Ogun Community Tackles Recession, Empowers Youths

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ANUOLUWAPO COMMUNITY IN OLAMBE, suburb of Ifo Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State is quiet and peaceful but the settlement is far from being sleepy.

Most of the residents are people who migrated from the bursting city of Lagos to own their properties and make a living. With the exception that the community like others around it, have electric poles to show there was once supply of power from government, some other social amenities are yet to be felt here.

One thing that however binds the over 300 residents in about 14 streets is the resolve to help one another develop through self-help projects.

“For about two decades now, the community has been engaged in numerous projects which include conspicuous construction of drainage system, provision of community policing for effective security, installation of 50 concrete poles and a 500KVA recently donated by Ogun State government to assist the electricity company and a recent commissioning of two bore holes among others”, said Mr. Olanrewaju Olowe, Chairman, Education and Training Committee of the Community Development Association (CDA).

Anuoluwapo, literarily meaning, ‘God’s unending mercy and grace’, according to Olowe was coined to demonstrate that it has been God sustaining all the communal efforts.

Recently, to demonstrate the power of self-help and boost the educational and economic power of some of her youths, the community organised its first annual Empowerment and Scholarship Project, “it is an initiative of the CDA designed to assist enterprising young adults to achieve their educational dreams and pursuit of vocational trainings”, said Olowe.

The Education Committee after screening some youths found eight of them eligible for scholarship and sponsorship and at a low key event, fulfilled its promise by presenting to the youths before the community, memorandum of understanding indicating the responsibility of the community to take up their financial responsibility for JAMB, NECO, WAEC and GCE respectively.

As part of the education empowerment programme for members of the community themed: The Nigerian Economic Recession and People’s Survival Strategies’, a health talk titled: “Healthy Eating Habits in Recession” was delivered by Editor In-Chief Healthstyleplus online, Mrs. Yinka Shokunbi who gave tips on healthy nutrition habits as strategy for survival of children, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as children in a depressed economy.

According to Mrs. Shokunbi, “a healthy eating habit can effectively be cultivated by families in every community if members of the community understands the food culture of their locality, understand the types of food classes there are, and know how to combine each of these food classes appropriately for the benefit of each member of the families at every point in time”.

Shokunbi who is a public health writer and activist pointed out that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the best start for every newborn in the family.

She noted that breastmilk has been proven to contain adequate nutrients in right proportion for every newborn while appropriate weaning into family nutritious meals for every child combined with breastmilk for two years would further enhance that the child is fortified against infectious “which can cause family income to deplete as most hospital fees are paid out of pocket”.

Mrs. Shokunbi advised mothers to ensure family foods are not overcooked, saying, “because we do not know exactly when we will come out of the present economic challenges facing the country, mothers should be wise in preparing our locally available foods in quantity that would prevent wastages, mothers can cultivate vegetable gardens and engage in local rearing of chickens, goats, snails and fish ponds, if only to help improve on incomes that can sustain the families at a time as we are passing through”, she said.

Another speaker, Head, Insurance and Secretary Pension Board, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Mr. Bola Ogunlolu in his presentation titled: ‘Nigeria Economic Recession, Causes and Survival Strategies noted that some of the causes of the recession being witnessed by the country include poor economic planning by successive past governments, high inflation rates, high interest rates, high taxation, policy conflicts among others which have continued to widen the gaps between the rich and the poor.

Ogunlolu however listed some measures that can be engaged to shorten the period of recession among which are reduction in tax rate, effective spending, enhancing consumers’ access to credit facility, increase of government spending on skills acquisition as well as on agricultural produce and export.

The Insurance expert equally advised families to imbibe culture of spending on only needed items, “by avoiding unnecessary luxurious articles, and re-evaluating recurrent expenditure pattern as well as avoid unnecessary risks that could lead to job loss, ensure commitment to work”.

He urged unemployed youths to get engaged in menial jobs that could rake in some income rather than remain idle waiting for white collar jobs that no longer exist while also advising on cutting down of standards of living which are not beneficial to realities of the day”.

According to Ogunlolu, “economic recession is often a temporary thing that is manmade but the duration can be shortened or prolonged depending on the determination of the people to find ways around its effective management”.



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