06 Jan Video and Text: 2020 Goodwill Speech from the OCI Foundation’s President
TEXT OF THE GOODWILL MESSAGE FROM THE OCI FOUNDATION (JAN 2020)
Good day, everyone.
This is a Goodwill Message from the OCI Foundation, delivered by the Dr Chris Ifediora, the President and Founder of the Foundation, as part of the events ushering us all to the Year 2020.
I enjoin us all to watch this video to the end, as every single word, every single phrase, every single sentence, and every single paragraph, makes an exciting contribution to a composite image of the OCI Foundation, and tells the story of who we are, how we got here, what we are doing next, and why you all should be part of this game-changing charity organisation that was established by a Nigerian, for Nigerians. The OCI Foundation is different from all other charity organisations, and this 15-minute message, tells us why.
If you are watching this video, it means that you made it to 2020, and we say, “Happy New Year”! It also means that you celebrated the 2019 Christmas, and we ask, “hope you had a good one”?
While we congratulate ourselves for making it into the New Year, and wishing you the very best that the year brings, we also wish to remind everyone that this goodwill message is part of an annual tradition that the OCI Foundation has established in other to share with the world, the exciting and ground-breaking activities of this Foundation, which are specially designed to serve 3 purposes, including the Promotion and Advancement of Health, the Advancement of Education, and the Advancement of Public and Social Welfare.
These 3 sets of activities form a tripod on which are vision, mission and dreams are being propagated. They represent the soul of a Foundation that has already touched thousands of Nigerian lives in just 3 years, and that is set to reach millions of Nigerians, in the years to come.
Wait a minute! Did I just say 3 years? Wow!! Even for us directly involved with the OCI Foundation, it is hard to believe that we have only just existed for 3 years. In fact, later in 2020, it will be our 4th year of being registered in Nigeria, and the 2nd year in Australia. Yet, our achievements in this relatively short time makes one forget this very fact.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer news that the OCI Foundation is an international NGO that is fully registered in both Nigeria and Australia. It is no longer news that the Foundation has the Deductible Gifts Recipient (a.k.a. DGR) Benefits Status, a privilege reserved for only a few charity institutions in Australia, and one which strongly attests to the belief in the potentially huge impact of our activities to everyday Nigerians. It is also no longer news that, through our activities that cut across the tripod above, lives have been lifted, hopeless careers have been resurrected, and brilliant but less privileged youths, now enjoy their education, and have taken a measure of control over their health. Yes! None of these stated assertions is still news to anyone closely or remotely associated with us: be they friends, foes, associates, beneficiaries, or followers.
What is news, though, ladies and gentlemen, is that, this is just the beginning! The next few minutes of this Speech will reveal these very facts. Our programs are innovative and are guided by pieces of evidence from scientific research. Where no evidence exists, we evaluate our activities, and create the best possible empirical evidence. We do this because we believe that our beneficiaries, deserve the best. We do this because we have the skills to. We do this, because we can. We do this because our leaders are trained by the world’s best institutions, to deliver the very best to our world.
For those who do not know what we do, we will now briefly explore all 3 legs of our activity tripod: Education, Health and Direct Empowerment (or Social Welfare).
On Education, we now have 4 sets of scholarship awards, and we are bold to say that our beneficiaries are picked on merit. The OCI Foundation’s scholarship scheme is unique, and all 4 sets scholarships are inter-related. The scheme is designed to identify brilliant but financially-less privileged individuals, sponsor their certificate exams at both the Junior and Secondary Schools, and, thereafter, pay for their JAMB exams. The JAMB exam in Nigeria allows a candidate to gain admission into a tertiary institution, and it is after this admission is gained, that our 4th and final scholarship, called the Cyfed Undergraduate Scholarship, kicks in. This Cyfed Scholarship is there to finance the individual through his or her entire undergraduate study, subject, of course, to academic performances.
