FRIENDS OF NIGERIA
2017 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 and websites.
· 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 Denver, CO, in August. 65-70 members attended, and elected a new slate of board members. The newly constituted board then elected the following officers: Greg Jones, President, Jim Clark, Vice President, Warren Keller, Treasurer, Peter Hansen, Newsletter Editor, Mike Goodkind, Secretary, & Barbara Bush, Membership Chair. The full meeting heard talks by Austin Okigbo, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, Okey Ndibe, author and educator, and Josh Arinze, writer, editor, & development professional at Georgetown University. The afternoon featured several aspects of Oshogbo art and artisans. Vickie Scott presented the history of Oshogbo art, Gasali Adeyemo explained and displayed adire fabric art, and Akeem Ayanniyi demonstrated and played an array of drums. After a session on future planning, a West African meal was enjoyed by all.
· Under the editorships of Willard J. (Jim) Clark and Peter Hansen four issues of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter were published during 2017 with a total of 84 pages. Printed newsletters were mailed to an average 1019 recipients, and in addition email announcements were sent to an average of 321 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 24% 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 2015. During 2016 the website evolved as actual usage either occurred or didn’t. Online membership renewals, online donations, online event signups, and online discussion groups were anticipated to encourage good user participation. Membership renewals and online donations occurred in good numbers, but the majority continues to come in via snail mail to the treasurer. Online event signups were more popular, but there were still those who sent their event reservation and fee to the event treasurer, who then entered registrant information into the website. There were very few members who participated in online discussion groups. Clearly we need to rethink that part of the website. 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 fiscal year 2016-17 Friends of Nigeria raised $12,990.41 for various projects. We donated $15,840.88 to four organizations working in West Africa: VSO, The African Community Health Initiative, the American University of Nigeria Foundation Feed and Read Program, and the Fantsuam Foundation. The difference between the amount donated and the donations raised consists of annual dues that are not required to support our ongoing expenses.
· FON’s board of directors conducts most of its business by e-mail, but it met via conference call on 4 occasions. An innovation this year was the use of Zoom Conferencing, which allows those on a PC to see others participating in the conference. It also appeared to have better talker selection than our previous services.