You wake up in the morning for morning prayers and to later attend military drills. You participate in “Man O’ War” fitness activities such as climbing elevated ropes and jumping through bars. You attend volleyball games and soccer matches supporting your groups. You listen to singers, watch performers, and laugh at the comedy sketches during social nights. This and more is what comprises of Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation.
NYSC is a mandatory one year of service program. It’s designed for Nigerian graduates to contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s economy and society. For the program, you’ll be posted to work in fields under areas of national needs such as Education, Health, Agriculture, and Rural Infrastructure. The posting is the Primary Assignment. For the primary assignment, I’m looking forward to working with a media company. There’s also the CDS which is the Community Development Service. Corps members are expected to participate in a general or group community service to effect change in rural communities. This takes place once a week.
The orientation is the prelude to the service year. You spend three weeks in the location where you were assigned your orientation. I was posted to the Kubwa camp here in the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja. The experience was interesting and memorable. There are some things you should know about the NYSC orientation.
The orientation can be fun…
1. You’re meeting Nigerian graduates from various states. The orientation brings you together which can lead to learning from one another. You enjoy each other’s company and form friendships.
2. There are several events that take place. Events and activities such as talent shows, fitness challenges, creativity nights and cultural days.
3. There’s a lot to learn through lectures. There’s a lot to gain by being involved in organizations. I care deeply about causes that pertain to social issues to support girls and women. So, I feel fortunate to have found out about the ENGINE Program by Mercy Corps. ENGINE: Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises.
The orientation can be challenging ….
4. During the camp, there are military officials instructing you at certain times in the day. You’ll find that a whistle or horn is blown at different hours in the day. You wake up at 3am. At around 4am, you head to the parade ground. First, you go through morning prayers. Then, there are announcements made. Then, the officials instruct you on how to march.
Because the camp experience is for only three weeks, there’s a fixed schedule for corps members. This means ready or not, there’s something to attend or do.
5. Living Arrangements: There are different hostels at the camp. In the hostels, there are rooms where you have 3-5 roommates. There are rooms that have several bunk beds where you have more than 15 roommates. Due to having different roommates with diverse personalities and characters, it can be challenging having a system to keep to the maintenance of the rooms and bathrooms.
Overall, I’m glad I could partake and stay the full 3 weeks of camp. Through my orientation, I met a lot of wonderful people. I’m also glad to be informed and involved in organizations that stir up my passion and new interests. Now that the orientation is over, the work begins.
What are your thoughts on Nigeria’s NYSC orientation experience?