Webs of Support Nigeria

Children's Rights & Integrative Youth Development™

Facilitated by:

1. Kathrine Thompson-Stone (Facilitator)
2. Amb Paul Philip Iwok (Host)
3. Mrs. Aniekan Paul Iwok (Co-host/Interpreter)


Akwa Ibom State Government of Nigeria in November 2013, carefully selected and sponsored some relevant officers from different government departments and NGOs representatives to attend the international integrative child and youth development (IYD) program in Chicago, United States. It was an international training program co-hosted by the Changing Children's Worlds Foundation (CCWF) and the Institute for Community and Adolescents Resilience-Unifying Solutions (ICAR-US) both in the United States. The State government participation process was facilitated by Amb Paul Iwok.

It was a wonderful learning opportunity to share professional knowledge and cross-fertilized developmentally based informations as well. The one week training program with series of ideas exchanges and activities ended with a firm promise from the American trainers that, at the appropriate time, they would visit Nigeria or send a representative in order to reach out to other individuals, associations, groups, NGOs, faith based communities and remote communities to propagate the ideals of the integrative youth development (IYD) program in alignment with the values in the book "
The Journey of a Houseboy to Significance" authored by one of the participants.

The planning process started gradually since then. In due time, someone very passionate showed up, an American Woman from Nenana Community in the state of Alaska named Kathrine Thompson-Stone. She was identified as the most suitable to travel the miles to Nigeria first time ever in her life, in order to fulfill that promise. She actually did it.

  • Kathrine's Arrival

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    What actually started like a promise in Chicago came to a reality six (6) years after. On the 6th July, 2019, Kathrine Thompson-Stone arrived Nigeria for the program. She was received at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos at about 9:45PM by Amb Paul Iwok, Michael Philip Iwok and Mrs Aniekan Paul Iwok.

    Being her first time of coming to Africa and Nigeria in forty (40) years, she needed some good treats. On that premise, Mrs Florence N. Ogar-Modey, a senior Civil Servant volunteered to play host to Kathrine Thompson-Stone and others with her from the international Airport in her residence at Ajao-Estate, Lagos for some good treat to respectfully welcome her to Nigeria.

    Many may not have believed her visit would be possible but it came to pass. Her mission primarily was to come and work with some organized structures, partners and stakeholders in the field of children and youth development in Lagos and Akwa Ibom State. More so, to teach the youthful population how to build a web of support that would enable them become more resilient in reaching out for their goals in life. She was expected to spend three (3) weeks. As was segmented to be one week in Lagos and two weeks in Akwa Ibom State.

  • 7th July, 2019: Sunday

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    Kathrine Thompson-Stone, Amb Paul Iwok, Aniekan Paul Iwok and Michael Philip Iwok went on intra-city site-seeing expedition around the Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lekki axis of Lagos State. Rev Dr. Michael Sunday Udoh's family house was also visited at the North Point Estate by Chevron Drive, Lekki Lagos. He welcomed us with open arms and with warmth hospitality. On getting to the Hotel, Kathrine Stone presented some working aids sent by Derek Peterson to Amb Paul Iwok as we rounded up for the day.

  • 8th July, 2019: Monday, Lagos Day 1

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    Familiarization & interactions with friends and associates as the meeting with CDM youth in Lagos was cancelled due to communication gap.

  • 9th July, 2019: Tuesday, Lagos Day 2

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    The integrative youth development program proper kick-started in Lagos on the 9th July, 2019 at precisely 10:AM at the Johnson, Jakande and Tinubu (JJT) Park, Alausa, Ikeja. This park situates in the heart of Lagos State Capital City, and in front of the state House of Parliament.

    The well attended youth program with huge crowd started with an opening prayers from a youth volunteer. Thereafter, individual's self introduction followed. This was done for the participants to familiarize themselves, their groups and organizations they each represented.

    The program started with a lengthy presentation from Amb Paul Iwok who started by sharing his personal experiences as was stipulated. The journey so far with the IYD program, its impact in his life, and about the impact of his book "The Journey of a Houseboy to Significance" on the Nigerian youth. Also, the true story behind the coming of our guest and her mission to Nigeria. His presentation ended after an hour and set the stage amplifying for the American visitor to take her turn.

