Fantsuam: An Update and a Proposal
By Greg Jones (22) 66-68
In a recent conversation, John Dada with the Fantsuam Foundation gave me an update on the current situation in Kafanchan. According to John, the local and national sectarian violence has created additional hardships for the residents of the Kafanchan area and has resulted in more and more people requiring assistance. John states that “we have gone ahead to start grains purchase in our preparation for the hunger months. We are having to prioritize beneficiaries of this program with children, the elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS as our primary targets.”
Almajirai children receiving nutritional support at a Qur’anic school
The sectarian violence and resulting shortage of petrol has resulted in a shortage of available grains and much higher prices when grain is available. With food supplies running very low all across the Kafanchan area, the Fantsuam Foundation is considering using its remaining $776 of FON grant funds to open a soup kitchen to serve cooked meals to children during the “hunger period.” That action, however, cannot continue indefinitely and is dependent upon financial assistance from groups like FON.
John added that prior assistance from FON had not gone unnoticed. “We had a visit from the Chief Executive of Partners for Development from Washington,” John said, “and he mentioned that he heard of the support we have been getting from FON. Thanks ever so much for keeping us going, and for being one of the lights at the end of this long dark tunnel. Please give our best wishes to the members of FON. Mun gode.”
In October of 2011, John Dada emailed a proposal to a number of donor organizations including Friends of Nigeria (FON). The purpose of the proposal was to secure funding to mitigate anticipated food shortages during the “hungry season” – the period toward the end of the dry season when food runs out and new crops have not had a chance to grow. That time will soon be upon them again and, unfortunately, subsequent events have made the need for this effort even greater. The hike in the price of petrol has caused a dramatic increase in the price of grains. The loss of manual farm labor, the reduction in total area of land cultivated, the scarcity of money due to bank closures and the total lack of food and farm inputs in the critical planting months have all combined to create a situation of impending food shortages. Consequently, John has submitted an additional request to FON for funds that he and the Fantsuam Foundation will use in the following manner:
100kg soya beans – N14,000 (US$25)
100kg maize – N8,000 (US$50)
100kg rice – N10,000 (US$63)
100kg beans (Ife Brown) – N22,000 (US$140)
100kg Acha – “Fonio” – N40,000 (US$250)
100kg, guinea corn – N80,000 (US$500)
In addition to already designated member donations, the FON board is being requested to donate $2,795 for the purchase of silos and grains. Since a silo filled with soya beans would cost $290, an additional $2,795 from FON could buy 9.6 of them. A silo filled with maize would cost $540 ($40 for the silo and $500 for ten kilos of grain), so the requested amount could buy five of them. One silo filled with rice would cost $670 ($40 for the silo and $630 for ten kilos of rice) so four of them could be bought. Clearly, the decision as to how many silos and which grains to buy to is best left to Fantsuam since they are in a better position to evaluate the local needs and respond to local market prices.
Fantsuam, as required by its board of directors, has already opened a ledger to account for all expenditures related to the project. They will provide a thorough accounting of their purchases and the number of people they were able to serve with our donations. Fantsuam is directly involved in the community and is responding to its needs. They could use our help now more than ever.
John Dada (R) greeting visitor to Kafanchan
In response to this proposal, the FON Board voted unanimously to match the individual contributions designated for Fantsuam and send a total of $5600 to Fantsuam for hunger relief. The vote was not initially unanimous, as there was concern about some of the details of the proposal, but with a few clarifying and improving amendments, the proposal passed without dissent. The money has been received at Fantsuam, and they are putting it to work buying silos and the grain to fill them. The silos are a permanent addition to Fantsuam’s facilities, so should similar efforts be required in the future, Fantsuam will be better prepared.