Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Jessica Sewall (The Women’s Consortium of Nigeria - WOCON): Jessica completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied abroad in both Ecuador and Chile. In Ecuador, she was a part of a team that conducted a needs assessment and census survey of a small village outside of Quito, with a focus on potable water and sanitation and infrastructure. Jessica worked for the City of Milwaukee on an outreach campaign for work support benefits for low-income families. She then returned to university. At the time of her fellowship, Jessica was studying for a Master’s degree in International Policy and Development at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, and a Certificate in Humanitarian and Refugee Emergencies.

Working Through Power Outages

09 Jun

Since June 2nd the power has been out in Lagos fairly consistently, with a few spurts of power here and there. Apparently the government has turned it off and it is not known when it will be back on. Some places run generators, but the petrol to run them is fairly expensive. In addition, phone workers have gone on strike for not receiving pay, so the majority of cyber cafes that run on phone networks are inoperable.

It has been very challenging to do day-to-day activities (including showering due to the lack of power to pump water), and makes it very frustrating to be in the office at WOCON and trying to operate effectively and efficiently without power. I commend the staff for their ability to work without power, but my weekly work goals have been difficult to accomplish without internet access.

The staff is very enthusiastic about learning more skills, so I plan on holding a grant writing session, press release writing session, and web site content management session with all of them who are very eager to learn. I will also be acquiring accounting software for WOCON to use that the accountant is thrilled to be trained on. However, without power or functioning phone lines, outreach and communication is particularly challenging, as is holding training sessions on things without access to materials in my email and an internet connection.

I have filled much of my time with reading reports on trafficking, drafting the beginnings of press releases and outreach materials, and getting acquainted with the staff at WOCON who are a very educated and eager group of professionals. I have also begun research on human trafficking with Laura, and we were able to spend time yesterday visiting a safe house for returned trafficking survivors in Lagos, which was both heartbreaking and inspiring. I am hoping that the government decides soon to give us power so that we may continue work full-speed ahead!

Posted By Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Posted Jun 9th, 2006

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