    Kathrine Thompson-Stone mounted the stage thereafter and thanked Amb Paul Iwok for his presentation as she was full of excitement seeing vibrant young people eagerly waiting to scoop from her wealth of knowledge. She started her presentation by introducing herself and the motive behind her coming to Nigeria, and those who made it possible. Besides, a run through of the ROYGIV colors and broad spectrum mnemonic youth development model was done with several activities to elaborate and expand on her teachings methodology. At the end, questions were asked from the participants. One of such commonly asked question was, "What of a situation whereby an anchor to a youth is not always being there for him or her!". She responded accordingly using the importance of the power of more model. Colorful bracelet hand bands and branded biro pens were shared to all the participants. The program ended by 1:30 PM.

    • Kathrine visit to Soluyi Community Gbagada Lagos.

    We later proceeded to Soluyi Community in Gbagada Lagos to honor an invitation from the Palace of the traditional ruler, the Baale of Soluyi Community, Chief Olaniran Olamiju and some members of his cabinet.

    At the Palace, Kathrine Thompson-Stone was warmly welcomed as she interacted with the Chiefs. One of the outstanding Soluyi Community Elder, Engr. Isaac Umelo also hosted her in his family house with the Community Chiefs in attendance. Copies of his published books, "They Have no Birthday, and Ogadinma" were presented to Kathrine as a welcome present. Both community leaders engaged Kathrine on issues bothering mostly on future collaborative opportunities with her American organization for the benefit of the youth and the Soluyi community. The interactive meeting ended around 4PM, and proceeded to meet Amb Paul's foster mother.

    • Kathrine visit to my Foster Mother Mrs. A.O. Sadipe

    Mrs A. O. Sadipe is the foster mother to Amb Paul Iwok. Paul lived with her for a period of seven (7) seven years after his High School. An experience that made the emergence of his youth friendly development manual and first publication possible. It was a fulfilling moment for her to witness her former domestic servant grew up from nothing to gain international recognition. She joyfully presented Silver wrist bracelets to the American visitor to her family home. She rescheduled the meeting for another day as the meeting ended by 6:15PM.

    We all retired to the Swiss D'Palms International Airport Hotel Ajao Estate Lagos where we all lodged.

  • 10th July, 2019: Wednesday, Lagos Day 3

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    The third day event took another dimension with another impressive turnout as women groups, youth groups, rural market women groups, faith based community leaders and youth NGO representatives gathered in a volunteered family house at Sawmill Community in Ifako-Gbagada Lagos. The program started at 11:30 AM with opening prayers.

    Thereafter, Amb Paul Iwok anchored the introductory part of the program where every one needed to familiarize themselves. After the general house introduction, Amb Paul started the event by introducing himself and Kathrine to the zealous audience and spoke on the reason for the event and the choice of Sawmill area as the venue. He spoke of the brighter future of Nigerian Children and the Youth if the IYD tenets are embraced by the families, groups, communities and in government circle. Paul spoke about his personal experiences as he was growing up, and how his life became valuable after the publication of his book. Some participants were later anxious to have copies of the book which we told them to be patient for the reprinted version in a short while. Some participants were keen to know what really IYD was.

    At about 1:35PM, Kathrine Thompson-Stone made her presentation by introducing the IYD colors and what each of the colors represent. Series of activities were carried out too. She spoke on how she conceived her dream at age 12, and how she was motivated by her boss Derek Peterson to think about Nigeria as her best destination. Questions were asked on how people can replicate the IYD program to their respective rural settings. The colorful bracelet hand bands and branded biro pens were given out to all the participants, some returned theirs but some went home with it. There was enough refreshment to go round. The program ended about 4PM. There was no activity to follow up same day.

  • 11th July, 2019: Thursday, Lagos Day 4

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    The visit to the Light Factory Building, a youth development center owned and manage by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Jubilee Parish Williams Street, Surulere Lagos. On our arrival, we were warmly received by Dr. Bankole Sadipe who took us around the center after some robust interactive moment with Kathrine, Paul and Aniekan. The man who is in charge of the beautiful youth center promised to provide a free conference hall for the Lagos Certificate Training on the 25th July, 2019. We retired to the hotel after the visit.

  • 12th July, 2019: Friday, Lagos Day 5

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    Free Day & Meeting with some individuals and groups in the hotel lounge.

