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Jonathan Ekhator (2006)

My name is Jonathan Ekhator; I was a student of the BA in Development Studies Programme 2005/2006 session in Kimmage Development Studies Centre.
Jonathan EkhatorSince completing my studies in Kimmage, I have had the opportunity to work with young people in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. In response to the prevalent crisis and violence in the area, I partnered with three other young Nigerians to set up a Foundation for Human Development and Peace Building call the ‘Sharing Education and Learning for Life (SELL) Foundation’.

This Foundation today has 168 young peer educators in training as peace advocates in their communities. Having worked with the volunteers and set up a system for sustainability in the Foundation in a period of over 5 years, I moved on to the southern part of Nigeria were I now work in Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in the rural communities of Cross River State of Nigeria. This programme funded by the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) use the Community Lead Total Sanitation (CLTS) Approach.

Prior to my studying in Kimmage in 2005, I knew nothing about the world of development and had never worked in the development sector.

Kimmage taught me that ‘Development is about the people’. This message has stayed with me all these years and is the key to achieving what I have done so far. I remember one day in a ‘Sociology of Development’ class we were discussing the meaning of development, and many principles and philosophies of development were brought up for discussion. In the end, the bottom line was, ‘in whatever you do be accountable and do no harm’.
After all these years, this still rings true for me and has guided me ever since. Whenever I work with people, whether it is planning a project or implementing with them, I will find myself asking these questions: how accountable is the project and are we doing any harm here?
I remain grateful to the course facilitators of Kimmage and the wonderful and experienced course participants that I had the privilege to learn and share with. If I have achieved anything in development today it is because of the time I had in Kimmage


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