This is the first phase of Bramble’s pilot project in Ibadan, Nigeria. It started off by sampling the marginalized areas in the city as the thrust of the project is towards creating an alternative learning space for the poorest and most marginalized areas. Places such as Iwo road, Mokola and Beere were surveyed. And the Beere axis which includes Beere, Yemetu, Oja Oba, Oke-aayo seemed to fit into the scope of what was being sought. In the end, Beere community was selected.
A reconnaissance survey was carried out coupled with interactions and interviews with residents and community leaders. The Balogun Ibikunle palace was visited and the overall leader Mr Akintola fondly called Baba Olomi gave us his audience. They were briefed on what the organization was set to do and were asked salient questions with regards to the community and its challenges, especially the ones related to education. It was from this discussion that it was discovered that the Beere community had no school. The closest school was a 20 minutes walking distance from the community and its structures were already falling apart.
A second visit was made few days after with an official letter to request the venue for the event from the community. Also a request was made through the community to the Nigerian Police Force, Mapo branch for the presence of an officer during the event.
A third visit, which was in form of a rally, was made two days before the event. Volunteers were already sourced from various youth organizations and about sixty six young people showed their interest. During the rally, six of the volunteers with the director moved round the community led by a key leader in the community Mr. Kola Akintola, banners were displayed, and houses were visited to pre inform them of proposed awareness program. The reception was warm and welcoming and the children were excited. The open space in front of the Kiniun Onibudo Hall of the Balogun Ibikunle’s palace was given for the event. The community provided seats (benches) and a mega phone. A community based sound engineer was responsible for setting up the sound system at a minimal cost. Canopies and more chairs were also rented for
The following day, there was training for 11 volunteers inside Mellanby hall at the University of Ibadan for 2 hours. There was also a virtual training session for those who could not be present. They were taught how to engage the community, how to catch and retain the children’s attention among other things. Branded t-shirts were given to the volunteers and the details of the event were also communicated to them.
The event kicked off at about 9am. It was in 2 phases. The 1st phase was a house to house interaction with both parents and children on the importance of education and also to invite them for the general session. At the 2nd phase, the children who were well over 90 in number from ages 6-15 gathered were engaged with different activities (singing, verbal games, and so on) and they were spoken to about education and life in general. The parents (about 15) who had also come together were required to proffer solutions to the earlier discussed challenges. This participatory approach was employed to make them know that their opinion mattered so much and that the proposed project was theirs and not forced on them. Light refreshments were available for participants. They all looked forward to the start of the project.