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Report of the Umuahia Diocesan Seminar on "Impact Investing"
By Edited By: Fr. Benedict Egwu ( Bishops Secretary)
 

A REPORT ON THE SEMINAR ORGANISED BY HIS LORDSHIP MOST REV. DR. LUCIUS IWEJURU UGORJI, THE BISHOP OF UMUAHIA DIOCESE AND PRESENTED BY REV. FR. LOUISMARY OCHA,ON “IMPACT INVESTING” AT THE BISHOP ANTHONY NWEDO PASTORAL CENTER (BANPAC) BANQUET HALL ON 23RD OCTOBER, 2017.

    •    Preamble

We begin by thanking God who made it possible for us to be gathered in this capacity to deliberate and seek ways of impacting positively on ourselves, our environment, parishes, diocese and indeed humanity at large. This truly is the goal for which this impact organisation was created.


We thank his Lordship for organising this seminar and for giving us his priests the opportunity to be part of this self-empowerment programme and thanks to Fr. Louismary Ocha our resource person for sharing his knowledge and experience with his brothers, and all those who saw to the success of this landmark initiative that promises to usher us into a new era of development, self reliance, and progressive future in the nearest future.

    •    The Seminar

The seminar started exactly 10:00am at the Bishop Anthony Nwedo Pastoral Center (BANPAC) Banquet Hall with a good number of our priests in attendance. The seminar recorded over 40 priests in attendance and was organized in three (3) phases:

    •    The lecture
    •    The workshop and
    •    The refreshment

The lecture presented by Fr. Ocha on Impact investing lasted for about one hour thirty minutes (1 hour 30 minutes) where he ex-rayed the objective of the Seminar/ Workshop on Impact investing, which includes:

    •    Learning about Impact Investing and social enterprise   
    •    Learning about social impart Entrepreneurship
    •    Learning about the primary mechanism for poverty alleviation
    •    Learning the need of putting forward the dignity of human person and common good in solving social problems.

    •    Seminar Workshop

The workshop took place in three groups and which lasted for a period of thirty (30) minutes. The end of the workshop was followed up by the presentation of the deliberations and proposals of the different groups by the group secretaries. These presentations attracted further questions, deliberations and finally resolutions.

    •    The Workshop Proceedings

Deliberations of the groups were made on two levels: Diocesan level, and the Parish level.

    •    Diocesan Level

A major proposal made at the diocesan level was the solar energy investment. It was unanimously agreed that solar energy investment will have significant impact on the individual, the Church, and the society.

    •    Possibility of Solar energy investment

some of the things considered in this deliberations include: the energy source, the site of the investment, personnel, market, benefits, and challenges.

    •    Energy Source

It was unanimously agreed that the abundance of sunlight, which is the major source of solar energy makes the project very possible and affordable.

    •    The Site of the Investment

The Skills Acquisition Center was proposed to be a temporary site for the establishment of this project. It was said that a part of the skills acquisition center could be used to begin the project, while expansion could be made when the project begins to increase and demand a bigger space.

    •    Personnel

Personnel and resource persons to aid in the establishment of the project which should have been a problem turned out on a good note when it was mentioned that we already have individuals who are well experienced in the solar energy venture. Rev. Fr. Cyril Amaghionyeodiwe, Rev. Fr. Chibuike Ukeh, anonymous Rev. Sr. Of the daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM) was also said to have undergone series of training on solar energy, with a score of other lay people whose services could be implored in establishing a solar energy center.

    •    Market

The market for this business is basically every single home, every business premise, basically, every individual needs power generation to flourish. Its market therefore, is on a high demand since power generation constitute a major challenge in Nigeria.

    •    Agriculture

As an alternative to the above mentioned solar energy project, Integrated Agricultural project was also projected by the groups. It was observed that the diocese has over 50 acres of land in Nkporo which is at the moment non-functional. It was observed that such vast space of land could be put into proper use through integrated farming. The diocese can venture into full mechanised agricultural investment as a sustainable way of impacting the society and alleviating poverty among our people. Some of the proposed areas of interest includes: piggery, poultry, fishery, and large scale cassava production and processing. These obviously will impart greatly on the Church, the youth, and the society at large.

    •    Parish Level

With particular reference to the solar energy, the parishes were said to be incapable of venturing into such an exorbitant project like solar energy, however, parishes can key into the project through support and patronage of the project as it grows.

On the area of Agriculture, it was said that Parishes can invest in cassava production, and Cassava processing machines. They can also invest in small scale businesses like oil mill business, rice mill business, and rental services.

Education was also a veritable area of interest. Parishes could be encouraged to  establish schools of different levels (Nursery, primary and Secondary levels of Education).

    •    Benefits of these investments

Some of the benefits of this investment includes:

    •    Constant power supply for homes, offices, Churches, and for the day-to-day use of everyone.
    •    It will save cost of fuel and other expenses of power related problems.
    •    Reduction in noise pollution from power generating sets.
    •    Eco-friendly power generation.
    •    Food security for everyone
    •    Employment opportunities for youths
    •    Reduced dependence on foreign or external aids.
    •    Productivity of the Church and sustainability in the area of charity and care for the poor.

    •    Challenges and proposals

    •    Fund:

A major challenge that may be faced in the achievement of this project is funding. There is need therefore to develop means of raising the necessary fund for the project execution.

    •    Management:

Management is also a major challenge. Care must therefore be taken in appointing those to manage the outfit; poor managing has the capacity of crippling the project. It is therefore necessary to adopt a kind of Ignatian spirituality that sees the project as “our own thing”, in making this project a successful one.

    •    Security:

Security of lands, properties, is always of paramount importance for every investment. Lack of proper security outfit exposes the investment to theft, and vandalization. A proper measure is therefore to be taken to secure and safeguard these projects.

    •    Transportation:

Transportation has always been a major challenge to investments in Nigeria due to bad roads that makes it impossible for people from rural areas to access markets for their goods, products and services. In addition to this general problem also, is the problem of having adequate vehicles to convey some these products, or even the workers to their places of work

    •    Conclusion

Everyone who was present at the seminar and who participated well in the programmes must have felt this burning zeal to make a change in our environment. It is a new day dawn on us. We testify that indeed this is a welcomed development. We therefore beckon on his Lordship to pay peculiar attention to some of the issues raised in this report, and put in place motions to fast-track the realisation and actualisation of some of these projects to the glory of God, the good of the Church and the Salvation of souls.

Compiled By:

Rev. Fr. Enoch Iheme( Secretary for the 3rd group)
Rev. Fr. Eric Ebem (Secretary for the 1st Group)
Mr. Chibuike Oha (Seminarian on Internship and Secretary For the 2nd Group )

Edited By:

Rev. Fr. Benedict Ebere Egwu
( Bishop’s Secretary)

 

 


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