By Uche Amunike
Following the release of funds by the World Bank last year, the World Bank Community and Social Development Agency, CSDA has sensitized the five participating council areas of the state to formally indicate their interest in being beneficiaries of the developmental scheme set up to bring development to poor communities in the state.
This was made known during the two-day Retreat for her board members and members of staff between the 11th and 12th October, 2018 at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the chairman of the board, His Royal Highness, Igwe Roland Odegbo of Nteje, expressed very high expectations that by the end of the retreat, the board members and staff would have understood themselves better as they were to use the two days to rub minds, discuss the challenges they faced as an agency and as well proffer solutions to them in order to be on the same page at the end of the day.
He expressed joy at the turn out of members, especially the National Coordinator, Dr Abdulkareem Obaje, who came all the way from Abuja in spite of his busy schedule. He said it was imperative for the board members to form a synergy with the CSDP in order to know more about their operations and as well understand the roles they were expected to play as members of the Board of the Agency.
‘We can do it under a relaxed environment in the sense that in the office, everybody seems to be too official, but here we’re unofficial. The agency’s work is charged with helping the poor areas of Anambra State and we’re working in those areas, asking communities to come out with programmes that World Bank could assist them with. Our job is simply to facilitate,’ he said.
In his opening remark, the National Coordinator, Dr Obaje, reiterated that the roles of the Board members remained oversight as they were responsible for seeing to the day to day running of the agency. He encouraged the board members not to repeat the mistakes of other agencies, even as he confirmed that the CSDP had about $250m in their purse and therefore, were expected to build on their experiences so that by next year, they would be on auto-pilot.
He maintained that the future of every community lay in the hands of CSDP and as such they should not let the lateness of those communities in keying into their cause to undermine their efforts.
The General Manager and CEO of the agency who doubles as the secretary of the board, Mr Chidi Mojekwu, for his part maintained that the general resolution of the board to have a training retreat was in order to properly define their roles in the agency so as to be able to make inputs while appreciating their roles better and making the best out of it.
He expressed his confidence in the board and said they were making commendable progress.
‘I am sure that before the end of the year, whatever we set out to achieve, we’ve achieved within the context of the project objectives,’ he said.
The Igwe of Uke, His Royal Highness Igwe Charles Agbala, who represented the traditional rulers in his capacity as a board member of the CSDA was elated about the retreat but envisaged some challenges in communities coming together to agree on the project they wanted because of divergent interests.
He reiterated that World Bank sponsored projects were faced fully and thus did not need a haphazard approach because of certain processes to be passed through by the communities before the funds were released.
He noted that it might take some time to release the funds but said that when eventually released, it moved smoothly. This is even as he encouraged communities to be up and doing in order to gain from the scheme.