FRIENDS OF NIGERIA
2016 Annual Report
Friends of Nigeria continues to implement its Purpose, Mission, and Goals:
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 Washington, DC, in September. 95-100 members attended, and elected 2 new board members. We heard talks by Margee Ensign, President of American University of Nigeria, Amaka Anku on the new president of Nigeria, Emmanuel Ogebe on the Chibok girls, and John Campbell of the Council on Foreign Relations. Several members provided stories and recollections from their experiences in Nigeria. Charles Larson talked about teaching African Literature for 50 years, Herbert Howe talked about the surprising Biafran air force, our own Abdullahi Edward spoke via Skype from Nigeria, Don Cosentino spoke about African religions on both sides of the Atlantic, and Ron Singer led a panel discussion on the current situation in Nigeria. The conclusion was that we had overscheduled the speakers
· Under the editorship of Willard J. (Jim) Clark four issues of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter were published during 2015 with a total of 72 pages. Printed newsletters were mailed to an average 1175 recipients, and in addition email announcements were sent to an average of 266 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 18.5% of our members have subscribed electronically.
· FON’s web presence consists of:
• A 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.
• 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.
· Friends of Nigeria migrated to a new interactive website using Wild Apricot technology in early 2016. At the end of 2015 the website and membership database underwent final parallel runs with the existing website and FoxPro database that were used for 20 years. The website was announced to our membership in our spring newsletter. Then online membership renewals, online donations, online event signups, and online discussion groups began operation. Unfortunately, a number of our members do not have online access or even email, so an exclusive electronic presence will not work for our membership
· During 2015 Friends of Nigeria raised $12,690.41 for various projects. We donated $15,332.88 to four organizations working in Nigeria: VSO, The African Community Health Initiative, the American University in Nigeria Foundation Feed and Read program, and the Fantsuam Foundation.
· Friends of Nigeria had a very active online discussion group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Members frequently shared interesting (or outrageous) articles on Nigeria. That traffic has migrated to the Members Only Forum on the new website.
· FON’s board of directors conducts most of its business by e-mail, but it met via conference call on 4 occasions.