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Kiisi Trust Foundation to inject help into African communities for maximum result

A foundation set along the development vision and dreams of the late playwright and human rights fighter, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his co-martyrs, may have discovered how best to inject help into African communities for maximum result.

The Kiisi Trust Foundation (KTF) which has $5m to support development in Ogoni land in Rivers State (Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme local councils that make up Ogoni) has handed over a solar power system big enough to power the biggest medical institution in the area called Zonal Hospital Bori.

Kiisi officials who had flirted with other methods of injecting funds into Ogoni such as funding some non-governmental organisation (NGOs) to carry out some tasks says it has changed strategy after the discovery.

According to the professor of veterinary medicine, international researcher and former provost of the Polytechnic Bori as well as the former vice-chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Barineme Beke Fakae, Kiisi has found that it is most appropriate to rather investigate and find out institutions that serve a majority of the Ogoni people and solve the key problems hindering proper delivery of solutions to the people.

By so doing, Fakae, who delivered the speech on behalf of the chairman of Kiisi Trust Foundation, Uche Onyeagucha, at the commissioning and presentation ceremony of the solar power project in Bori on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, said the help would go straight to the people through an existing institution that serves as a delivery vehicle.

The professor, who turned around the then ‘dead and buried university’, said issues of overhead cost, administrative and wastes would have been eliminated, leaving the scarce fund to go straight to solving the actual intended problem and get full value for money spent.

According to Buradum Geteh, CEO of Burasolution Energy, the contractor that executed the project, the capacity of the installation is able to carry most equipment in the critical sections of the hospital and keep steady power supply with clean energy all through absence of public power supply.

The expert who admitted that Kiisi model has international best bidding procedures of pre-qualification, verification, full bidding, and engagement, said the project has delivered 30kva power in 66 solar panels of 32.5 kilowatt per hour with 30 batteries of 200wats and 230 volts.

The discovery, according to the board of trustees, includes how to identify the actual problems of the people, how to identify the institutions mandated to carry out duties to the people in that area of life, the reasons why such institutions may be failing, what exactly that particular institution would need to close that gap, and how to ensure that when supplied, the institution would sustain the facility for multiplier impact and for sustainability.

With this, the Kiisi Trust Foundation is expected to touch more lives with little funds where mega organizations may have failed.

Onyeagucha: Health, critical in Ogoni

Why Kiisi chose new strategy: Provision of good health is recognized as inalienable human right which is enshrined in global protocols such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Pursuant to this, governments all over the world, including the Rivers State Government, continue to discharge their responsibilities of health policy formulation and activities. Health facilities manned by the Rivers State government serve the people and they are at the primary and secondary levels.

The Zonal Hospital Bori is the most important secondary healthcare facility in Ogoni land. Power is crucial in healthcare delivery. Public power supply in most middle income countries of the world is still a challenge affecting almost all facets of life and service provision, and Nigeria is not an exemption. With public power provision at best epileptic, and worse in rural areas, the Zonal Hospital Bori, which is in rural Ogoni land, is not spared from the effect of the relative absence of steady public power.

The Kiisi Trust Foundation is an organisation which has as its stated mandate the mission to aid the development of Ogoni. One mechanism by which KTF seeks to achieve this is through the empowerment of Ogoni people in many thematic areas. The decision of KTF to support programmes for public institutions with the capacity to serve majority of the Ogoni population is a key strategic approach.

The demands and needs of the Ogoni are great, hence, the prioritization of support for public institutions provides a key vehicle for the empowerment of the Ogoni people. These institutions include health and educational facilities in Ogoni land. They are statutorily obligated to render services to the people. These are manned by qualified personnel resources and they are spread all over Ogoni land. Thus, they provide a one-stop-shop to reach most Ogoni people in their areas of most need.

The solar power project being commissioned and presented on the occasion is a fulfillment of a key goal of the Kiisi Trust Foundation. It is a journey that started with the identification of the Zonal Hospital Bori as a health facility in Ogoni that serves majority of those that Ken Saro Wiwa and his co-martyrs lived and died for.

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Instead of sitting back to murmur and complain, the KTF decided to act. Following this were advocacy and project priority setting visits to the facility which identified the absence of steady power supply to the hospital as a challenge. Even more challenging is the epileptic and almost non-existent public power supply to the critical sections of the hospital which are key to emergency and after-hour care.

The sections of the hospital covered by this project include: Maternity ward, Casualty (A&E), Combined war, operating theatre, walkways between wards, and that from the Doctors quarters at the rear of the facility to the casualty and wards.

In keeping with our ethos of transparency and fairness and our commitment to best corporate practices, the KTF approved to fully support the installation and donation of fully funded solar power project for critical sections of the facility. Following this was the scoping and carrying out of energy needs audit of the chosen sections. This also involves the advertising of the project from service providers with the requisite project expertise; the section of the best bid, and the execution of agreement contract with delivery duration of no more than two months from signing. Relevant authorization for installation was obtained and the project was delivered in late January 2022.

