Ayamasa Community

Profile

Ayamasa (Ebi Anye-ama), which translates to “People with fine face”, is an Ijaw community (in Tarakiri clan) in Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ayamasa is about 19 Kilometers and 40 kilometers (on water) to Ekeremor (headquarters of Ekeremor Local Government Area) and Yenagoa (Bayelsa State capital) respectively. The community, which is a peninsula, due to its almost being surrounded by water, is about 3.6 square kilometers in size and it is made up of four sub communities namely Obirenama I, Obirenama II, Akeama and Ogbeinama respectively.

Ayamasa which is in Bayelsa West Senatorial District is located in the SPDC Eseni (Isony-Leuy I) oil field and harbours pipelines, block valves as well as other oil facilities of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC). The community shares boundaries with Bomadi/Kpakiama, Tuomo/Alebiri, Ofoni/Lalagbene and Oboro in the North, South, East and West respectively.

Ayamasa is in fresh water mangrove forest agro-ecological zone of Nigeria. The community has sandy loam and clayey soil texture; the settlement is generally gentle slope susceptible to flooding, erosion, land degradation and pollution (air and water). Ayamasa has some levels of depleted vegetation with nine creeks namely Benitengha Oba, Fedepi-Oba, Ene-Oriekumo Oba, Amaotu Oba, Ebi-Erebo Oba, Odiri Oba, Etu Oba, Arubomo Oba and Akere Oba. One river (River Forcados) as well as ten lakes namely Benitengha, Deideigha, Edisibou, Edeinyan, Apeibou, Kemeteinkumo, Bubeni, Egerebeni, Youwegbologha and Ofio respectively. The community has bimodal or double maxima rainfall pattern spreading through late March to early November, that is, about eight month of annual rainfall.

Population, Social Structure and Institutions

The present estimated population of Ayamasa obtained from community sources is about 30,000 persons made up of 13,000 male and 17,000 female, that is male/female ratio of 43:57. There are more children (≤ 17years) accounting for 15,000 or 50% of the population than the youths (18 – 45 years) and the adults (46 years and above) which constitute 8,400 (28%) and 6,600 (22%) respectively.

Ayamasa is about 98% indigenous community with the remaining 2% made up of other tribes across the country. Both men and women often contribute to the cost of maintaining the family.

An average of nineteen persons constitutes a family. Presently, polygamy is the more popular form of marriage in the community, although monogamy still accounts for some reasonable percentage of the marriage types. The divorce rate is relatively low, there are some cases of single parenthood and about 30% of the households in Ayamasa have female heads.

Ayamasa has fourteen (14) churches of various denominations, no mosque and ten (10) shrines. The community is made up of over 80% Christians, less than 5% Moslems and less than 15% African Traditional Religionists. The community has two cemeteries namely Oruama Ebibou (cemetery for those that died prematurely but due to natural causes) and the Agbara-Otu-Seibou (cemetery located at the entrance of the community for those murdered or who committed suicide). It is pertinent to state that those who died naturally at the considered old age are normally buried in their respective compounds. The predominant spoken languages are Izon, formal English Language and Pidgin English respectively. The time of the day and various occasions such as wedding, burial etc attract different greetings. The formal greetings for ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Afternoon and ‘Good Evening’ translate to “Ebaide or Eseride”, “Doo” and “Doo” respectively, “Baiyo” means “Good night” while “Ebode” and “Doo” translate to “Welcome” and “Thank you”.

Furthermore, Ayamasa can boast of various social institutions categorized as NGOs, CBOs, Government Agencies and Private Sector.

Objectives

The Ayamasa people had undertaken a community-driven development planning process that focuses on livelihood security and the development of the community. This approach, recognized by development experts as international best practice, will assist the Ayamasa community members to develop the capacity to own and manage their own development programmes. Additionally, over time, it is expected that Tarakiri CDB will gain and develop skills and competency to attract external funds from diverse sources for their own development. The projects included in this five-year plan are consistent with the following log-term goals:

  • Systematic creation of a coherent, meaningful participation process by all inclusiveness:
  • Introduction of mechanisms that guarantee stakeholders’ participation and community control;
  • Shift from implementing discrete community project to financing integrated programmes based on community Development Plans (CDPs);
  • Shift from Community Development (CD) project to Community Content Issues as major LTO drivers;
  • Alignment of human capital, capability buildings and institutional development at the community level with resource availability;
  • Promotion of peace and security
  • Shift from planning in isolation to alignment with current macro-level Development Framework, that is, linkage of development projects and programmes to National Development Policies such as NEEDS, SEEDS, LEEDS, NEPAD and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
  • Assurance of sustainability of projects and environmental conservation;
  • Encouragement of transparency and accountability
  • Encouragement of learning and sharing

These benefits are the true test of the model and are what leads to sustainability of the process. The true goals of development are not just to increase or to improve health and educational infrastructure, but are the same as strengthening good governance and best practices, building of social capital and the empowerment of the poor and marginalized populations. These are the tools that will allow communities to continue to develop.

