Since inception, the Pampaida Millennium Village has achieved many successes. For example, investment in agricultural initiatives has resulted in a gradual transition from subsistence to commercial farming. Crop yields have increased from a baseline average of 1.5 tons/ ha of maize in 2005 to 4 tons/ha of maize at the end of the 2008 farming season. In addition, about 26 agricultural cooperatives are being strengthened through various capacity building initiatives, including new linkages to financial institutions for sustainable access to financial services. A newly established Pampaida weekly market is also helping to curtail the activities of the many middle men who have helped pauperize the hardworking people of Pampaida for decades. Farmers now have a local market to sell their goods.
School enrollment has also increased in Pampaida, from a baseline of 420 pupils to 1,602 pupils today. The good news is that every pupil is fed a free daily meal through the Project's school feeding programme which has been in place for two years now. This has helped increase attendance and improve performance at primary school. To help sustain the programme, farmers contribute 10% of their harvest. Since inception, a total of 284 tons of maize, rice and soybean has been happily contributed by farmers. Since this was much more than was required for the school feeding programme, part of it was sold and the proceeds have been used to start a micro-credit scheme for women and a fertilizer revolving credit scheme for the farmers of Pampaida.
In addition to the school feeding programmes, schools and classrooms have also been improved. From the initial single block of highly dilapidated classrooms with no desks and tables, Pampaida now has four new blocks of classrooms courtesy of the State Universal Primary Education Board and Ikara Local Government Area. The Project has complemented this good gesture by providing sets of desks and tables for pupils and teachers in Pampaida as well as providing educational materials to all pupils. Pampaida also now has a junior secondary school constructed by Kaduna state government and is awaiting approval to commence session. This development will no doubt ease transition from primary to secondary education and help delay the early marriage syndrome.
Prior to the MVP, Pampaida was without any medical facility. Today, Pampaida has a basic health clinic and medical services are provided free to the inhabitants of the MV. The 4,300 insecticide-treated bed nets distributed in 2007 are helping reverse the malaria prevalence in the community. The trainings, workshops and talk shops being held regularly within the community are helping to create awareness of how sicknesses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB can be prevented.
It is evident that Pampaida MV has also witnessed unprecedented infrastructural transformations within a record time of less than three years. The 12km road, electrification project, local resource centre (ICT center), cereal bank, health clinic, school kitchen, market stalls, junior secondary school, and ZAIN GSM base station were made possible through effective partnerships between the Project, Kaduna state government, Ikara Local Government and the good people of Pampaida. The 22 boreholes drilled in strategic locations within Pampaida over the last two years continue to provide the inhabitants with potable and safe drinking water. The gender separated VIP latrines constructed in strategic public locations are proving to be effective in maintaining basic sanitary conditions within the Village.
Today Pampaida has become a model and reference point in rural development in Nigeria and beyond. Visitors to Pampaida cut across a very broad spectrum of society which includes donors, academia, civil societies, NGOs, students, media practitioners, development workers and very recently the political class which includes members of the National Assembly.
It is for these modest achievements across all MDG sectors that the Project was scaled up on Saturday 9 May 2009 to three new villages covering the entire Saulawa District to reach more than 22,000 people. The scaling up celebration was attended by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna state on behalf of the Governor in the company of John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise, Fred Frippiat, UNDP Projects Manager and the MVP family.
Together, we shall help achieve the MDGs in Pampaida.
Bala Yusuf Yunusa is the UNDP Operations Manager for the Pampaida village cluster. He is based in Pampaida, Nigeria.