  • 13th July, 2019: Saturday, Lagos Day 6

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    Preparation to travel to Uyo.

    Amb Paul Iwok went to the Airport (MM2) to book a round trip Ibom Airline Tickets for Uyo movement

  • 14th July, 2019: Sunday, Lagos Day 7

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    It was such a busy and engaging day as we had to meet up two (2) important events:
    1. To meet with Pastor Abidemi Adekoya, a zonal Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (The Lord's Chapel) Gbagada for his approval to meet and speak to members of the Teens Church.
    2. To meet with the Apostolic Church Nigeria congregation at Alapere-Ketu Lagos.

    Both events went well. At the Redeemed Church, it was such a wonderful interactive moment with the Teenagers at the Teens Church Auditorium as all the teenagers were very happy to learn about the rainbow colors and its significance in creating a web of support in the developmental stages of a child.

    For the want of time, Kathrine Stone did the presentation of the IYD youth development model alone. The meeting ended at 11:30 AM for onward movement to the Apostolic Church Nigeria congregation at Ketu Lagos.

    We arrived the Apostolic church Nigeria congregation at about 12:15 PM, and met with an already seated audience. The program started with the introduction of Amb Paul Iwok's crew and their mission to the Church by one of the Pastors. Due to the mixed congregation of indigenous people, there was an urgent need for an interpreter which a member of the congregation competently handled with Aniekan Paul Iwok. Amb Paul Iwok made the first presentation by talking about his experiences and how he escaped the Houseboy syndrome through a new mindset with the support of a program like Integrative Youth Development (IYD) program. It was such a listening audience, as the message was well embraced.

    Kathrine Thompson-Stone later took over the micro-phone and introduced the IYD dynamics and web of support teaching. They were very receptive. The colorful bracelet hand bands with Balloons were given out. Due to time constraint, there was no room for activities that always go with each of the colors. The program came to a close by 2:PM. We headed to the hotel to prepare to leave for Uyo later in the day. Michael Philip Iwok came and picked us from the Hotel to the MM2 for checking-in protocols at Ibom Air Terminal for onward flight to Uyo same day.

  • 15th July, 2019: Monday, Uyo Day 1

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    • Familiarization
    • Phone Calls
    • Reminders

  • 16th July, 2019: Tuesday, Uyo-Abak Day 2

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    Visit to the Office of the Mayor of Abak, Elder Barr. Imoh Williams and subsequent meeting with members of his ruling cabinet is his office.

    The meeting started around 12 noon in his office with an opening prayer from one of his cabinet member. Thereafter, Amb Paul Iwok introduced himself, Kathrine Stone, Aniekan Paul Iwok, Eunice Monday Udo and Aniekan Akpan who were in his team. After the brief introduction, he spoke broadly about his experiences and that of the other youths in the state who went through the demeaning houseboy syndrome but are liberated today due to changes in their mindsets.

    Some members of his cabinet were marveled at Amb Paul Iwok's submission and speaking ability which ushered in Kathrine Thompson-Stone's full presentation on IYD and significance of the colors. She took everyone through the history of how IYD was discovered to be the best youth development model, using the Alaskan youth experiences as a case study. Each of the colors were introduced to the cabinet members and the Mayor. Sets of the colorful bracelet hand bands and balloons were also given out to each of them.

    In his response, the Mayor Barr. Imoh Williams felt elated and welcomed all of us. In his remark, he spoke on the economic potentials of Abak and possible investment and partnership opportunities with the area Council. He promised that he would instruct his Personal Assistance on youth Matters, Mr. Itai James to make sure we have an event in the Council Hall for the youths before the departure of Kathrine Thompson-Stone from Nigeria. The meeting ended with an outing in honor of Kathrine Thompson-Stone and accompanying persons as we were taken to Tilapia Island Resort for some lunch with the Mayor and all the members of his cabinet. The meeting ended around 3PM as he was to meet with the state Governor later in the day. We went back to the hotel to do some paper work.

  • 17th July, 2019: Wednesday, Uyo-Abak Day 3

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    Special visit to the Office of the Presiding Chairman of Lutheran Church Nigeria Congregation Abak Local Government Area, Barr. Amadu Essien. He welcomed and entertained us in his Office at Amadu Essien's Chambers along the Mercy General Hospital Road Abak. He was full of praises for identifying his Church congregation for the IYD program in Akwa Ibom State. When we left his Office, our team proceeded to the Lutheran Church for the program.

