By Uche Amunike

Anambra State Community and Social Development Agency (ANCSDA) which was set up to promote and implement development activities at the grassroot level, is currently implementing World Bank Assisted Community and Social Development Project- Additional Financing (CSDP-AF) in the state which aims at poverty reduction in rural communities using Community Driven Development (CDD) approach.

According to information from the Communication Officer, Mr Nnamdi Onuzulike, ANCSDA recently hosted two separate batches comprising the management and staff of SEEFOR CDDS PIU Rivers State on a 2-day Experience sharing visit apiece to the Anambra State Agency. SEEFOR CDDS PIU whose acronyms refer to State Employment and Expenditure For Results Community Driven Development Social Project Implementation Unit is an EU and World Bank funded project which commenced in Nigeria in 2014 with 4 pilot states namely Rivers, Delta, Edo and Bayelsa States, aimed at tackling youth restiveness and pipeline vandalization in the Niger Delta region. SEEFOR CDDS PIU carries out its project implementation in communities using strategic approach of community driven development i.e. bottom to top approach synonymous with CSDP, and its project design is a domesticated version of the Project Implementation Manual (PIM) of CSDP. Hence, the appropriateness of having their Experience sharing and peer learning visit to ANCSDA as encouraged by the recently visited World Bank team to Anambra State led by the Task Team Leader, Prof. Folusho Okunmadewa.

The 1st batch of the visiting SEEFOR team was led by the Head of Operations, Mr Samuel Lorwen while the 2nd batch of the team was led by the Project Director, Mr Thank God Amaewhule comprising various staff of Operations, Finance & Admin, and Monitoring & Evaluation departments of the SEEFOR Rivers State. In his welcoming remarks, the General Manager ANCSDA, Mr Chudi Mojekwu thanked the teams for choosing the Anambra State Agency which is barely one year post effective as their destination for peer learning and experience sharing and promised them that the SA will do all it can to ensure that the aim of their visit is satisfactorily achieved. He thanked the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for ensuring that the ANCSDA became effective in the state, and the State Agency board for their various supports. In their separate comments, both the SEEFOR Project Director and the Head of Operations stated that their mission to Anambra CSDA is to learn from the Agency on strategies for speedy implementation of projects in poor communities successfully within a short period as was being experienced in Anambra state under CSDP-AF. The day 1 of the experience sharing visits involved presentations by GM ANCSDA and also, Operations Manager, Mrs Uche Nwaizugbo on various topics relating to CDD approach, the voluntary land documentation (VLD) process, strategies for accelerated implementation of projects in communities, various project implementation challenges and their possible resolution steps as well as the performance chart of ANCSDP-AF in the last one year in the state. The day 2 involved field visits and interactions by the visiting team members with the Community and/or Group Project Management Committees implementing the various approved projects in their communities as well as other community members present to ascertain their level of participation and ownership of the projects being implemented by them as expected under CDD approach. It also afforded the team the opportunity to constructively criticize (where need be) and also learn more from the good quality of micro projects being implemented in those communities under ANCSDP-AF.

On a final note, the SEEFOR CDDS PIU team through their Project Director, Mr ThankGod Amaewhule expressed their joy and great satisfaction at the various top quality projects being implemented speedily by the benefitting communities in the state, and the numerous accelerated implementation strategies they have learnt from their visit to the SA which will help them to improve on their project performances when they return to Rivers State.

The two SEEFOR teams have since returned to their state after the successful visits to Anambra CSDA.

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