FRIENDS OF NIGERIA
2014 Annual Report
To be the Peace Corps Nigeria alumni association.
To promote a sense of community among Nigeria Peace Corps alumni and other friends of Nigeria, to support the interests of the Nigerian people, and to educate the public about Nigeria.
· Foster communication among our members through tools such as a newsletter, websites, and interactive listservs.
· Promote the creation of publicly accessible archives of historic photos, recordings, memorabilia and documents.
· Sponsor and promote reunions of FON members.
· Fund projects that have as their aim to make a positive impact on the lives of Nigerians.
· Promote a better understanding of Nigeria.
· The highlight of the year was the Friends of Nigeria meeting held in conjunction with the NPCA Peace Corps Connect meeting in Nashville in June. 35 members attended, and it was generally agreed that meeting with Peace Corps Connect was beneficial. Several members provided stories and recollections from their experiences in Nigeria. We heard a talk by Professor Moses Ochonu on the current situation involving Boko Haram in Nigeria. Several of the presentations and a number of photos are available on our wiki, www.wikifon.org/index.php?Nashville_Tennessee_June_19-21_2014.
· Early in 2014 we surveyed our membership. Actually, this was an idea that originated in the NPCA meeting in Boston. We received 370 responses, which was a very high response rate (26%) from our roughly 1400 members. The last survey was a printed survey in the newsletter in 2004. This survey was both electronic (via Survey Monkey) and printed in the newsletter. The majority responded electronically, but many of the responses indicated that our relatively elderly membership were not particularly savvy electronically. Board members who provide leadership in the different areas surveyed analyzed the responses, and ideally we are acting on those results.
· Under the editorships of Willard J. (Jim) Clark four issues of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter were published during 2014 with a total of 96 pages. Printed newsletters were mailed to an average 1304 recipients, and in addition email announcements were sent to an average of 114 members who have opted to download the full-color pdf version of the newsletter from our website. The newsletter includes feature articles, guest columns, opinion pieces, news from Nigeria, book reviews, letters to the editor, member updates, and reports regarding the projects we are supporting financially. We have a drive underway to maximize the number of electronic subscriptions, as printing and mailing the newsletter are our largest expense, but so far only 12.7% of our members have subscribed electronically.
· FON’s web presence consists of:
• Our website <friendsofnigeria.org> with an RPCV/staff directory (as well as lists of “lost” and deceased RPCVs), announcements, a newsletter archive (searchable pdf versions of all FON newsletters are available), etc. – webmaster Greg Jones.
• Our wiki <www.wikifon.org> includes the original training group directories (pdf files), photos, stories, and group histories – organized by Chris Collman and Greg Jones.
• Our group page <community.peacecorpsconnect.org/group/friendsofnigeria> on the Connected Peace Corps social networking website – administered by Greg Jones.
· During fiscal year 2013-14 Friends of Nigeria raised $16,085 for various projects. Combined with funds from our membership dues we donated $20,311 to four organizations working in Nigeria (VSO, The African Community Health Initiative, American University in Nigeria, and the Fantsuam Foundation).
· Friends of Nigeria sent a letter to Goodluck Jonathan, the President of Nigeria, decrying the law Nigeria passed outlawing homosexuality. We have no illusions about the letter having any effect, but we felt we had to express our opinion.
· Friends of Nigeria has a very active online discussion group at email@example.com. In response to a paper published to that group by Moses Ochonu (who spoke to us at Nashville), a spirited discussion ensued. One of our members, who settled permanently in Nigeria, took exception to what Professor Ochonu published and provided several documents presenting the point of view of partisans in Northern Nigeria. The discussion raged for several weeks.
· FON’s board of directors conducts most of its business by e-mail, but it met via conference call on 2 occasions.