“Get to know your board members” series: Sunday Ofili Ibobor
Where do you work and what is your title?
I work as an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work, University of Benin, Nigeria. I also work as the Director of Umuebu Neighbourhood House, Nigeria. The Neighbourhood House is serving populations in two locations: Umuebu in Delta State and Benin City in Edo State.
Briefly summarize your background
I have a B.Sc. degree in Sociology and Anthropology; an M.Sc. degree in Demography, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Benin. I hold a PhD degree in Sociology from the Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria and I received training on the operations of the Neighbourhood House at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I have written some book chapters and articles on the Neighbourhood Settlement House Movement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria and community work.
I was the Acting Head of the Department of Social Work, University of Benin from 2019 to 2020. I served as the Co-ordinator of the Diploma in Social Work Program from 2003 to 2004, and 2011 to 2015. I also served as the Co-ordinator of the Bachelor of Social Work Program from 2006 to 2009 and 2015 to 2017. I was a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and the Department of Social Work, University of Lagos, Nigeria from 2017 to 2018. During this period, I started advocating for the establishment of the University of Lagos – Makoko Neighbourhood House in Lagos State and Chibok Neighbourhood House in Bornu State.
Describe what you do
As the Founder and Director of the first Neighbourhood House in Nigeria, I engage in academic publications and enlightenment seminars to advocate for the integration of the Settlement/Neighbourhood House concept into the Social Work curriculum in Nigeria. I also hold several lectures to motivate social work students to get interested in volunteering, serving and contributing to the development of the Settlement/Neighbourhood House Movement in Nigeria. At the community level, I provide leadership and supervise fieldwork, and community development programs for young persons, adults and the elderly. I continue to advocate for the establishment of more Neighbourhood House Centers in Nigeria.
What are your hopes for the future of the IFS and the Settlement House Movement?
My hope for the future of the IFS and the Settlement House Movement is that they will become visible and politically recognized in Nigeria and in other countries of the world where visibility and recognition are lacking. I also hope that there will be more opportunities for global collaborations, visiting opportunities, and sponsored exchange programs.