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“Empowering ideas for rural communities”
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“Empowering ideas for rural communities”

An electrical engineer with bright ideas about community development is helping rural communities with sustainable development, writes Alabidun Sarat, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria.

After graduating as an electrical engineer from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oresanya Olafimihan returned to his home country, Nigeria. Almost immediately he started the Rural Community Empowerment Project.

The Rural Community Empowerment Project started as an electrification project in the Odeda local government area of Ogun state to help members of the community meet basic electricity needs, such as charging of phones and light for the children of the community to do their school assignments at night.

“I discovered this community in Ogun state and found out they had no access to electricity. The closest they could get to electricity was a thirty minutes drive to town. I was surprised, and that was how the project was birthed,” Oresanya said.

Oresanya along with a few colleagues then installed a 200 watt solar electricity panel at the home of the village head, where members of the Akonko community now converge to use electricity in the evenings.

After this first project was actualised, the rural community empowerment group noticed a few other areas in which the community was grossly under-developed. As a result it intends to carry out more projects and further bring development to several rural communities.

Oresanya believes that if rural communities are developed, the cities would suffer less overpopulation, allowing people to flourish in the cities while providing additional support for others to chose to stay back in their home communities.

“This project cannot continue to run forever, so in addition to this we want to empower people living in rural communities to become drivers of change”, he said.

As a means to achieving these goals, the Rural Communities Empowerment Project intends to improve the villages’ standard of education.

“The village has a school but it isn’t to standard, and students do not realise the essence of education. We intend to raise funds for scholarships for the village students to encourage them to have heightened interests in education,” he said.

According to Oresanya, the community has no health care centre and its members have to travel to the city to get adequate health care. This includes cases as critical as child birth.

“We hope to look into that too”, he said.

In several other cases, one might expect the government to provide social amenities. Oresanya, however, does not hold this belief. In his words, “I personally feel fulfilled when adding value together in lives. I make rural communities a priority.”

Rural Community Empowerment hasn’t had many adverse challenges since its inception in July 2016. This, they noted, was due to the fact that its members created a good relationship with the community leaders and consulted them before any project was implemented. However, they have had issues reaching out to involve people and in addition to this, the usual financial challenges. To solve this, the team is planning a fund raising program towards the end of the year.

The Rural Community Empowerment Program isn’t focused on just the Akonko community. When asked what the organisation’s future plans are, Oresanya replies, “We hope to empower as many rural communities as possible.”

More rural community empowerment projects can be seen at www.rcemp.org

Photos: courtesy of Oresanya Olafimihan. Feature photo and above, Oresanya and colleague during solar panel installation. Bottom photo, Oresanya with the village head and his wife.
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About me: I am a graduate of Applied Chemistry from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria, with a flair for writing. I’m looking to change the world, one word at a time. I blog, too, and I love horses.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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