We are grateful to the government of Rivers State through its relevant agencies, particularly the Rivers State Ministry of Health, the state’s Hospitals Management Board, and the management and staff of the Zonal Hospital Bori for the cooperation we have enjoyed. Willingness of many public servants we have encountered helped in a big way. Despite their grueling schedules and workloads, they worked steadily and swiftly with us.

We look forward to this type of attitude and partnership in other coming projects where support would be made to public institutions that serve the people.

The KTF has been carrying out many projects and programmes in Ogoni land. These include the Ogoni Scholarship Scheme (OSS) which has benefitted more than 600 Ogoni undergraduates in Nigeria’s institutions of higher learning. However, the needs of the people are numerous, so the KTF continues to seek donors, collaboration and opportunities that would serve to improve a lot of the Ogoni people now and in the future.

As we present this facility to the government and the hospital management, we urge the beneficiaries to use them with utmost care and in sustainable ways.”

Officials present urged the people and potential donors to feel free to seek more information from the Kiisi website so they can have full evidence to put more trust in the Trust.

BB Fakae: Chairman, Governance/Programme Sub-committee

The BB Fakae was interviewed on the sideline of the commissioning event. His words…

Kiisi Trust Foundation had in mind to solve problems and we made up our mind to light up the hospital. We also want it to run well, not to dump a project and run away. Kiisi signifies quality, and that is the message we want to communicate to Ogoni people so that any person who gets the opportunity to lead a programme or project to develop Ogoni will have some objective in mind; which is to deliver quality with minimum resources.

We did many surveys before deciding on this project. We are now in institutional support because these institutions are regulated and have to account to an authority no matter how long it takes.

KTF is already running a unique scholarship scheme which is helping a lot of persons. Truth is that it is a shame that when we are entrusted with duty, we let it go bad. I was once the given Bori Poly to manage (as Rector) and it became a shining example, same with UST. We need to do our best in whatever we are called upon to manage. Let our performance not make people to only appreciate the ‘good old days’ but to see good new days.

Next frontier: ICT is one of the things we talk about. It helps us to mainstream what we do. I read veterinary medicine, but ICT is what has helped me a lot to deliver value. We have planned for IT and we are looking for partners.

Deezia Hannah Karikpo: Seasoned nursing practitioner, external examiner in nursing, midwifery

I first came to Bori in 1953 and it was a quiet town. Most early facilities worked well and the people of Ogoni saw Bori as the place to find early signs of modern life. Thus, Bori General Hospital (Zonal Hospital Bori) was the only place to see light or to fetch water. Many years later, the hospital deteriorated.

I joined healthcare delivery service in 1973. We cried and cried out over the deterioration of facilities at the Bori Hospital but nobody was ready to listen to us. This hospital has been neglected for years.

The KTF has done well to intervene in an aspect, but challenges are many. We need staff quarters so that medical personnel posted to Bori will not need to be coming from the state capital everyday to resume duty. Often, they get tired upon arrival and this affects their input to serve our people.

This place also needs work equipment. This hospital was the best in Rivers State (then Degema Province). We expect this hospital to one day be a teaching hospital, though politicians have taken our land. God is going to intervene and make Ogoni hospital the best again.

Executive Director: Lebatam Ndegwe: This is a model

Ndegwe, a medical doctor and formerly in charge of the public health sector and toxic exposure as an expert, is now the project director. He talked to BD Sunday on the sidelines…

We try to show the thinking behind the project and the partnerships and interactions before the project delivery. When you want to do something to support a lot of people, you have to do a lot of due diligence. You may have the funds but you must meet the people in that sector and talk with them, find out what they want, their supervisors, etc.

Our objective is to use small money to reach many Ogoni people. That is a model. So, you target institutions that touch the lives of the people. Our aim is to support the institutions in a verifiable way. This has taken two years due to Covid-19.

We did the scoping, got clearances, etc and at last, it took from October 2021 to January 2022. This is one of the many things we are doing to reach Ogoni people. We must not alienate any Ogoni person.

We have realized that IT penetration in Ogoni is low, less than one per cent. An Ogoni child may be intelligent but the way to convey this intelligence is IT, not 2B pencil and paper. This is what is lacking.

We are mapping secondary schools in Ogoni, maybe senior secondary school Form 2 (SS2) students to train in a place for about four days. This is expected to create awareness in Ogoni.

We have a preference for working quietly. We are mindful not to be influenced. We do not want anybody to come with an entitlement mind, but we also have to attract support (funding) from other sources. This would require some form of publicity to show proof. We are in the phase when we can now show the world what we can do.

Medical Director: Dr Pius Ositadinma

Others before came and promised but did not return

The staff and management of the Zonal Hospital Bori are very appreciative of the project. This amounts to lending a hand in service to humanity. Soon, this place will take a new shape due to new building coming up.

KTF has come in to fight for humanity. Prof Fakae was even born here, I gathered. So, it’s a homecoming to some of the dignitaries here.

This facility will be put to full use, you will be happy for it. Some other persons had come to promise help but never came back. This made us skeptical but today, we are very grateful to Kiisi team for coming true.