coaching. Being a teacher, it was kind of easy for her. Also, she got us enrolled at the community library. We (I and my brother) would borrow books on different genre, read and return them after two weeks. Over-time, this helped develop my imagination, my love for reading, and learning about new things.

Why the Reading Club was introduced 4 years after the Foundation:  I decided to introduce the reading club in 2019, which was after my TESOL training in London, United Kingdom. By then, I felt empowered to do so. Although my training was focused on teaching adults, I have been able to design lessons for young learners. This is achievable through profiling. Observing, taking note of each learner's progress and challenge(s) and planing subsequent lessons to meet identified needs. 

Do you teach only the English language? Not at all, English language is our focus, but we also teach Geography, where we learn about places and people. We learn basic Mathematics, Ethics, about Plants and Animals, and about our Social environment. We learn Arts and Crafts as well. At the moment, we have few books in our little library for children to occupy themselves with. More so, periodically, we give out books as gifts to encourage reading. In all, the aim is to create a different learning environment from what they have at school, otherwise, the children will be bored. 

Do you teach all the children alone: I teach alone, sometimes I have friends volunteer to help out. Like a friend, Oiza, volunteers to teach the younger learners when she is free. She has been a lifesaver I must say. 

Challenges faced: Due to fund limitations, we are only able to enroll few children on our scholarship scheme. Also, a lot still needs to be done, in terms of getting a suitable place for the Reading Club and acquiring more learning materials. But we are making do with what we have and taking things as they come. I will also like to state here that the MPK Foundation is not limited to educational services. We are all about humanitarian responsibilities; we provide care supports to the less privileged and vulnerable.

Nigeria's Lower House Reacts To The Killing Of A Footballer By The Police!

Over the years, Nigerian citizens have been victims of obnoxious extra judicial killings by security personnel, chief of which is the Nigerian Police Force and Men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). Innocent people have been sent to their early graves simply because they wanted to defend their rights after being wrongfully or maliciously accused of crimes, by trigger happy Police or SARS officers.

The latest being the recent killing of a defender with a local football club, Remo Stars, identified as Tiamiyu Kazeem. He was arrested alongside another team mate, after been labelled as fraudsters, despite identifying themselves as footballers, the officers proceeded to convey them to their office in neighboring Abeokuta. Tiamiyu's death resulted in protests by residents of the Sagamu community in Ogun state, south-west Nigeria.

The Police responded by attacking and killing some of the protesters. Situations as this have led to great mistrust against the security force, the main concern is that these actions are often carried out with impunity.

Hearing session between the House of Rep and Police Chiefs.

There are glamours for the ban of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) with harsh tags like: #endsars, and a check on all security forces, all to no noticeable effect.

It is to this respect that members of the Nigerian House of Representatives held a public hearing with senior members of the force, to express their displeasure over these incidents, and examine ways to restore public confidence and make the institution more deserving of the true faith and support of the people.

While addressing the lower chamber, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated:

”In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun State has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the alleged extrajudicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian police.”

”Citizens who gathered to protest this killing were soon themselves at the receiving end of police bullets & this is not an isolated incident”.

”We can no longer stand for this, and we will not, this House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient”

”The first responsibility of the state to its citizens is to protect life and property, when the agencies we rely on to serve this purpose become predatory, they lose the faith of the public and become incapable of delivering on this responsibility”

"We must fix the Nigeria Police, restore public confidence and make the institution once more deserving of the true faith and support of the Nigerian people.

”We will not achieve much if we shy away from confronting the failures of recruitment and training, remuneration and welfare, responsibility and accountability that have left us with a national police force that is too often unfit for the purpose”. he stated.

According to reports, Tiamiyu Kazeem, popularly known as Kaka, was killed by a hit and run driver on Saturday, February 22nd, along the Sagamu-Abeokuta Expressway, after he was arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and was in the process of being taken to their office in neighboring Abeokuta.

The deceased: Late Tiamiyu Kazeem

Although the Police denied responsibility for Tiamiyu's death, saying the deceased jumped off the vehicle while being driven to Abeokuta with other people who were arrested, he was as a result, knocked down by an oncoming vehicle. The deceased friend and teammate, identified as Sanni Abubakar, who was arrested with him, said Tiamiyu was pushed out of the Toyota Sienna by an officer, before he was killed by an oncoming car.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Endangered West African Mantee Abuse- Nigeria's Environment Ministry Orders Investigation!

Following a recent video of young men, seen dragging an endangered sea mammal, the West African Mantee, in Delta State, south-south Nigeria, the country's environment ministry has ordered an investigation. This came about, after a group identified as the Blue Planet Society, on seeing the video, reacted via it's Twitter handle by contacting Nigeria's Minister of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, who in-turn, swung into action.

Embedded video
Photo source: @seasaver

There have been reports and videos of local fishermen capturing endangered sea animals for sales or consumption.

The action generated reactions from concerned Nigerians who twitted thus:

@obianujum: "Since lots of these sea animals are caught in our waters, why can't the agency responsible for preserving these species have a base in these areas.. so that in situations like this they can step in & save them.

These local fishermen'r just ignorant... not good@all."

Some more responses:

"Obianuju, your thoughts are more of a westerner than a Nigerian.
Sadly, in Nigeria, people with such responsibilities don't think like that".

and @BolanleMartin: "In Nigeria,who would finance it? National Geographic Wild?".

"In Nigeria? Where everything works".
"People are hungry. We see an endangered animal, they see food. We need to orientate people about keeping these creatures."

"We have them. The agency is in Abuja headed by one Alhaji that have never seen an ocean before".

@godsbeloved2015 · Replying to @obianujum @Gidi_Traffic and @BolanleMartin: "Do u think a government that has little or no concern for the safety and security of its citizens would care about saving endangered animals? Humans are endangered species in Nigeria."
@BolanleMartin: "They have not even taken care of humans and you think its this unlucky sea lion that they would care for?"