Our Junior and Senior Secondary School Awards, a.k.a. the IFOMSSA Junior and Senior Awards, are special, because they were established in honour of a legend. That Legend, Ladies and Gentlemen, is no other person, than my dear dad, who, in his lifetime, was an Education Champion. He strongly believed that through education, one can overcome poverty, and achieve greatness. As with most things in his life, dad was right. “IFOMSSA” stands for Ifedioramma Okafor Memorial Secondary School Awards, and through this, my father’s dream and legacies on Education live on. Having these awards run for the past 3 years is one of the biggest achievements of my life to date. Dad, wherever you are, I promised to keep your legacies alive. Through the OCI Foundation, I am doing just that.
Since establishing these scholarship schemes, we have recorded landmark achievements. Schools in Anambra East LGA of Nigeria, the primary beneficiaries of the IFOMSSA Awards, have emerged victorious in a number of state-wide academic competitions, while a number of the IFOMSSA Senior scholarship winners have gained admission into different tertiary institutions in Nigeria. These are supposed to be ordinary village schools, and their students are expected to have little or no hope. But, as my dad taught us, Education can unlock the potentials in anyone, and the OCI Foundation is giving these youngsters a chance to actualize their potentials.
One other unique feature of our scholarship scheme is that we do not just offer financial rewards, we also inspire and train our beneficiaries to be future leaders, and groom them to be fine gentlemen and ladies with admirable characters that will uphold the good values of the OCI Foundation. As such, we have a social media group that is exclusive to these youngsters, where they are in direct and constant touch with the Founder and President of the Foundation. Ladies and gentlemen, expect these Cyfed Scholars, as we call them, to blossom in the next few years. Among the current Cyfed Scholars are future engineers, priests, and scientists, and, in the next year or 2, we will have our first set graduates among them. They will not only be worthy in learning, they will also be ready to lead. Our societies should embrace them! Nigerians should expect them!! The world should be ready for them!!!
For more details of the OCI Foundation’s education activities, scholarships and beneficiaries, please visit our website, www.ocifoundation.org.
Well, if you find our story on Education inspiring, then the activities on Health will simply blow you away. The OCI Foundation has, arguably, become a leader in the Campaign against breast and cervical cancers in Nigeria. Yes, the whole of Nigeria! Not just one local government or educational zone, and not just in one State. Our activities are now permeating all nooks and crannies of the Nigerian Nation, and we have established exciting partnerships with governmental and non-governmental institutions in the Country, with the support of national and international bodies and institutions.
Our flagship program is the Arm our Youths Health Campaign, otherwise called the “ArOY Campaign”. This Campaign is an innovative, wide-reaching, realistic, sustainable, culturally-acceptable and cost-effective health initiative targeted on breast and cervical cancers. It is unique, and the very first of its kind, anywhere in the world. Its principles were informed by the evaluation research championed by the OCI Foundation itself, and, as such, we are proud to say that it is pure in its conception, unique in its invention, comprehensive in its packaging, engaging in its delivery, and exciting in its offering.
It is a Campaign endorsed by the prestigious Harvard Medical School, Boston, the United States of America, an institution of which the Founder of the OCI Foundation was trained in. The Campaign also has the blessings of the Griffith University School of Medicine, Gold Coast, Australia, an institution that only last year, awarded an Associate Professorship to the Founder of the OCI Foundation, and one which is overseeing the research component of the ArOY Campaign.
In a nutshell, the Arm Our Youths Campaign is a health promotion initiative that aims to integrate anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer teachings into the curriculum of all senior secondary (high) schools in Nigeria. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is the first Campaign to have an organised and sustainable intervention that targets young women in secondary schools, aged mainly in their mid to late teens. It is also unique because its teachings will be repeated multiple times, over a number of years, for the same cohort of students. It also has an in-built assessment and examination system that is integrated into the regular school assessment systems. Combined, these features improve “engagement” from the participants, and will guarantee long-term sustainability of the lessons they gain. These features correct the major weaknesses of existing health campaigns from other organisations, and, if, in the future, the Nigerian Government introduces free and widespread anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer programs, the ArOY Campaign will be there complement that.
