Do Good Africa Foundation, a non-profit organization with a goal to accelerate the pace of sustainable development across Africa, implemented its inaugural project tagged #EmpowerMakokoFishingCommunity in Lagos on Saturday, 21 December 2019.
Nigeria is currently tagged the poverty capital of the world with more than 112 million people living in poverty, according to an Oxfam report. This is evident in locations like Makoko, known as the “Venice of Africa”, a floating slum located in the Lagos Mainland, and home to over 500,000 inhabitants. The community’s depressing economic and infrastructural state is further exacerbated by an overwhelming deprivation of adequate fishing tools – a sad irony, considering fishing is the major occupational activity of Makoko.
DoGood.Africa first visited Makoko in April 2019 to investigate potential intervention mechanisms in such an impoverished community and contribute meaningfully towards poverty reduction through sustainable and self-sufficient means. After several interviews with community leaders and members, youth unemployment emerged as a significant driver of household poverty. This led to the birth of DoGood.Africa’s inaugural social impact project tagged, “Empower Makoko Fishing Community”. According to Peter Oke, Co-Founder of DoGood.Africa, “this project seeks to equip skilled fishermen in the community with adequate assets and tools, in a bid to provide a sustainable means of livelihood for their households”.
Taking Makoko’s fishing hub status into consideration, DoGood.Africa explored initiatives around fishing empowerment to maximize value creation for Makoko indigenes. The Foundation engaged several service providers through the implementation process. According to Ezekiel Alabi, Projects Lead at DoGood.Africa, “we were able build and brand all the fishing boats within Makoko, whilst utilizing resources available within the community”.
Ten beneficiaries were selected through a process aimed at identifying capable youths who lacked boats and fishing equipment and were considered to be vulnerable. This selection process involved engagements with community and religious leaders and subsequent interviews with those nominated. The beneficiaries were presented with boats and other
fishing equipment at the project commissioning, which was well attended by community leaders, stakeholders and members of the DoGood.Africa community. Baale Hungevun Jacob
of Abamisimeho Makoko Community speaking at the commissioning commended the Foundation’s efforts in providing fishing equipment for the community. According to Baale Hungevun Jacob, “we want to thank DoGood.Africa for coming to help our youths and providing them with fishing equipment to help them start their lives”. He went on to appreciate the sacrificial gesture shown by members of the DoGood.Africa community who are not directly part of the community. “We know that DoGood.Africa did not have to come to help us in Makoko, but have done all these sacrificially, we pray that God will continue to bless them and meet them at the point of their needs”. Stanley Ogbuchi, Co-Founder of DoGood.Africa, also speaking at the same event said “DoGood.Africa was set up by like-minded youths who want to use the skills and resources available to them to improve the standard of living in underserved communities, one project at a time”.
DoGood.Africa will continue to monitor its intervention in Makoko, as it seeks impact investment opportunities that foster sustainable development and reduce poverty within the community.
There remains lots of work to be done in communities with similar fundamentals across Africa. DoGood.Africa’s mandate is to provide technical and fundraising support to social impact organizations to ensure successful project implementation, whilst ensuring these projects meet 3 essential criteria: Economic impact, Scalability and Sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. This has led to partnerships with REES Africa in their project tagged “Light Up Kaduna”, to eradicate energy poverty in Kagarko Local Government by providing a mini-grid solution and connecting c.100 households in Oboi, Madaki and Sarki communities.
The Foundation is also partnering with the Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) in launching a nationwide rollout of its Education-in-Bottles initiative, aimed at providing quality learning opportunities to out-of-school children located mainly in Northern Nigeria. This project has commenced its pilot at Katampe, Abuja. These efforts represent DoGood.Africa’s increasing contributions in the social impact space, as part of a concerted action to end poverty by 2030.
By Adewunmi Salami