01 Jan 2023 2023 OCI Foundation’s Goodwill Message: Video and Full Text from the President (01/01/2023)
TEXT OF THE GOODWILL MESSAGE FROM THE OCI FOUNDATION (JAN 2023
This is 2023. It is another New Year. Another January 1st. And yet another Goodwill Message from the OCI Foundation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this Year’s speech, once again, brings all our staff and volunteers, all our associates, partners, and benefactors, and all our beneficiaries, well-wishers, and the general public from all walks of life, and all parts of the globe, up to speed with what the OCI Foundation has done in the 12 months of 2022, what we are currently doing, and what we intend to do in the coming 12 months of 2023.
As most of our followers will know, the Year 2022 was a big one for the OCI Foundation. We delivered on our major promises. Yes, we completed old projects, consolidated ongoing ones, and committed to new initiatives. As always, we kept our promises, and we rose higher, by lifting others.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the next 10 minutes, we will try to summarise the ever-increasing and ever-exciting activities of the OCI Foundation. Ever since we delivered our first New Year’s Goodwill Message in 2017, this task, now a yearly ritual, has become increasingly difficult and challenging. But hey, we will try.
I am Dr Chris Ifediora, the President, and Founder of the Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora Foundation, otherwise known as the OCI Foundation. I am also an Associate Professor of Family Medicine with the Griffith University Medical School, Gold Coast, Australia.
As most of our associates already know, the OCI Foundation is an international NGO established in 2016 to serve Nigerians through a tripod of well-tailored activities that are centred on the Advancement and Promotion of Health, the Promotion of Education, and the Promotion of Public and Social Welfare. In 2022, we recorded landmark successes on all 3 legs of this well-packaged tripod. Let us now look at each of these.
Though our esteemed partnership with Africa’s largest youth organisation, the Nigeria’s National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, our signature program, the Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Anti-cancer Health Campaign, finally became a national event, delivering life-saving and inspirational talks to hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths, on an annual basis. Following a colourful and well-attended opening ceremony flagged-off by the Nigerian First Lady at the Nation’s capital on February the 3rd, 2022, the campaign has been successfully staged 6 different times across all 3 batches in most of the 37 NYSC orientation camps in Nigeria.
The evidence-based principles behind the ArOY Health Campaign, borne out of raw scientific research by the OCI Foundation’s team of seasoned researchers, is a global-first. It is an initiative that is endorsed by the USAs prestigious Harvard Medical School, the WHO Country Office in Nigeria, the Nigerian First Lady, the Nigerian Cancer Society, and many other national and international organisations.
The Campaign, which primarily seeks to introduce anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer programs into the teachings for young adults in Nigerian high schools and among fresh graduates in the NYSC program, has also scaled through the legislative hurdles that will allow it become law in Nigeria. Through the support of esteemed legislative experts in the Nigerian National Assembly, the Bill seeking to make the teachings compulsory for all Nigerian senior secondary schools, is awaiting its third and final hearing, and then a harmonisation between the lower and upper legislative chambers will follow, before it gets transmitted to the Nigerian president, to be signed into law. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a big deal. It will not just empower Nigerian youths, but will also set the stage for what is expected to be a comprehensive, sustainable, cost-effective, wide-reaching, and culturally-acceptable anti-cancer campaign in Nigeria. In our humble view, this is, arguably, the most important healthcare initiative in Nigeria in recent memory, given its shear potential for impact, reach and spread.
The ArOY Health Campaign also has two other components. One is the CerviBreast Mobile Phone Application, an innovative and interactive anti-cancer App that is freely available on the Google and Android play stores. If you have not already done so, please pause this video now, and download it. It is a life-saver, a global-first, and a multi-award-winning technological initiative of the OCI Foundation.
The final component of our ArOY Health Campaign is the Gynocular Project, which facilitates free and/or highly-subsidized digital cervical cancer screenings for Nigerians. On February the 2nd, 2022, the first centre was commissioned in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, by the Hon Minister of State for the FCT. Despite challenges, multiple screenings have been carried out for women who could never have afforded it, and lives have been saved. A second centre was planned for Anambra State in late 2022. This has not happened yet, due to the security issues facing our dear country at the moment. However, we assure everyone that we, alongside our international partners, are ever ready to see this second centre come alive in 2023, or whenever things regularize.
