With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
Former American President, John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address inspired citizens to see the importance of civic action and public service with his historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
It was a challenge to every American to contribute in some way to the public good.
It is heartening that here in Kwara State a few Non Governmental Organisations have taken it upon themselves to complement government efforts particularly in the areas of education and health. They have heed the clarion call to partner government at all levels at ensuring better welfare for the citizenry. Their visible efforts dot and are felt by people in parts of the state.
There is the Igbomina Mobile Clinic an initiative of the Igbomina Community in North America, the Fresh Insight Foundation, KSANG Seattle chapter, Becky Adimula Foundation Omo Ibile Esie, North America among others.
The Igbomina Mobile Clinic, a health outreach programme provides first line medical service with tests and treatments of hypertension, diabetics, arthritis and malaria amongst other ailments, which undoubtedly are common killer diseases in rural communities.
The fresh Insight on its on part embarked on Operation kit 1,000 Kwara pupils aimed at distributing 1,000 school uniforms, bags, sandals and cardigans to pupils so as to boost their morale, which is geared towards increasing the enthusiasm of school pupils. In addition, the foundation has furnished schools in communities in the state with furniture in a bid to provide conducive teaching and learning environment. The foundation has been carrying on with this project with so much zeal and commitment Their philanthropy carried out with zeal and commitment with sole aim of aiding academic excellence for human capital growth.
The KSANG Seattle chapter and Omo Ibile Esie, North America have direct their energy and resources to the provision of infrastructure. They embarked on renovation of blocks of classrooms in communities as parts of effort at revamping the state education sector. Becky Foundation, is a NGO that focused people with special needs. The Foundation has been encouraging education pursuit of this category of people. It rewards the overall best student cash prize annually and promised to construct accommodation of 50 bed spaces worth N16.5m for the School For Special Needs in the state soon.
The foundations/NGOs in their various capacities are playing bridging gaps in certain areas of the society and impacting lives positively. Their intervention is making a lot of difference in the quest for development. It is common saying that ‘government cannot do it alone, ‘hence the need for people to contribute their quota to the development of the society.
The slow pace of development in the country has generated concern in different quarters.
It is for this reason that social philanthropy by individual and groups should be encouraged to complement government efforts.
Education which is the bedrock of development has suffered dwindling fortunes over the years, thus the sector is begging for intervention in its various facets. Unfortunately there is a huge vacuum in critical area of intervention. Not much value is placed on education. Public funding for education has been grossly inadequate. Whereas, the infrastructural decay in the sector needs to be urgently addressed, that is why more foundations are needed to donate blocks of classrooms, other areas of intervention include, provision of books and libraries to schools students, scholarship to indigent and brilliant students particularly at this time when parents are finding it increasingly difficult picking educational bills or their children. The empowerment of teachers told by better equipped for the job of imparting quality knowledge vis-a-vis better service delivery, is also an area NGOs can look into.
The foundations especially those in the Diaspora can help in the funding of public tertiary institutions in the state. They could partner governments to equip the institutions.
The challenge faced by most foundations is that they have their hands in many pies at the same time, rather they should identify an area for intervention and develop it.
In the area of health the interventionary bodies can assist government in the rehabilitation of hospitals, provision of drugs and equipment, training and retraining for human resources among others.
The state is no doubt in dire need of more foundations to show interests in the provision of basic services to those who need them and reach the poor and vulnerable people.
However, foundations/NGOs should not be used as spring board for political ambition or aspiration because some people flout foundations to publicise themselves. It is a pure humanitarian service ehich should be devoid of politics of any colouration while funds should be put to judicious for developmental purpose(s).
In conclusion, one must commend the foundations making sacrifices to provide succor to the needy and putting smiles on faces of indigent Kwarans.