• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Patience Umo Eno and the ‘Golden Initiative For All’

Patience Umo Eno and the ‘Golden Initiative For All’

The celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion’ has highlighted once more the urgent need to “fight the good fight” for a better society anchored on supporting and encouraging women’s achievements.

One of the remarkable achievements that has been recorded in the area of humanitarian service is the recent launch of the project, Golden Initiative For All (GIFA), by Patience Umo Eno, an ordained Pastor and wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno.

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Explaining the essence of the project, the First Lady said: “GIFA has the mission to deploy multi-pronged empowerment and support schemes geared towards enhancing the well being of families and the vulnerable while its vision is to a society with happy, healthy, educated, successful and sustainable families devoid of vulnerabilities.”

While recognising the critical role that families play in the development of societies, the programme is set to address the specific needs of all members of the family in various thematic areas, including maternal and child healthcare, enhancing literacy and learning and improving environmental health.

You have been true to your name, you have been an incredible wife and mother and I am sure all of us and our children are really proud of you.”

Other thematic areas include women empowerment, fight against diseases, care for the elderly, care for persons living with disabilities and gender-based violence prevention and response. Specifically, under maternal and child healthcare, she plans to improve the quality of maternal and child healthcare services by implementing essential care packages for mothers and children, enhancing access to maternal healthcare services and sustaining care for low-income mothers and their families.

Accordingly, GIFA has adopted many strategies to achieve the goal of an improved maternal and child healthcare which will be done by PatCare which seeks to “cushion the burden on low-income families who are raising multiple babies, providing PatCare kits and services. To this end, many mothers with multiple births in have been assisted financially in the state.”

Her commitment to engage in various aspects of humanitarian services underscores her passion for humanity and genuine love for the less-privileged as clearly depicted in the various projects. Similarly, under the plans to promote literacy and learning, GIFA, which is her brainchild, will ensure the development of educational capacity of marginalised groups as well as develop applied skills among pupils and students. This has been done through the provision of higher learning scholarships to the deserving poor while educational materials are being supplied to public schools.

As someone who is passionate about women and their wellbeing, women empowerment occupies an important position under GIFA as it focuses on improving women entrepreneurs’ access to finance, promotes menstrual hygiene, improves access to safe and affordable sanitary materials in rural communities as well as the reintegration of widows through reorientation, rehabilitation and empowerment to promote their stability and dignity.

Not leaving out good health, as it is often said that health is wealth, the wife of the Akwa Ibom State governor, has incorporated health programmes into her project which include the fight against diseases, fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, focusing on awareness, prevention and treatment as well as subsidising healthcare services for high risk population in addition to mobile clinics and regular vaccination programmes to underserved communities.

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There is also the important aspect of environmental health which includes the promotion of safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices, with the aim of “improving access to clean and safe water supply in the rural communities and the school WASH programme as well as promote its practices and prevent the spread of disease.

What is quite significant is that the GIFA project is comprehensive in that it covers both the young, the old and the elderly with the Arise Initiative for the Elderly and the Wheels of Hope for the Elderly which all seek to promote access to healthcare for the elderly people and to “scale up the renewed hope initiative elderly support scheme to reach more beneficiaries with free healthcare services, medical advice, physical and mental health exercises and social connection activities.’’

In this era of gender sensitivity, equality and mainstreaming, the issue of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response occupies an important position under GIFA as it has a well articulated programme to “prevent and respond to the high prevalence of GBV, by ensuring easy access to resources for GBV response services, to boost institutional capacity for GBV response and to scale up public sensitisation and awareness campaigns against GBV.”

The GBV fund which is a collaborative initiative with practitioners and partners to boost GBV response services and the GBV awareness initiative aimed at increasing GBV awareness and advocacy campaigns are all strategic moves by GIFA to be a holistic scheme for GBV prevention and response.

“GIFA, which is her brainchild, will ensure the development of educational capacity of marginalised groups as well as develop applied skills among pupils and students.”

Specifically, the GIFA programme has come in handy to complement the state government’s Agriculture, Rural Development, Infrastructure Security and Education (ARISE) agenda, which is the economic roadmap of the present administration initiated by Governor Umo Eno as drivers of economic prosperity.

In her address to mark this year’s IWD celebration, the Akwa Ibom First Lady pledged her commitment to the holistic economic empowerment of the state’s women through GIFA as she called on all to “accelerate progress by breaking down barriers, create environments of value and respect, challenge barbaric stereotypes and build a more inclusive, equitable future where every woman’s voice is heard and respected.’’

It is interesting to note that the GIFA programme is all-embracing, from periodic poverty intervention schemes, to the widows’ programme and gender inclusive financing and Eka Iberedem hub which seeks to facilitate strategic market linkages and provides access to the marketplace to lift women from informal to formal markets, it has provided a platform for economic empowerment and wealth creation in society.

For being compassionate and dedicated to improving the lives and livelihood of the people, Governor Umo Eno poured encomiums on her and thrown his weight behind her wholeheartedly, saying he is incredibly proud of her achievements.

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“Your drive to make a difference shines through in every aspect of GIFA and I am confident that this programme will leave a lasting impact on countless lives.

“You have been true to your name, you have been an incredible wife and mother and I am sure all of us and our children are really proud of you.

“On this day that we are launching your project, I can assure you by the love of God that I will walk side by side with you, support you and to whatever I can to ensure that you fulfil this lifelong ambition of touching lives,’’ the governor said.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Patience Umo Eno, the wife of the Akwa Ibom state governor and her GIFA programme will make a profound impact by touching lives in many ways and would leave a lasting legacy in society.