The main exercise started with a welcome message from  Dr. Josephine Ogazi, WEWE Executive Director (ED) and Chief of Party (COP) for Local Partners Initiative for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (LOPIN), Region 2. The ED/COP opened her welcome speech with a hypophora questions to participants asking, for some of you who came into this meeting, what are Non-governmental Organisations like WEWE all about? Is WEWE a business? Obviously, some people feel NGOs are all about making money, some is about salaries and for some Per Diem is an extra income but for WEWE is not about money. She shared that staff should not come into NGO to make money because that is not what it is all about and it is not as a business. The ED/COP told staff that the money funding WEWE-LOPIN2 project is from the contribution of individual-tax payers in United States of America and the money is given to WEWE to channel towards changing the lives of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and widows in Nigeria therefore we should not see it as money to enrich ourselves but rather to change an orphan’s life for the better.

She further said if people in the United States are showing compassion by contributing their hard earn money for the betterment of OVC and widows in Nigeria, we that are here should equally show that compassion. She shared her personal experience where she said her vehicle engine knocked recently and the cost for fixing it was NGN400, 000 (four hundred thousand naira) about USD1,142.85 and at the same time she was presented with a list of orphans from her community needing school fees to stay in school in similar amount. It is obvious she need a car but she rather made a choice of paying the orphans school fees instead and now she enters motorbike (Okada) or auto rickshaw (keke) to office and everywhere else for her daily activities. This is the spirit of NGO and it is one of sacrifice and self-denial. She encourage staff to have this spirit and mind set towards NGO.

A Goodwill message from the Board of Trustees was delivered by Mr. Bawa Odela who started his speech by posing a question to participants that for instance, If a staff working in WEWE earns NGN200, 000 (two hundred thousand monthly) approximately USD572, how much do you think a Board of Trustee member should earns?  In chorus responses, some participants said more while others said less. Mr. Bawa continued by saying interesting, this is not the case, the Board members are not under salary, nor are they given any allowances rather they offering selfless service to impact lives. He added that there are two categories of people, the service minded people who aim to make a difference, measures success by the number of people they have transformed and their value in life is to raise people. While the second category are world minded people  who aim is how much money they can make from their job and they measure success by the amount of money they have. He encouraged participants to live on the values of the first, which is service minded, one that give sacrificially and joyfully.

On behalf of WEWE Board of Trustees chairman, Dr. Mercy Akeredolu, the retreat was declared opened by Ms. Gloria Njiowhor who admonished participants to see their work in WEWE as partnership with God and be always encourage by the fact that when you partner with God, he rewards you.

A brief PowerPoint presentation on WEWE was given by the ED/COP followed by the main teambuilding retreat exercise.  The teambuilding exercise commenced with an introduction that divided participants into eight groups. Each group was asked to select a representative to pick an object displayed on a table, analyzed it and relate to teambuilding. During the group activity, group members were also requested to pick their workshop names.  Each group presented their outcome from the analyses of the object they picked.  After the group work, an overview of the retreat was presented to participants, followed by setting of ground rules and a presentation on a pre-retreat rapid assessment results.The day ended with photo sessions and drawing of names for Christmas gift exchange.

ED/COP delivering a welcome message