The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was founded in 1973 in order to reconcile, reconstruct, and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war.
The primary aim of the scheme is to instil in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and the spirit of oneness of all Nigerians, regardless of cultural or social background. It is a one year mandatory program for all Nigerian graduates of tertiary institutions.
Corps members are posted to communities far from their place of origin. They are expected to mix with members of other tribes, social and family backgrounds, to learn the culture of the indigenes in the places they are posted to. For instance, during my service year, I served in Kwara, a state in the north central part of the country whereas I hail from Ekiti State in the south west. It was an awesome experience though!
One of the central points of the scheme is Community Development Service (CDS) – its aim is to improve the economic, health, political and socio-cultural conditions of host communities through sustainable development. Every corps member belongs to one CDS group, and each group is expected to meet once a week to discuss issues facing their host community and how they can proffer solutions.
For HIV/AIDS and Red Cross groups in Abuja, every Thursday morning is set aside for meetings.
On 17 November, ONE members in Abuja took the Make Naija Stronger campaign to these corps members. They were introduced to ONE and its efforts in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease especially in Africa.
The corps members were charged to take control of their future and they were encouraged to demonstrate this commitment by signing ONE’s Make Naija Stronger petition cards.
At the end of the 20-minute exercise, most corps members signed the petition. This means that the voices of one hundred and five young Nigerians were added to the voices of thousands, calling for the increase in the Nation’s health budget.
Aside from signing the petition cards, a number the corps members declared their interest in volunteering for ONE. One of the members of the Red Cross group, Dr. Emmanuel, said, “My morale is high right now, so how can I join you guys? No be joke o!”