In a country as large as Nigeria, with a population of about 204,800,076 people and over 90 million people in poverty, the importance of social impact initiatives cannot be overemphasised. It is little wonder then that there are many NGOs springing up, many activists fighting for one cause or the other, individuals lending their voices and going the extra mile to ensure that they help other people live a better life.
Here are initiatives that are touching lives in Nigeria:
Airtel Touching Lives
Airtel Nigeria is more than just data and calls, the telecommunications agency has done a lot in lifting some Nigerians out of abject poverty, through its Airtel Touching Lives initiative.
Airtel Touching Lives is a corporate social responsibility initiative that offers practical relief, succour, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged, disadvantaged and hard to reach persons in our society. Through this initiative, Airtel has touched the lives of over 2 million Nigerians who were directly or indirectly plagued with varying forms of afflictions ranging from health challenges to financial woes.
Just last month, Vice President Osinbajo lauded Airtel’s unswerving efforts in bringing millions of underprivileged Nigerians out of despair and being a beacon of hope through its touching lives initiative.
The Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is a non-profit organization that helps victims of sexual assault, violence, and rape. WARIF’s primary responsibility is to ensure that all young girls and women live in a society free of rape and sexual violence.
Over the years, WARIF has responded to the high incidence of sexual violence, rape and human trafficking that keeps occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.
One in four women experiences sexual violence in childhood with approximately 70% reporting more than one incident of sexual violence. Only 5% are seeking help and only 3.5% get any help. WARIF is finding a solution to this problem in Nigeria.
In 2018, WARIF was named ‘Charity of the Year’ by The Beat 99.9 FM for its “remarkable progress in reducing the high incidence of rape and sexual violence among young women and girls in Nigeria”.
Through WARIF, several other initiatives have been birthed; WARIF Centre – where medical care, counseling and consultation are provided to rape and domestic violence survivors, WARIF Through The Arts – which uses performance arts to create awareness about sexual abuse, the WARIF Educational School Programme (WESP) – which educates girls on this prevailing issue across secondary schools, and the WARIF Gatekeepers Initiative, which aims to eradicate gender-based violence in rural areas through education of traditional birth attendants and traditional midwives.
In a society where there is so much hush about mental illness and people are scared to talk about their ‘failing’ mental health, Mentally Aware is creating a safe environment for people to open up about their mental health issues and get help. Mentally Aware is focused on ending mental health stigma, and creating a comfortable environment for open conversations about mental health. The good thing about Mentally Aware is they have created an online platform where you can get help wherever you are. In 2017, Mentally Aware won the Nelson Mandela-Graça Michel Innovation Awards in mental health.
In just a few years, Mentally Aware has provided mental health education programs to hundreds of schools and workplaces with thousands of beneficiaries.
Sebeccly Cancer Care
Sebeccly Cancer Care is a cancer care and advocacy organization dedicated to helping women living with breast and cervical cancer. Sebeccly provides cancer information services and supportive services to those affected by cancer. Sebeccly has the vision to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria by advocating for improved conditions of care in our health institutions. Sebeccly has helped thousands of women by screening them for breast and cervical cancer -free, and getting them all the help they need in beating cancer.
In 2015, they did the Light Lagos Pink Campaign where they galvanized support for the fight against breast cancer and enlightened over 8 million Nigerians about breast cancer. Sebeccly also powered Oncopadi App where cancer patients can seek help via their smartphones.
Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG)
A few months after the Chibok girls went missing, Nigerians and the world went about their normal lives and ‘forgot’ about them. Not the Bring Back Our Girls activists though. It’s been about 6 years now, 112 Chibok girls have still not been rescued and the BBOG group is still clamouring for their release.
Bring Back Our Girls is a diverse group of citizens advocating for speedy and effective search and rescue of all abducted girls in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency has led to the lives of many women, men and children, BBOG seeks to pressurise and encourage the government to contain and quell the insurgency in Nigeria.
Slum2School envisages a world where children have access to quality education, good health and a happy home. Slum2School works directly with communities to design and implement impact programs that are uniquely suited to meet their needs while ensuring that access to quality education is ultimately provided for the children.
So far, Slum2School has provided academic scholarships, health, and psycho-social support for over 72,450 children and has reached 43 communities.
In Nigeria, 10.5 million children are out of school, 6 million – out of 36 million out-of-school girls in the world are Nigerians and 20 million out of 22 million Nigerian children, aged 0-3 years, do not have access to early childhood education. Oando Foundation strives to bring an end to this.
So far, Oando Foundation has awarded 1,123 scholarships, 700,000 people have, in one way or another, benefitted from the foundation’s programme. Across 23 states, 88 schools have been adopted by the foundation and 2,169 teachers have been trained by the foundation.
The foundation also established the ‘Sponsor A Child’ initiative. It is aimed at supporting brilliant pupils in the already adopted schools to further their secondary education. The foundation currently has 870 pupils on scholarship.
Every Nigerian has a right to good education, good healthcare, food, security and more. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Nigeria. It is, thus, our collective responsibility to look within our communities – and even beyond, ‘uncover’ the challenges people are going through and mobilise help for them.
Let’s make Nigeria a conducive and safe place for all.