Ofoni Community

Profile

Ofoni (Puogelle) which translates to “Good Mother”, is an Ijaw community (in Tarakiri clan) in Sagbama Local Government Area in Bayelsa State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ofoni is about 40 kilometres by water to Sagbama (headquarters of Sagbama Local Government) 5 minutes by land to Odorubu and about 120 kilometres by road through Odorubu toYenagoa (Bayelsa State capital) respectively. The community which is a peninsula, due to its almost being surrounded by water, is about 6 square kilometres in size and it is made up of three sub communities (villages) of Ekrediagbo, Ekreogbe and Ekreyavwien which in turn, have a total of seven quarters.

Ofoni which is in Bayelsa West Senatorial District has Iseni, Uduere and Ofoni Oil Field of the SPDC. It has oil facilities such as pipeline as well as drilled and capped oil wells. The community shares boundaries with River Forcados, Lalagbene, Angalabiri and Ayamasa in the North, South, East and West respectively.

Ofoni is in high 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). Ofoni has some levels of depletion of animal and plant species largely due to various human activities over the years. It also has six creeks, lakes namely Agbaka, Amavwaresa, Ekadeya and Ukrogo as well as River Forcados. 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 Ofoni obtained from community sources is about 30,000 persons made up of 12,900 male and 17,100 female, that is, male/female ratio of 43:57. There are more children (≤ 17years) accounting for 12,000 or 40% of the population than the youths (18 – 45 years) and the adults (46 years and above) which constitute 9,900 (33%) and 8,100 (27%) respectively.

Ofoni is about 92% indigenous community with the remaining 8% made up of other tribes across the country. Both men and women often contribute to the cost of maintaining the family.

An average of thirteen 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 10% of the households in Ofoni have female heads.

Ofoni has twenty-one (21) churches of various denominations, no mosque and ten (10) shrines. The community is made up of over 75% Christians and less than 25% African Traditional Religionists (ATRs). The community has no central cemetery as the dead are buried at their respective homes. 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 “Migue”, “Migue” and “Migue” respectively, while “We-ko be cha” and “We-ko biruo” translate to “Welcome” and “Thank you”.

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

Objectives

The Ofoni 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 Ofoni 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) projects 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 Ofoni 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 Ofoni community in Tarakiri cluster between Tuesday 8th and Friday, 11th June, 2010 with the following staff members and facilitators:

Team Lead/Facilitator

  • Mr. Samuel O. Kayode

Co-Facilitators

  • Ms. O. O. Oyewo
  • Mr. J. Dikeocha

Local Facilitators/Key informants

  • HRH Auditor A. Onakpohor
  • High Chief Matthew Ediruo
  • Chief Ugeh Smart
  • Mr. Godbless Okah
  • Mr. Osusu Martins

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

  • Men – 43
  • Women – 34
  • Youth – 100
  • Total – 177

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 Ofoni 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 Ofoni community and ranked according to previously agreed value drivers. It is owned by the Ofoni community, Ofoni Community Trust and Tarakiri CDB.

Ofoni Community Trust

  • Mr. Shell Komoni –  Chairman
  • Mr. Osusu Martins – Vice Chairman
  • Mr. Okah Godbless – Secretary
  • Chief Smart E. Ugeh – Financial Secretary
  • Madam Sister Agberhe – Treasurer
  • Deacon Stephen Osusu – Public Relations Officer
  • High Chief Martins Ediruo – Member
  • Mr. Osharekeni Saturday – Member
  • Chief Simon Iberha – Member
  • Mrs. Okuama Godwin – 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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