Methodology

The sustainable livelihoods approach is built upon a number of key assumptions. Firstly, household decision-making is complete and driven by multiple objectives. Secondly, households are creative and active development agents, not passive recipients of external technical knowledge and assistance. Therefore, it is necessary to gain access to a local understanding of the development and change process at the household level.

For the purpose of development planning, a community can be defined as “one or more households that share the same geographical space and common resources (land, water, places of worship, town halls, forests etc). These households may have lived together for many years or they may be recent arrivals, they may belong to the same ethnic group or a different one, and they may share the same livelihood or not”.

It is pertinent to state that following the successful inauguration of the Tarakiri cluster in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital on Wednesday, March 16, 2010 and the inaugural CDB meeting on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, various strategies and activities were undertaken by the stakeholders preparatory to the conduct of the Sustainable Livelihoods Assessment in the communities making up the cluster by SHERDA’s professional staff.

The Ayamasa Community Development Plan was based entirely on input generated through a Sustainable Livelihoods Assessment (SLA) of local livelihoods situations including assets, challenges and appropriate activities to stimulate development. The SLA was conducted using triangulation of various data sources including secondary data and information gathered using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and SLA tools such as transect walks, community mapping, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) Venn diagram, seasonal calendars, wealth ranking, problem analysis and observations as the field dynamics permitted.

Self Help and Rural Development Association (SHERDA) conducted the assessment in Ayamasa community in Tarakiri cluster between Friday 4th and Monday, 7th June, 2010 with the following staff members and facilitators:

Team Lead/Facilitator

  • Ms. Gloria O. Oyewo

Co-Facilitators

  • Mr. A.O. Adediran
  • Mr. O.K. Kayode

Local Facilitators/Key informants

  • Mr. Peter Amabenemor
  • Mr. Ebiangala Ebikeme
  • Mr. Abaide Morun

Attendants at the community meetings during the SLA/CDP facilitation exercise are as follows:

  •  Men – 67
  • Women – 36
  • Youth – 50
  • Total – 153

After the SLA field work was conducted and the first draft of the SLA and CDP written, the drafted SLA and CDP documents were shared with the Ayamasa CT with a view to perusing it, make comments and final inputs to the documents for authentication and final compilation. This reflection marked the commencement of the Community Development Planning process.

This CD Plan was facilitated by the Self Help and Rural Development Association (SHERDA) which conducted the development activities proposed by the people of Ayamasa community and ranked according to previously agreed value drivers. It is owned by the Ayamasa community, Ayamasa Community Trust and Tarakiri CDB.

Ayamasa Community Trust

  •  Chief Moses Oyaseiye – Chairman
  • Mr. Ekpebimene Africa – Vice Chairman
  • Chief Pere Apare Orieware – Secretary
  • Mr. Godwin T. Thompson – Financial Secretary
  • Mr. George Egbe – Treasurer
  • Mr. Amabenemo Peter – Public Relations Officer
  • Mrs. Janet Freetown – Member
  • Mr. Abaide Morun – Member
  • Mr. Ebiagala Ebikeme – Member
  • Mrs. Kokobo Walfer – Member

  • Images From Completed Projects

    Provision of Landing Craft at Agbidiama Furnishing of Community Primary Schools 1 and 3 at Egbemo-Angalabiri Renovated Community Secondary School at Ofoni INTERIOR VIEW: Completed Corper's Lodge at Ofoni Completed Corper's Lodge at Ofoni INTERIOR VIEW: Tailoring Section of Renovated and Equipped Women Development Centre at Ayamasa Renovated Community Primary School 1 at Egbemo-Angalabiri Renovated Community Primary School 3 at Egbemo-Angalabiri Renovated Community Primary School 2 at Agbere
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