The ArOY Campaign, as is all programs of the OCI Foundation, has an associated evaluation (or research) component, which, as already stated, is being overseen by the Griffith University School of Medicine, Australia. The research team has in its fold, 5 seasoned academics, drawn from 4 different universities, across 2 different countries and 2 different continents. This team boasts of at least one University Professor, an Associate Professor, a Senior Lecturer and Lecturer in its fold.
The ArOY Campaign is designed to reach all the States and Territories of the Nigerian Nation on or before the Year 2025. It has already commenced in Anambra State, and Benue State will have it rolled out within the first half of 2020. Efforts are also under way in Osun, Enugu and Lagos States, as well as the FCT and the rest of the Country, over the next few years.
Ladies and gentlemen, to actualize our dream for a national spread, we have formed, and are still forming, strong and exciting partnerships all over the Country. These partnerships cut across governmental institutions, non-governmental ones, corporate bodies, and individuals. Here, we provide few examples. The NYSC is already an official partner to this program, and Nigerians should expect a nationwide activity with this institution, which will see all fresh graduates in the Country benefit from this program. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in Nigeria is also an official partner to this noble course. We also have the Innoson Group, the Daniel Amokachi Foundation, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the Anambra Broadcasting Service as official partners.
In addition, Stars from Nollywood Nigeria, the 3rd biggest movie industry in the world, are partners of this National project, and one of their biggest stars, Mrs Ebele Okaro Onyiuke, is an official Ambassador of this project. The First Lady of Benue State, Her Excellency Dr Eunice Ortom, through her official Foundation, the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, is officially a partner to this program, and Nigerians should also expect developments from this front later this year. Caverra World, a Nigerian-based organization committed to the motivation and inspiration of teens for excellence, are also officially on board with this project, which also has the official support of the WHO, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA, Abuja), the CDM Academy International School, Gboko, Benue State, among others.
And, ladies and gentlemen, this is just the beginning.
Details of the ArOY Campaign are available on our website, and videos and pictures can be found easily on Google, YouTube and all social media handles.
A final point to note on our Health activities is the existence of the OCI CerviBreast Mobile Phone Application, which is freely available on the Android Play Store. IPhone products will have it soon, and we encourage everyone to download it, to use it, and to share it.
Finally, on the DIRECT EMPOWERMENT AND SOCIAL WELFARE
This aspect of our activities are to be fully developed, but, even at that, we have given away lots of support to individuals under this scheme. An organized activity will be ready soon, hopefully, later on this year. Details are, again, available on our website, www.ocifoundation.org.
Before we end this Speech, we need to show our special appreciation to all those who have been vital to our success story so far. Obviously, we would have been nowhere today without the sacrifices of these noble men and women. They give up their time, ideas, energy and comfort, to ensure that our activities are carried out as planned. Their commitments are legendary, and I am sure that their place in Nigerian History, will be assured with time. Unfortunately, time and space will not allow me to mention your individual names, but please, be aware that we see all you do, we appreciate all you do, and we will never forget. Thank you!!!
Together, we have shown the capacity to conclusively deliver our promise to Anambra State. Together, we have shown a strong capacity to go beyond the borders of one State in Nigeria, and reach to other States and institutions of the Nigerian Nation. We are able to do this because, our commitment to this course is bold and firm. Our desire to reach out to everyone is resolute and unwavering. And, as we have said repeatedly, even though we may not have all the financial or political wherewithal to complete the tasks solely by ourselves, we, at the OCI Foundation, certainly do not lack the courage, nor the dedication, nor the commitment, nor the skills, to complete this task.
This Speech ends here. Thank you all, for listening, and for watching to the end. We give Gold all the glory for his grace and mercies, and we pray that he continually grants us the grace, the ideas, the resources, and travel mercies, in all we are doing.
Please share this video, and share the messages from the OCI Foundation. As you do this, may God continue to bless you all, and may you all experience the immense joy, that comes with selfless service. And may you join us, as we rise, by lifting others.