It’s been six months since we carried out the first stage of the Indigenous Nigerian Sign Language Documentation Project (INSLDP) which took place in Abuja and Magajingari Community, Kaduna North, Nigeria, during which time about 1000 indigenous lexical signs, expressions and short stories were collected. The signs collected are but a small portion of the communicative expressions of the indigenes of the Deaf community, meant to serve as a sample for subsequent documentations, while this initial exercise is meant to form a roadmap for subsequent documentations.
The next stage to the entire documentation of Indigenous Nigerian Sign Language Project is production of online and offline pedagogic materials of the language, while additional documentation exercises should go on in different Deaf communities, and this is equally a capital-intensive stage of the project, as it involves advocacy and intensive awareness campaigns in both Deaf and Hearing communities. This is where we are now. Despite the fact that we are yet to raise adequate funds to carry out the needed advocacy and awareness, we continue to carry on with some grassroot advocacy, including constant promotion the Indigenous Nigerian Sign Language (INSL) on social media and otherwise.
January 2019, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), which is a very important piece of our advocacy. The national association of the Deaf will play a great role in pushing for legislature and advocating for the adoption of the pedagogic materials of the documented Indigenous Sign Language for use in the Schools for the Deaf across the country and in the families of rural communities. While we currently process the signed language videos from the first outreach for online uploading, we are set to sensitize the members of NNAD on the new formed relationship for a great synergy.
We are profoundly grateful for the supports we have got so far from our community of supporters both home and abroad, without which we would never get to where we are today. We are equally hopeful for more, because we may not get to the next stage of achievement without your supports and we may not succeed in creating language access to numerous deaf children in the rural communities in Nigeria, who are locked up in their world of limited communication and little hope for a brighter future. That is why this work is important to us. We pledge to not let down the investments we and all our supporters have made so far and the hope we have kindled so far in the lives of many deaf individuals through the little we have done. We as a team are ready to use and maximize whatever little resources we get to ensure that the job is done.