By Cosmas Omegoh
A couple of weeks ago, some communities in Ekiti, Cross River, Kwara and Delta states were beneficiaries of various projects through the MTN Foundation’s “What Can We Do Together?” initiative.
The foundation’s Executive Secretary, Nonny Ugboma, said the “What Can We Do Together?” initiative is a “unique project that aims at putting smiles on the faces of individuals and improving the lot of Nigerian communities.”
Aimed at giving every Nigerian the opportunity to make a difference in their community, it was launched in September 2015 during the 10th anniversary of the MTN Nigeria Foundation.
In the second phase of the initiative, a call was made to Nigerians to nominate 200 communities to benefit from 200 projects, ranging from transformers, boreholes, school furniture and medical equipment supply to primary health care centres.
A total of 200 communities were selected from a pool of over 80,000 nominations, following a rigorous screening process. Then 20 communities were selected to receive 500KVA transformers, 80 schools to receive school furniture, 80 primary health care centres to receive modern medical equipment and another 20 communities to receive 650ft water boreholes.
This is aimed at complimenting government’s efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Nigerian children.
The Primary Health Care Centre in Ilupeju-Ekiti, Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State, was one of the centres, which recently benefitted from the initiative. Echoes of joy erupted from the area when the “What Can We Do Together?” initiative berthed there to support the government-owned facility.
Expressing her joy, matron of the centre, Mrs. Ogunmola Beatrice, said: “Thank God for the foetal doppler; we no longer need to refer patients who need to hear their babies’ heartbeat to the general hospital.”
The facility received a hospital bed, standard hospital mattress, pillows, urinary bed screen, stretchers (manual and collapsible), stethoscope, delivery bed, weighing scale, snellen chart, baby weighing scale, foetal doppler, manual suction machine, vacuum extractor, blood pressure monitor and sterilising sets, among others.
Chairman, Facility Health Committee, Pastor Olu Olusunde, noted that: “There is nothing in life that is more valuable than good health. Without health, there is no happiness, no peace and no success.”
He thanked the foundation for the gesture, which he said was rare these days because of economic hardship in the country.
Meanwhile, in Ojerim community in Mbube East, Ogoja, Cross River State, the people were said to be without electricity for the past 20 years. But they recently got a 500KVA transformer, which was installed under the second phase of the programme.
The village head of the Ojerim, Chief Francis Alakpa, praised the MTN Foundation for coming to the aid of the people: “We have been in pain and suffering for more than two decades, while neighbouring communities enjoyed regular power supply. Today, we have cause to rejoice.”
Days after, it was the turn of Erinle community in Kwara State to rejoice. Old students, pupils, parents and teachers of the Muslim Junior Secondary School, Erinle, were available to receive new sets of school desks and chairs, as part of the foundation’s initiative.
An octogenarian and 1952 graduate of the school, Chief Saka Raji, who could not hide his joy and delight at the gesture, said: “Today, I am indeed very happy. I am the only surviving member of the first set that graduated from this school and I am happy to be alive to witness this. Many parents have being forced to take their children to private schools even when there are no qualified teachers, due to lack of learning materials; donations like this will help to rekindle interest in public school education.”
Staff Secretary of the school, Mrs. E.O. Omokaye, expressed happiness for the items, describing the gesture as a laudable. She said that the items arrived when they were most needed by the pupils.
“This donation will not only help our students to be more focused and comfortable it will also increase the number of students that the school can admit, since we now have comfortable learning facilities,” she said.
Chief A.O. Adigun, the Jagun of Erinle, opined that the furniture donation would be of great benefit to the pupils.
“They are of great quality and will benefit the students. Most of their chairs and tables are bad and no longer fit for use. This donation, therefore, fills a great need,” he said.
At Ellu community in Isoko North, Delta State, the women were put in a joyous mood following the renovation of a laboratory in the area and the donation of durable medical equipment such as LDRP beds, standard hospital mattresses, pillows, urinary bed screen, stretchers, stethoscope, delivery bed and scales, among other items, to assist in childbirth.
Chief Nurse, Mrs. Elohor Odharo, said: “The community will forever appreciate this precious gift. This will definitely improve the process of easy delivery and the lives of mothers and their babies.”