Compatriots, our health activities will not be complete if we fail to mention the “ArOY Health Campaign Schools Challenge”, a quiz contest designed to enhance engagement with the ArOY Health Campaign among senior secondary schools in Anambra State, Nigeria. This competition involves all the 261 public senior secondary schools in the State, with the Grand Finale holding yearly on February the 4th, the Global World Cancer Day. The inaugural, 2021/2022 version was highly successful, while the semi-finalists have already emerged ahead of the 2022/2023 finals coming up on February 4, 2023.
The OCI Foundation continues to deliver on its SIX different sets of scholarships. These scholarships are uniquely designed, given that they are largely inter-linked, with the potential for a recipient to stay on its various levels all the way from junior to senior secondary schools, and then through to the completion of their tertiary studies. Among these scholarships are the Ifedioramma Okafor Memorial Secondary School Academic Junior and Senior Awards (otherwise known as the IFOMMSA Awards). The IFOMSSA Scheme was named after my beloved father, the late Obi Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor, who was an academic champion in his lifetime. There is also the JAMB Awards, that facilitates enrolments into the University Matriculation Examinations (UME) that allow entry into Nigerian tertiary institutions, as well our two undergraduate scholarships, the Cyfed Undergraduate Scholarship and the Cyfed-Bradley Hope Scholarship. The latter was introduced to honour the memory of a late Australian teenager, Bradley Hope, whose family, the Hope Family, now partners with the OCI Foundation to deliver on this scholarship for Nigerians on a yearly basis. The sixth scholarship, the Literary Award for Medical Students (LAMS), is available to students in all recognised medical schools in Nigeria, and is designed to stimulate literary skills among them.
PUBLIC AND SOCIAL WELFARE
This is the third and final footing of the OCI Foundation’s activity tripod. It has continued to expand, since it roared into life in 2021. In 2022, this arm allowed the OCI Foundation to sponsor a number of social activities across multiple NYSC orientation camps in Nigeria, including Pageantry and Quizzes, as well as Cultural, Singing, and Eating Competitions.
We have also continued to sponsor a soccer outfit in Nsugbe, the hometown of the OCI Foundation’s President, and expanded our Direct Empowerment Project to a level that now sees beneficiaries trained in various skills acquisition programs.
Finally, on this Public and Social Welfare program, we were able to stand with our bereaved associates at their most trying moments, and celebrated with those that had cherished times, like at weddings and anniversaries.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
Friends, we are pleased to say that our efforts have not gone unrecognised. As was the case in 2021, when we bagged over a dozen and half awards, we were again honoured specially in 2022. The accolades included multiple international awards across 3 different continents that include Europe, the Australasia and Africa. The “Emerging Not For Profit (NFP) of the Year” award came from Sydney, Australia, while we won the “Advancing Healthcare with Technology” at two separate events in Lusaka, Zambia, and London, United Kingdom, respectively.
Also in 2022, the OCI Foundation was not just honoured as the “Most Impactful NGO of the Year”, but was named among the “Top 100 Most Impactful African NGOs”. The Foundation’s President, which happens to be my humble self, was not left out, as I officially became a “United Nation’s Mayor of World Peace”, and also got named as the “2022 Humanitarian Role Model of the Year”. I was also given the traditional title of “Chizitelu (God-Sent) the 1st of Nigeria and Africa”.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased with these honours, recognitions, awards, and accolades, and we remain open to receiving more from reputable organizations.
IN CLOSING, I have to say, “thank you all”, for listening to this speech. Please share it among your friends and associates, and in all your social media networks. We remain grateful to all our partners and associates, both domestic and international. While we are unable to mention specific names today, we hold you all dear in our hearts. No achievement mentioned today, would ever have been possible, without your support and inputs.
God bless you all, as we continue to RISE, BY LIFTING OTHERS. Thank you.