You will know, of course, that we have hoped to increase SCWAâ€™s influence in Nigeria for some time. So we are delighted that focus groups have begun in Eket and Oron, to research the local roots, realities and responses to witchcraft accusations against children. This is essential in order to ensure that we understand the local context and are well placed to recommend appropriate and targeted responses.
Unfortunately, we have experienced a setback in our plans for a Round Table Action Forum and for ‘Heart of the Matter’ training in Calabar. The UK Foreign Office has designated Akwa Ibom and Cross River States (in which Eket and Calabar are situated) â€˜red zonesâ€™ because of hijackings and abductions in those areas. This has made it impossible for Susie and Carolyn to secure travel insurance, which means they will be unable to travel to Nigeria in the Spring. However, Maimouna Obot (Storychangers) is still able to travel to Nigeria because the German government has not imposed the same restrictions. Maimouna will therefore carry out ‘Heart of the Matter’ trainings in Eket and Oron, and we are deferring the Forum and Calabar Heart of the Matter training until the Foreign Officeâ€™s â€˜no travelâ€™ recommendation is lifted.
Please pray that the focus groups will yield valuable insights into child witch accusations in Nigeria. Pray for Maimouna, too, as she delivers the Heart of the Matter trainings in Eket and Oron. And letâ€™s pray that it will be possible to hold the Forum and Calabar Heart of the Matter training soon.