    We arrived the Lutheran Church at about 4:00PM in the evening and started the program. It was a huge audience. This was where Mrs Aniekan Paul Iwok started her full major assignment as a local dialect interpreter. This was to make the IYD messages to water down properly to the audience which made up of rural and urban dwellers. Amb Paul Iwok was not fluent in the use of local dialect as he kept mixing it with English language but Aniekan Paul did a perfect job.

    Amb Paul Iwok charged and motivated the audience with his speech and lessons. Every one participated as they were excited having an expatriate in their midst. Kathrine Thompson-Stone took everyone through the IYD colors, teachings and activities.

    The program ended at 6:45PM. Two (2) book copies with the title "
    Marriage and Family among the Akwa Ibom people" authored by Edet A. Ukpong were presented to Kathrine Thompson-Stone, one to herself and the other one for her boss Derek Peterson by the Lutheran Chairman in appreciation for their effort to better humanity. The Church Chairman went ahead and conveyed us to the Tilapia Island Resort for some light meal and refreshments. We left Tilapia Resort at 8:45 PM and got to the hotel around 9:15PM.

  • 18th July, 2019: Thursday, Uyo Day 4

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    The first program of the day kicked off at the Presbyterian Church Wellington Bassey Way Uyo at around 10:30AM with a low turnout but gradually, people kept coming in.

    Participants were drawn mainly from the youth department of the Church. Amb. Paul Iwok set the tone with a brief introduction of himself and his story which prepared the minds of the participants.

    The Minister in charge of the Church Rev. Obong. O. Obong was in attendance but later took an excuse from us to attend a meeting of Pastors in Calabar, Cross River State.

    Amb Paul Iwok spoke about the ill treatment Akwa Children received due to the demeaning social stigma, the houseboy syndrome but that a program like the IYD would change the narrative if wholeheartedly embraced. Kathrine Thompson-Stone later took over with the formal introduction of herself, her mission and subsequent presentation with training on the IYD program.

    She did a run through of all the colors and activities that go with each color. Astonishingly, something very revealing happened in the process. As we finished building the web of support and lay it on the floor, a child of about less than two (2) years old, walked closer to it, and laid quietly on the already created web net. It was such a remarkable sight to behold as participants almost shed tears. The program ended by 2:30PM.

  • 19th July, 2019: Friday, Uyo-Abak Day 5

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    The program took place at the Christian (Believers) Power Ministries International situated at Abak Ikot village in Utu Abak Community with a very discouraging audience initially, but surprisingly, as we progressed, over fifty people attended.

    It is a Church that Amb Paul Iwok is known to be the first to make a presentation during their inaugural youth seminar in 2007.

    Then, the Church was in a small rented apartment, and the youths were not focused until after that inaugural seminar. So, it was a home coming as the presiding Pastor Denis Monday was elated for such honor in identifying with his local church. The program started by 10:00AM and lasted till 2:30PM.

    It was very impacting as we usually did what we had always been doing in other locations but the audience needed an interpreter. Aniekan Paul Iwok became the Chief local dialect interpreter of the day, as most of the participants could not understand the fast spoken English of our visitor Kathrine Thompson-Stone.

    It was another huge crowd we witnessed in the course of our program in Akwa Ibom State. Colorful bracelet hand bands were given out. After the event, The first Daughter of the Pastor entertained us with some fine snacks but we had to take them in the car, and the Pastor of the church, Denis Monday appreciated us with the sum of N10,000 Naira inside an envelop. He said, "Please Sir! add this as part of your fuel support from us, we really appreciate your effort, this is the beginning of great things in our Church". We went back to the hotel in Uyo around 3PM preparing for the eight (8) hours training.

  • 20th July, 2019: Saturday, Uyo-Abak Day 6

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    On this day, we visited the residence of a popular politician Chief Sunny Ibanga at Utu Ikot Ekpenyong Village in Ikot Ekpene. We later went to prepare for the 8 hours training.

    • The in-house Training:

    The Eight (8) Hours IYD Certificate Training continued later in the evening in the hotel room in Uyo with the following enthusiasts and presentation of the "I Can Keys" to them.

