January 9, 2007
WIEF UNVEILS PLAN TO TAME EKWULOBIA GULLY
STATEMENT OF GOAL
In December 2006, leadership of the World Igbo Environmental Foundation, Inc. (WIEF) made a special trip to Umuchiana, Ekwulobia for an onsite assessment of the erosion gully and to determine what practical role the foundation can play in arresting the disaster that is devastating the heartland of Alaigbo. After close inspection of the recent catastrophic advance of the gully and consultations with community leaders in Ekwulobia and contiguous communities, WIEF'sunderstanding of the problem can be surmised as the following:
- Gully erosion constitutes such a great threat to Igbo heartland that everything humanly possible must be done to halt its advance now before a greater calamity is visited on our ancestral homeland.
- Effort made by the state government must be supplemented by active involvement of communities in any project which can succeed in containing the menacing gully at Umuchiana, Ekwulobia.
- Unchecked floodwater from within and outside Ekwulobia is the main cause of recent advance of the erosion gully which has now cut across the Nnewi-Nnobi-Ekwulobia-Umunze-Ibinta federal highway.
- There is a strong desire at grassroots leadership level to engage the local communities in implementing practical solutions which can halt and reverse the many negative consequences of uncontrolled floodwater erosion in the area.
- There exist ample resources, both manpower and material, at ground zero to kick-start the initial phases of the campaign to rescue Alaigbo from the multitude of environmental woes that face its residents today.
Based on these findings, the WIEF leadership has resolved to pursue the following lines of action in the near and intermediate future:
- Establish a functional office for the foundation at ground zero in the first quarter of this year to become the resource center for coordinating and directing all WIEF'sactivities in the target area.
- Prepare and present a blueprint to Anambra State Government about WIEF's plans for collaborating to ensure maximal effectiveness of all ongoing official programs to combat environmental degradation within its jurisdiction, especially with regards to the Umuchiana, Ekwulobia gully erosion project.
- Conduct a joint seminar and workshop for communities that lie upstream from the Umuchiana gully on proven effective methods for reducing influx of floodwater that feed the erosion site downstream.
- Engage the local and national mass media, through press conferences and releases, in structured enlightenment and awareness publicity campaign to draw attention to the enormity of the problems at hand and the urgency with which they must be tackled throughout the target area.
- Work out the details for spearheading a tree and grass-planting campaign throughout Alaigbo in the second quarter of 2007.
Umuchiana, Ekwulobia is hardly the most awe-inspiring gully erosion site in Alaigbo today. But it is, however, the location that has the most intimate contact with dense human habitation and thus the one that shall continue to get the attention of all concerned until this monster is reined in. WIEF, therefore, has judged it fit to utilize this area as a testing ground for showcasing a practical model that can be replicated in dealing with the ubiquitous menace of gully erosion elsewhere across Alaigbo.
APPEAL FOR SPONSORSHIP & SUPPORT
Though a US-based nonprofit corporation, WIEF intends to solicit assistance, in funds and materiel, from wherever it can find them, including home-based governments as well as from philanthropic individuals and groups. The foundation shall organize events, both within our Diaspora and home-based communities and also manufacture and market its paraphernalia as means for generating money to fund its sundry programs and projects. Interested groups and individuals, who wish to partake in assisting to ensure the success of our collective endeavor, can contribute time, money and manpower by contacting the WIEF's Executive Director, the Director of Operations or Chairman of Board of Directors.
Please make checks payable to:
World Igbo Environmental Foundation, Inc (WIEF)
1514 First Street NW
WIEF is highly appreciative of the immense interest shown by many, within both the Diaspora and home-based communities, for its agenda and programs. Expert input shall be relied upon always in guiding the judicious utilization of goodwill and other resources garnered by WIEF to ensure the best outcomes for all invested efforts. We wish everyone a very productive and rewarding 2007.
Dr. Okenwa R. Nwosu
WIEF Executive Director.