With several thousands of displaced persons seeking food and shelter in the northeast of Nigeria due to security challenges, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James F. Entwistle has made a clarion call for volunteers to support government efforts in ameliorating the plight of families living under the burden of a horrible conflict.
Ambassador Entwistle participated in a roundtable discussion on how to rekindle the spirit of volunteerism in Nigeria organized by the Kukah Center in Abuja on November 13. The Kukah Centre was founded by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah in Kaduna as the Centre for Faith and Public Policy, but changed its name and relocated to Abuja in December 2012.
Ambassador Entwistle said, “As a friend and partner of this country, and as I read about the beleaguered state of thousands of Nigerians displaced in the North-East due to a horrible conflict, which most recently reared its head in Yobe, it seems to me that this is a clarion call—if nothing else in addition to government efforts—to a volunteer effort to do everything we can to help, so that these poor people even though they have been displaced from their home by this violence, it does not mean they would be without food, or shelter or denied right to vote in the February,”
On the benefits of volunteerism, Ambassador Entwistle said, “Through community service, people can build networks and connections while acquiring useful experience or training.” The Ambassador noted that volunteering also benefits businesses. It can help maintain employee engagement in a productive corporate culture, develop employee skills, and enhance their brand and reputation.
He said both Nigerians and the United States recognized the strength of volunteerism. Ambassador Entwistle sited the National Youth Service Corps as an institution that embodies the spirit and culture of volunteerism.
The roundtable discussion also featured the representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, former governor of Ekiti state Kayode Feyemi and Nneka Eze, a management consultant with Dalberg International among others. The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah moderated the program.