Charity & Volunteering, Life & Happiness, Travel

ICS Week 6: Let Our Voices Be Heard…

After an insanely busy week last week, our Monday began with the morning off! This was definitely needed as we were all a bit run down and exhausted. I had the most glorious lay in of my life and then there was electricity and internet available so I could work on some media things like the ICS Facebook page and blog.

I’m also a part of the CAD committee. We are responsible for organising the logistics of our events and assisting the team members on their own personal CADs that they deliver. As I worked in fundraising events in my job before I came on ICS it means I can put my skills and experiences to good use here in Ikorodu.

We spent a good portion of the week having meetings and planning for a youth inter-space debate between children in the our spaces in Majidun and in Ikorodu Central that was taking place on Thursday. We had spent a long time mobilising children to come and watch the debate and do creative performances in the intervals, so we really wanted to make sure the event was a success.

We also had to plan for a CAD on consent for the Friday, so we were really feeling the pressure after relaxing on our Monday morning off…

To have a break from all the crazy planning, I went shopping for some Ankara fabric at the local market and came away with two different kinds of material, which I gave to a local tailor. I decided to go for a jumpsuit that I could also wear when I go back home to the UK, and a gown that I could wear here in Nigeria, to church or to a wedding that we’ve been invited to attend next month! The wedding is of the brother of one of the CCSVs so we are all really excited to go to it and dress up for the occasion.

Finally the debate event was upon us. Everyone had a role leading up to the event and on the day itself. A design committee made all of the posters and a huge banner that looked amazing on the wall. A communications committee made telephone calls to every parent of the children invited to come to the debate – nearly 200! This was a long and difficult task, as not all of the volunteers could be understood easily on the phone and some parents were more challenging than others…

On the day Dan and Naomi were moderators introducing everything throughout the event. We also had a timekeeper, people in charge of registration and ushering the children into the right places. The media committee posted live on Facebook and Twitter throughout the entire event. This was my job as well as supporting as the CAD committee.

The event was incredibly challenging! Having 20 children in one room for us to control was really difficult when they all want to have a drink, something to eat or to go to the toilet one after the other. It was a real task controlling them and making sure they paid attention and didn’t get bored.

It was a bit shaky at first, as it was such a big event and some of the arrangements had been a bit last minute, but we all pulled together as a team and made the event a success. The children all seemed to enjoy themselves and it was amazing to see the participants deliver their arguments so confidently and enthusiastically, despite some of them being more nervous than others. They all put in a lot of hard work and it made all our efforts and hard work worth it to see them developing.

After the event some of the team went to a nearby eatery which is a guilty pleasure of ours – Underground. Here a chicken burger with chips is a firm favourite amongst the UK volunteers so occasionally we like to treat ourselves. Today we felt we deserved it!

The Friday saw us having yet another CAD – the one on consent we had been planning during the week. We were all worried about this – because the debate had become such a massive event, we hadn’t focused on the consent CAD much at all and it had become sidelined.

We decided to show a Nigerian film called ‘Make a Move’ which was about abuse and rape, to our CCSVs and then have a discussion and workshop on consent afterwards. The idea was that if we properly passed the message about the importance of consent to the local volunteers then they could be active in the community long after we have gone. Having something like a rally feels good at the time and gets attention, but is not really very sustainable and doesn’t really connect with people the same way as a workshop can.

On Saturday we had a social that took us outside of our community for a change! We went to Ikeja which is the state capital of Lagos state. There is a big mall there with a cinema, so we could watch a movie, go shopping and buy things like pizza and chocolate. This. Was. Amazing.

Some of us went to see Finding Dory which was so much fun. Just to sit down in the dark, quietly and watch a film was unbelievable. I bought the big bar of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut chocolate and ate the entire thing in about 5 bites! No regrets… we were all so excited to finally see some chocolate.

It was so exciting. Just to be around some home comforts for an afternoon. I realised how lucky I am to have this everyday where I come from, and living and working in an underdeveloped community, where these things which I find normal just aren’t available to me has been a real eye opener.

Keep checking my blog for my next post! Next week I will be updating you all on Mid Phase Review! Half way through my placement ahhh!

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