By Veronica Dariya
African International Documentary Festival Foundation (AFDIFF), an NGO, says UNESCO’s World Heritage site, Sukur cultural landscape in Adamawa is now a source of power after 600 years.
Mrs Malame Mangzha, the Director-General of AFDIFF, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
NAN recalls that AFIDFF is the implementing organisation for the UNESCO 2020/2021 Restoration programme at Sukur World Heritage Site.
The site suffered grave damage as a result of insurgency in 2014 but began a restoration process in 2021 through the intervention of AFDIFF and its various partners.
“As part of the restoration programme, AFDIFF in collaboration with the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and other partners have successfully installed solar power in the community school.
“There’s also power in some strategic places in the community now after its over 600 years of existence, even though we, while installing power, tried not to interfere with the conservation of the site.
“Few months from now, we should, alongside other partners, officially launch this great achievement. It is quite a beautiful `site’ to behold,” Manghza said.
She also said AFDIFF and its partners had provided over 2,000 educational books to a newly-built library in the community school.
The school, she added, now had access to water supply via solar pump and a latrine for just the children.
She explained that the amenities would hopefully be extended to other members of the community with more funds.
While enumerating progress and challenges from the initiative, she said that one major concern was the learning process for the children in the community.
She said the foundation, with support from its partners, was also able to build an additional block of classrooms to add to the two old structures already in place, with chairs and desks for the classrooms.
She, however, said the classes sheltered no fewer than 100 pupils during lessons.
Other pupils, she added, sat outside, under trees, for their lessons.
She explained that not all the volunteer teachers were available to on a daily basis teach the children because of the distance from the base of the mountain to the top where the community was situated.
The Director-General, however, called for more support toward establishing a well structured process of learning for the children in the community.
“The need for more classrooms and manpower in the community school remains a major concern to us. They need more volunteer teachers.
“The school has over 700 pupils of primary and students of Junior Secondary School with less than 10 volunteer teachers who live at the bottom of the mountain, finding it difficult to climb to the top daily.
“At the end of the day, very few go up to teach the children in a day.
“We solicit our partners to help in this area, by providing or helping pay more volunteers, for at least a year, before the local government is able to employ more teachers for the school,” Manghza said.
According to her, lessons are also taught in the native dialect of the community and not in English language, a challenge, she added, would affect them when sitting for any external examination if not tackled.
NAN reports that the Sukur landscape is situated over 1,000 metres above sea level on a hilltop on Nigeria – Cameroun border in Adamawa.
NAN also reports that AFIDFF is an organisation founded on the ideals of national and international cultural values, dedicated to the preservation of Africa.