By Laja Thomas
THE Nigeria Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, NANGO, has awarded the United States- based anti-poverty organisa-tion, Empowerment Plus, EP, Rural Empowerment Award for fighting poverty and diseases in rural Nigeria.
In the just concluded annual convention of NANGO at Durba Hotels, Kaduna, the President, Alhaji Usman Nyako praised the effort of EP in the fight against Mother-to-Child Transmission, MTCT, of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria and workforce development in the rural Nigeria.
According to Nyako, â€œthrough partnership with EP, NANGO has reduced the high rate of MTCT, educated women about HIV/AIDS transmission and provided supplementary services in the rural areas.
â€œToday, local prostitutes are being rehabilitated with marketable skills.â€
NANGO noted that 99% of local and foreign organisations in Nigeria are centred and carries out their activities in the townships and urban areas.
â€œThis is the first rural-focused organisation in our country and we owe a debt of gratitude to American people,â€ he added.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Executive Director of Empowerment Plus, Mr. Nelson Ilodigwe, the Country Coordinator of EP, Mr. Herbert Okoye, thanked the association for partnering with EP to make a difference in the life of at-risk children and families.
He told the 37 organisations that make up NANGO that â€œEPâ€™s mission is to empower most at-risk families to break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient and contributing members of their communities, as you have witnessed while working with us that we pay attention to the outcome (impact) of every project with sustainable and replicable mindset.â€
He promised that EP will continue to partner with NANGO and other like minded organizations through out Africa to alleviate poverty and diseases.
Explaining the philosophy and vision of Empowerment Plus, Mr. Okoye stated that: at the very heart of Empowerment Plus, youâ€™ll discover four Core Values-Respect, Responsibility, Independence and Integrity-universal principles that help families grow to become responsible citizens, caring parents and productive members of community.
Our vision, acording to him,Â is to transform lives in the families and communities. EPâ€™s goal is to create long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of poverty
Providing basic needs are fundamental components of poverty relief. The holistic and transformational approach of Empowerment Plus expands beyond basic survival needs and addresses the problem through long-term, systemic interventions and human transformation.
The cycle of poverty is vicious and repetitive. Transforming a life destined to poverty into a life of self-sufficiency can only be achieved by combating the causes of poverty: lack of education, lack of opportunity, lack of dignity, lack of good health and lack of positive role models. Our work is longitudinal.
It requires tremendous commitment, long-term involvement and dedicated professionals. And it happens one family at a time.
The future is bright for families who are at Empowerment Plus today, but it is the exponential effect of our work that will ultimately yield the greatest impact.Â Future generations, free from the crushing burden of poverty and diseases, will have the opportunity to live productive lives.