Coming barely less than three months to the closure of the project on January 28, 2020, Mr. Kurt CORNELIS, the Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation (EUD) in Nigeria visited Katsina State to evaluate and confirm milestones achieved by the EU-funded Improving the Fuel Wood Balance (FuWoBa) project in Lot 1 implemented by Umaru Musa Yar Adua University in Rimi, Jibia, Batsari, Batagarawa and Kaita Local Government Areas (LGAs), and Lot 2 implemented in Baure, Mashi, Dutsi, Daura, Mai Adua, Sandamu and Zango LGAs by OXFAM and ICEED in Katsina State.
The project which is part of the EU-funded Energizing Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) programme was envisioned to sustainably improve the resilience and livelihoods of rural beneficiaries through planting/maintenance of additional 5.5m trees using modern dryland restoration techniques of Farmer Manage natural regeneration (FMNR) and nursery approaches, and through the production and dissemination of 35,000 efficient stoves as an alternative mean of controlling indiscriminate felling of trees for household fuelwood consumption.
Mr. Kurt and team accompanied by the representative of the Director, International Cooperation, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Adejumoke Aderiye, and Mr Constant Tchona, Country Director OXFAM in Nigeria visited Mashi and Dutsi LGAs in Lot 2 and Remi LGA in Lot 1 on 13th November, 2019.
Commencing from Mashi LGA, the EUD Head of Cooperation commissioned a 3 ha of Model Agroforestry farm established by Mashi FuWoBa LGA Multi-Stakeholders Coordination Platform (LGA CoP) and also flagged off distribution of threshing machines to less privileged women in the area. Earlier on, in welcome addresses by the Head of Local Government Administration, Mashi LGA, Alhaji Lawal Kado and the District Head of Mashi, Alhaji Kabir Aminu (Iyan Katsina), the duo affirmed the great impact and testimonies from the people of Mashi, and commitment of the implementing team and committed leadership of Dr Chris Udokang, Project Manager/Team Leader, FuWoBa Lot 2.
The team thereafter visited Moringa plantations maintained by farmers, Community Nursery established by the Project at Dokawa village, farmer manage natural regeneration (FMNR) sites at Doka village, One Person One Tree (OPOT) campaign initiative at Government Secondary School, Mashi and Eucallyptus plantation at Yan Ruwa village before inspecting Clean Cookstoves center activities at Machinawa village in Dutsi LGA amidst a mammoth cloud reception. The stories and testimonies across the areas visited were no less than appreciation to EU, OXFAM, ICEED and the Project Management Unit. Appreciation and praises for good project management dominated the welcome address delivered by the Head of Council, Dutsi LGA, Alh Hassan Gambo who emphatically pledged sustaining the project because of the uncommon impact on the people of Dutsi LGA. Earlier in his Goodwill message, Alhaji Moh’d Lawal Sani (Marusan Katsina), District Head of Dutsi enumerated various testimonies on the impressive impact of FuWoBa Project and promised to sustain the project in his domain.
In the two LGAs visited, farmers displayed their farm produce as eloquent testimonies of the livelihood development enhanced by the Project. Similarly, the Chairmen of the Multi-Stakeholders Coordination Platforms (LGA CoPs) in Mashi and Dutsi also provided summary of trees planted/maintained, incentives received and stoves produced and disseminated. According to them, in addition to establishing model agroforestry farm and other numerous achievements, Mashi and Dutsi LGA CoPs have planted/maintained 1,068,977 and 930,064 assorted trees, produced 3,326 and 16,191 stoves respectively.
At Remi LGA in Lot 1, the EUD Head of Cooperation commissioned a NWTP Processing Center and visited Faduma Women Cooperative Juice Processing Center before paying courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor, Umaru Musa Yar Adua University.
Before a courtesy visit to His Excellency, Alh Mannir Yakubu, Deputy Governor of Katsina State who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alh Lawal Maska were the State Government pledged to sustain the project, Mr. Kurt and the team visited the Project Management Unit, Lot 2 (popularly called OXFAM office) and was received by the Project Manager, Dr Chris Udokang. Chris informed all that the project has delivered its mandate most impressively and supported his assertion with facts. According to him, 7,781,190 assorted trees representing 141.48% of 5.5m target trees had been planted/maintained with confirmed survival rate of 88.86%. On stoves production, he reported that 68,562 and 60,187 stoves representing 195.89% and 171.96% of 35,000 target have been produced and disseminated respectively. In addition, 402,740 out of 275,000 target final beneficiaries were reached.
In a welcome remark, the Country Director OXFAM, Constant Tchona appreciated the EU, the Federal, Katsina State and Local Governments for the intervention and opportunity given to OXFAM to touch lives in Northern Nigeria. He indeed appreciated Mr Kurt and team, the representative of the Director International Cooperation, Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning for making the visit. He acknowledged that “What we have seen is the great confirmation that the Project has exceeded its expectations. Arguably, one of the learning that stood out prominently to me in the wake of FUWOBA field visit is the impressive and elaborate conflict prevention initiative developed by FUWOBA Lot 2 team which in my view has remained underreported. I think this model merits documentation and sharing before the project winds down completely.”
In his concluding remark after the visit to the Government house, Mr Kurt expressed satisfaction on what he saw, saying ‘I am very impressive with the results; they have exceeded the objectives and targets set by the programme and the impact showcased, clear. We do hope the Katsina State Government will be willing to also contribute to the sustainability of the investment made by the European Union’.
With impeccable success stories on milestones achieved by the Project in Katsina State, and with the coming to an end of the donor intervention, the floor is open for the Katsina State Governments and the people of Katsina State to sustain and replicate the laudable legacies established. There are also more rooms for other donor agencies to scale up EU’s stride.