The Village Pioneer Project has been founded by Olatunji Akomolafe with support by his wife Elvira. In the following Olatunji Akomolafe describes the genesis up to today:

I already worked on the idea of the VPP within my dimploma thesis "Planning from below, a new concept for rural development" that I wrote at Gesamthochschule Kassel, Fachbereich Internationale Agrarwirtschaft in Witzenhausen, Germany. The emphais of my work dealt with the subject how development aid can or must be started from the base. More than 20 years of VPP attest my theories of that time.

Objectives of the VPP from the beginning (Nov. 1984)
· Creation of motivation and mobilization strategies or rural youths as a means of decreasing rural-urban migration.
· Training of youths and local farmers through simple and informal methods, the various integrated ways of farming in order to be self-reliant.
· Practising of simple and appropriate technologies that are easily adaptable to the resource base and conditions of the poor.
· Enhancement of cultivation-, harvest- and processing-methods of local stapel foods.
· Utilisation of waste and transformation into worthwhile ressources, e. g. pig dung in gas production, rabbit dung for composting (biologal ressource recycling).
· Strengthening of cultural conciousness of the youth.
· Protection of environmental through the application of biological farming, rendering conscious of environmental problems with ecological campaigns.
· Distribution of the ideas and ideals of the VPP by the cultural center in Akure.

Chronologal development of the VPP
a) After finishing my studies I returned back to Nigeria in the end of August 1984 with a container (filled with private goods and some simple farming tools and devices, that have been donated by fair-trade-shops and individuals). I started to build the Ajuefarm with ca. 45 girls and boys (all from Ajue and surrounding). The juveniles had been chosen by the village elders and the community provided us with the ground (Ajue -und Kinishofarm). Before we could start cultivating corn, yam or kassava the land had to be reclaimed, as it lay waste for a long time. Rev. Bishop Gbonigi of the Anglican Church consecrated the project resp. the Ajuefarm in January 1985 officially. During that time me and six other man in charge rented in Ondo (ca. 25 km off the farm), while the juveniles lived with their parents. We compensated their collaboration with food, now and then clothing and pocket money.

b) In October 85 my wife Elvira joined us with our daughter Buki (7 months of age at that time) and 4 trainees from Germany. We still lived in Ondo and traveled every day to the Ajuefarm by taxi. To save travel expenses and time we bought a minibus. Also in 1985 we wanted to build our mud house in Ajue, but the rain started earlier than expected and washed away the air-dried mud bricks. We therefore concentrated on the farm work and soon could harvest an adequate amount of corn and yam.
Start-up problems: The youth didn't show consistency regarding their attitude to work. As we had only few financial means we couldn't offer enought food and accomodation. So in the end of 1995 only 25 juveniles were left.

c) During the dry spell of Dec. 85 to Feb 86 the farm work rested and we concentrated on the production of mud bricks for the building of a 14-room house in Ajue.
In October 86 we moved from Ondo to Ajue.
In those times we had neither electricity nor running water. Every day we had to obtain water within a radius of 25 to 65 km.
In November 86 a German delegation visited us. They worked together with CARE/CANS under Rev. Bishop Adegbola and gave us credits and encouraged us. The idea and realisation of the VPP was the right way to development aid in a land like Nigeria, they said...

d) 1987 the VPP expanded in the ressort farming (Expansion of Kinishofarm) and livestock breeding (local races of goats and pigs). During his stage from December 1986 to March 1987 Wulf Renfordt, a friend of us, build a bio-gas digester and a smithy with integrated bread-oven for the project. In June 87 we opened the VPP Restaurant. At the same time the first juveniles returned to their villages, hoping to created anything like the VPP there. In November 87 - in the context of a youth-exchange - 10 juveniles from VHS Oldenburg, Germany came to the project and helped for four weeks on the farm and the workshop. At that time Elvira was in Germany and gave birth to our second daughter Ifedayo in the beginning of November.

e) After Elvira returned with our children in spring 1988 to the project, I traveled with 8 pioneers - in the context of the youth-exchange mentioned above - to Germany for four weeks. Three weeks we stayed in Oldenburg and surroundings, attended the metal-workshop of VHS and visited among others various farmers. In the end of our stage we spend a week with family Kühn (sister of my wife) in Waiblingen-Neustadt. During a visit of the Residential Facility Stetten we got to know the technique of weaving rag rugs that we could use later in our project. Far-reaching in 1988 was the drilling of a deep well. It was finished in September and we took this chance to introduce the VPP to a broader audience. (Oct. 88 Grand opening feast of the VPP).
The well water is at the disposal of the village people of Ajue for free. Now we had our own water and could expand the pig breeding. We had to cut off the goat breeding, because the local migratory race got sick in our restricted area.
Also in this year the public relations have been intensified, to spread the idea of the VPP. So weekend seminars have been created with scholars from secondary schools of Ondo or weekly adult seminars, where one dealt theoretically and practically with biofarming, keeping of animals and recycling.

f) 1989 the foundation stone of teh cultural center in Akure, the capital of Ondo-State, got laid. Until Beginning of 89 the ground and first floor were built. Then the construction had to halt, because a severe accident of our manager, Mr. Dayo, depleted our financial means.
Also the year 89 had a bad corn- and yam-harvest because the rain started late. We even weren't lucky with the rabbit breeding because a plague raged that we almost couldn't control. But we nonetheless could record a happy event: Our son Gbenga was born in the end of November in Germany.

g) 1990 the most important plans were the breeding and fosterage of trees and the campaign on ecological farming.
From Sept. to Nov. 90 Mr. Otti Kocsis, a trainee from Switzerland, was occupied with the issue of solar energy and build a solar dehydrator and solar cooker.

h) In January 91 the building of the cultural center in Akure continued. The roof was put up and the ceiling was built in. In April 91 the construction of a concert hall located behind the center started.

i) 1991/92: Training of juveniles from 9 states of Nigeria, from Northern Nigeria and the frontier to Kamerun.
Beginning of a massive environmental campaign: Protection of rivers and tree plants.

j) 1993-95: Construction of the Trainingsfarm in Iju (poultry- and rabbit hutch, big fields, tree nursery, oil palms).

k) 1996/97: VPP-Networking: Cooperation with other NGO. Among them Canadian Youth Organisation CYO, Anglican Church of Liverpool, Emerson College England and various other NGO of Nigeria.

l) 1998 Construction of the first water manufacture; 1999 furnishing of the library in Ajue and expansion of the garden.

m) 2001: Publishing of books for primary schools in Southwestern Nigeria.
2001/02: Expansion of water and juice production. 2000-2003: Public campaigns: placards, seminars, workshops in Southwestern Nigeria, radio transmissions concerning the issues
--effective usage of ressources
--adapted technologies
--do-it-yourself
Intensification of natural remedies, protection and preservation of botanical gardens.

n) 2004-2006: Construction of a mobil bio-gas digester.

o) 2005-2006: Construction of Nature-Medicine-Clinic, production and test of natural remedies.

p) 2007: Finishing and opening of Nature-Medicine-Clinic (5 rooms, 8 employees). Ordering of construction of a fixed bio-gas digester for electricity plant in Akure.

q) 2008: Continuous and regular support of primary and secondary schools. The Farmschool in Iju is transformed into a comprehensive school, that educates farmers, herbologists and craftsmen in the farming ressort.
Production and allocation of herbals for medics in Ondo- and Ekiti-State, too.