    1. Amb. Paul Iwok (Host)
    2. Aniekan Paul Iwok (Interpreter/accompanying Staff)
    3. Idorenyin Michael Iwok (Teens Activities Coordinator Male)
    4. Blessed David Eyop (Teacher/Counselor)
    5. Emanuel Essien (Community Outreach Officer)
    6. Lawrence Ezekiel Joshua (Program Officer)
    7. Eunice Monday Udo (Teens Activities Coordinator Female)

    Everyone were certified as the program ended late night except for Emmanuel Essien who left us half way for another appointment.

  • 21th July, 2019: Sunday, Uyo-Abak Day 7

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    We were scheduled for two (2) events:

    1. As Guests on the 60 Mins Live Program with Radio Nigeria Atlantic 104.5 FM Station Uyo which always start by 3:PM.
    2. The IYD youth Workshop at the Believers Assembly Evangelical Church, Abak.

    Both programs went smoothly. People were phoning in to make inquiries about IYD program. Over 165 missed calls were recorded after the program.

    The program at the Believers Assembly Church was likened to a full Church service day meeting, as the turnout was overwhelmingly great.

  • 22nd July, 2019: Monday, Uyo Day 8

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    We were to be a co-guests at Passion FM Uyo with Kareen Udoh of Nature Cares Foundation for Radio discussion program but when we got there, we were told the Transmitters were under repairs.

    We later proceeded to Nature Cares Foundation's Office for a meeting and Media chat. Thereafter, one of the Community Chiefs in Uyo City, Chief Eteidung Morgan supported our visit to the late Mary Slessor's Tomb at Use Ikot Oku village in Ibiono Ibom Local Government of Akwa Ibom State.

    When we came back, the Community Chief led us to Ekpene Ukim community for full entertainment the African way.

    When we returned, Kathrine was taken to the Cultural Center in Uyo Sport Stadium where she was mesmerized by the children dancers who danced and entertained her in our own traditional way. That ended the day's activities.

  • 23rd July, 2019: Tuesday, Uyo-Abak Day 9

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    The day's activities started with a visit to Mrs Monday Udo and my own Mother. After having warmth chatting moment with both of them, we went ahead to honor an invitation from Afaha Obong Clan Council comprising of 23 villages at Ikot Ufen Village in Afaha Obong Clan. We presented some drinks and traditional items to them as a sign of respect. Amb Paul and Kathrine spoke briefly about their mission. The Chiefs were excited to see in reality the White Women they once heard was to come.

    Moreover, we also visited the Raffia City, Ikot Ekpene where Kathrine picked few cultural artifacts. Ikot Ekpene is the first experimented Local Government in British colonized West African territory. We went back to the hotel in Uyo around 4:30 PM preparing to go for a dinner organized by Mrs. Joe Iniodu née Emem Nkereuwem, a seasoned female journalist in her residence to honor Kathrine Thompson-Stone.

  • 24th July, 2019: Wednesday, Lagos Day 1

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    Departure to Lagos.

  • 25th July, 2019: Thursday, Lagos Day 2

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    Three(3) hours training @
    The Light Factory Center in Surulere Lagos with selected enthusiasts.

  • 26th July, 2019: Friday, Lagos Day 3

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    The in-house Eight (8) hours IYD Certificate training at Mota Shopping Complex Conference Hall Ifako-Gbagada Lagos with:

    1. Michelle Agonsi (Now in America)
    2. Roselyn Agonsi
    3. Pauline Paul Iwok
    4. Comfort Mbadah
    5. Philip Ogadinma Nwogu
    6. Joseph Okorie
    7. Lateef Okeowo

    Everyone were certified as the program ended except for two (2) people, Philip Ogadinma Nwogu who attended his School's end of term party and Joseph Okorie who came in half way.

  • 27th July, 2019: Saturday, Lagos Day 4

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    Receiving of visitors from Abeokuta, Ogun State led by Yinka Akibola.

    • Three (3) hours training for them at the Hotel Lounge with Certificates issued.
    • Kathrine's departure to Alaska later in the day.

    Prepared and forwarded to: Institute for Community and Adolescent Resilience (ICAR-US) by:

    Amb Paul Iwok
    IYD Nigeria Program Facilitator
    22nd January, 2020.