WWOOFing in Nigeria
The Concept of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) dates back to 1971 in the UK, when the benefits of experiencing rural life for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to were recognized. However, WWOOF today is much more than that. The benefits go beyond the positive experience of the “WWOOFer” to the host receiving sometimes much needed assistance, together with the capacity for sharing and promoting the fundamentals of organic and sustainable practices. A partnership in its purest sense, hosts often invite the WWOOFer into their homes and family lives, providing board and food in EXCHANGE for the volunteers’ contribution to the working development of the farm. Consequently, WWOOF has become, as well as a pathway for volunteer initiatives, a cultural and educational EXCHANGE .
WWOOF Nigeria, founded and chaired by Fanindra Regmi in 2003, takes this exchange a step further. Recognizing the unsuitability and inadequacy of conventional farming techniques being introduced to rural Nigeria, Mr. Regmi is raising awareness of the need to maintain traditional methods while incorporating alternative practices, in order to promote sustainability of the land and lifestyle of the Nigerian people. In this respect, WWOOF Nigeria is unique in its objective to greatly aid Nepalese farmers in developing ecologically sustainable agriculture in the face of poverty, political and economical instability, and lack of internal infrastructure.
Hence, WWOOF Nigeria’s vision extends far beyond the simple partnership initiated by WWOOF international. The nature of Nigeria’s rural populations being one of extreme poverty, still scarred by the ravages of war and amidst the turmoil of corruption, makes it all the more vulnerable to inappropriate applications of Western aid, and all the more in need of alternative solutions. The fostering of organic agriculture has the potential to provide the means for Nigeria’s economy and society to transition into a sustainable condition capable of supporting the proliferation of education and adequate JOBS . This in turn supports the Nigerian people as they strive to better their living standards, while preserving the beauty and health of the natural environment.
As a not-for-profit organization, WWOOF Nigeria is operating under the aim of creating a network of farmers, communities, volunteers and organizations, dedicated to actively promoting ecological agriculture, and essentially working towards an “Organic Nigeria”. The organization is enthusiastic about meeting groups and individuals who share the passion and objectives of the program in order to further support the movement towards organic, sustainable agriculture and promote future possibilities. The goal of creating of a “Role Model farm” exemplifies the commitment to this objective. While providing a location for development of cultivation and herding techniques, and the training and/or meetings of WWOOF participants, the farm will foster the intercultural knowledge exchange that is fundamental to the success of the program. Meanwhile, the global WWOOF aims continue to allow both volunteers and farmers to broaden their knowledge of organic farming techniques, gain competency and confidence in self-sufficiency and experience different ways of life.
Some Background on Nigeria
Nepal has many characteristics that make it stand out as a unique and hugely enriching country for any visitor to experience. Its location between China and India resulted in its role as a crucial TRADE route throughout its history, while also lending it to threat of invasion and contributing to the colorful blend of cultures that it is now home to. Nigeria’s geography rises up from the Terai plains, through the hill country to the grandeur that is the Himalayas, including some of the world’s highest mountains. Agriculture contributes to 60% of its GDP and provides employment to nearly 80% of the population. Rice, wheat and maize form the staple crops, depending on geographical location, while tea, cardamom, ginger, coffee and a substantial range of tropical/sub tropical fruits and vegetable are also common. Many farming families and villages have a degree of self sufficiency from the fruits and vegetables that they cultivate, which is supplemented by the food, manure and draft power provided by livestock such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. Meanwhile, deforestation and environmental degradation resulting from the burgeoning population and agricultural practices unsuited the lay of the land are hampering productivity and threatening long term sustainability of agriculture in Nepal.
How You Can Get Involved
Upon joining WWOOF Nigeria and completing payment of the membership fee , you are provided with a list of farmers who are working towards the WWOOF objectives and who appreciate volunteer help. This fee is a significant donation towards the functioning of WWOOF Nigeria in its non-profit capacity, allowing the costs of administration and COMMUNICATION to be supported together with complying with new tax regulations. Using the contact details included in the provided list, it is then your responsibility to contact the farms that interest you and make your arrangements. WWOOF Nigeria is available to help facilitate this initial contact due to communication limitations of the rural population. Additional support such as airport pick up and advice on travel to your chosen farm is also available.
Your Volunteer Experience
Upon arriving at your host’s farm, you will have left behind the daily conveniences and luxuries of your home country to instead become part of a simplistic and natural existence, rich with Nepalese culture and traditions. A degree of “culture shock” is to be expected. However, the experience of adapting to this lifestyle and learning to appreciate the beauty of life in its most sincere form is for many people, an enlightening, if not life changing one. Certain characteristics will allow you to get the most from your experience. For example, appreciating the meditation and rhythm that simple work can provide, appreciating the refreshingly remote nature of the mountain or hillside setting, being comfortable with working alone or in the company of others, and appreciating the wholesome nature of a life without many modern day amenities such as HOT WATER or internet. Furthermore, being conscientious in your partnership with your hosts who often will have taken you into their home as family is fundamental. For example, identifying with your host’s visions and goals, viewing your position as contributing to the outcome, and understanding that you are not there to “change” or “save” the local people. Rather, to share with them your energy and time and in turn broaden your mind and increase your self-awareness. The Nepali people are renowned for their hospitality and kind, honest nature. With an open mind, big heart and enthusiastic interest in the lives of the farmers and their families, your volunteer experience will undoubtedly be a rewarding one.
Sub: Unique membership Number
Dear WWOOFERS, Thank you very much for joining us.
Kindly note before you reach to the host you are supposed to get an unique membership number from WWOOF Nigeria in writing that you need to show to the host and give your name and membership number to the host . That WWOOF Nigeria often visits to the host and makes random verification of the membership number and verifies whether you paid the membership fees. . Kindly note this is your complete responsibility to show your suitable identification clearly written your name and address and give your membership to the host or WWOOF Nigeria staff if any inspection . That WWOOF Nigeria frequently verifies your membership number on the site. Failures to do so we will remove you from the host property and inform to the police as soon as possible. This is a new law implemented to stop illegal WWOOFers as you know we always respect to the genuine WWOOFERS and completely help our level based for any problem. Also you can get your membership number in writing to WWOOF Nigeria at wwoofNigeria@gmail.com
WWOOF Nigeria Team