AWACIO is dedicated to enhancing the total well being of women, adolescents, and children. AWACIO engages in projects and programs related to these persons to help advance their dreams. AWACIO is interested in confidence building ventures for women, adolescents and children. AWACIO develops training and educational events, and building partnerships with other foundations in pertinent and related research studies.
EPORT ON THE TWO DAY SEMINAR/WORKSHOP ON HIV/AIDS, PROSTRATE CANCER, CERVICAL CANCER, AND HIV/AIDS VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING EXPERIENCE HELD AT THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, BUKAR DIPCHARIMA HOUSE, ABUJA, ON AUGUST 21ST-22ND, 2013.
AWACIO in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Transport (FMT) held a two-day seminar/workshop on HIV/AIDS, Prostrate and Cervical Cancer which included Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) of staff of the Ministry on HIV/AIDS on the 21st and 22nd of August, 2013.
The event was declared open by the Permanent Secretary of FMT represented by Mrs. F. N Egbuniwe, the Director of Human Resources. She used the opportunity to inform the general public that the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Nebolisa Emodi, held the welfare of the staff in high esteem and thus created this need for the HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing and the cancer seminars. She also encouraged the staff to perform the necessary HIV testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.
The event started with Registration prior to the welcoming remark and opening prayer. Following the opening prayer, Registration continued. Memo pads and biros where given to staff at registration to enable them to write something during the seminar. The MC continued the program by formally introducing VIP guests.
The Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Dr. Omolade Oladejo, spoke on Cervical Cancer “A neglected human tragedy in developing nations”. She used the medium to avail the FMT staff on the danger of having multiple partners and not taking care of their health. She said the general saying “It’s not my portion” “God forbid” “I reject it in Jesus Name” was also making it impossible for people to take care of their health. She said that Cervical Cancer can be treated once it was identified in early stage. She advised that “we should act now – it’s urgent! So many staff become suddenly ill and drop off dead without realizing they are carrying the late stage action of Cervical Cancer.”
Another Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Dr. Philip M. Lenka followed immediately to speak on Prostrate Cancer “The silent killer”. For him, Prostrate Cancer is not a sickness for the young and that it could easily be identified. According to him, the symptoms usually showed up from 40 years and above. He said that unlike other cancers, Prostrate cancer could be totally treated but only if it was identified on time. However, healthy diet is advised! Detection of Prostate Cancer at a late stage is terminal.
There was a 5 minutes break in order to give the audience room for questions. The following were some of the questions asked by the audience:
The Third Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Mr. Solomon Akuboh spoke on the Healthy living “Diet for Prostate Cancer”. He enlightened the staff on the need to live a healthy life. He said that G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds) have powerful anti-cancer diets. He also advised on the need for people to reduce consumption of animal protein, engage in regular exercise and enough water intake. According to him, cancer would not be a story if healthy diet is maintained.
Finally, Dr. Ada of Gede Foundation, an AWACIO affiliate, talked on HIV/AIDS and the benefit of knowing your status. He further encouraged everybody to endeavor to do the test for HIV/AIDS after the seminar.
The VCT commenced immediately after the seminar within the FMT environment. From the funding to do the seminar and workshop, the Ministry received the funds for providing the meals and T-shirts to participants while AWACIO was responsible for the caps, memo pads and biros used during the workshop. The management of AWACIO made provision of caps to staff that tested as a form of motivation to do the test while the Ministry provided and distributed meals to staff, and T-shirts for those that were tested.
A total of 79 employees were in attendance for the seminar while over 200 FMT employees came out for HIV test. The poor “turn-out” for the seminar by the staff of FMT was as a result of sudden change of venue and very poor advertisement of the workshop by the Ministry. The staff complained that they were not adequately informed about the program and then the sudden change of venue on the day of event by the Ministry.
Three television stations (NTA 5, NTA network news & NTA 24) were present at the event and they televised this seminar in their station for three (3) days.
Vendors on Prostrate and Cervical Cancer and other health issues were available on site to provide very good information on these types of cancers.
The counseling and testing team served a total of 226 clients/staffs of the Ministry of Transportation, males and females. Amongst the 226 clients tested, both married and unmarried only 5 (1.2%) tested positive while the remaining 221 clients tested negative. The program ended on 22nd August, 2013 at about 3 pm.
AWACIO would like to initiate a follow-up procedure to support these staff that tested positive. However, we wait to be directed by the Ministry.
SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM COUNSELING
Recommendations and Action Points
There were four visits in the month of February by AWACIO:
Visit to two orphanages, one in Durumi and one in Kuje
Visit to African International College to support their charity drive
Visit to the Prison in Kuje
On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012, AWACIO paid visits to four places. The first visit was to the City of Refuge Orphanage in Durumi. When we got there, we spoke and played with the children, hugged them, and presented our provisions and food items.
We left there to visit the African International College (AIC) in Games village, to deliver our provision contributions to their orphanage visit.
We left the school to visit the Kuje prison; we met road blocks at the prison gate as security was tight.We went there with food provisions and the Voice Magazines to give to inmates. We were thoroughly searched. At the prison, we met with the Prison Supretendant (NPS), President of inmates, President of Christian inmates, President of Muslim inmates, and the Prison Chaplain. AWACIO CEO,
Dr. Claudia Okeke made a brief presentation about AWACIO, shared our vision and goal, and a desire to partner with them on areas of interest to AWACIO. Our goodwill gesture was well received and acknowledged. The NPS, Mr. Paul Njoku, shared the prison challenges with AWACIO and emphasized that LOGISTICS was one of major concerns they had. AWACIO made a cash donation to their request for money to fuel their vehicles and repair them for transporting inmates to the court hearing scheduled the next day. Mr. Njoku reiterated the need for us to apply for partnership which we concurred. Our discussion ended with a short prayer by Pastor Solomon Akuboh. We left feeling humbled and touched by the visit.
We left the prison to visit another orphanage, Christ Foundation Orphanage in Kuje. The owner Mrs. Patricia Oye Kuta disclosed that the orphanage started in the early 90’s, but was officially registered in 2004. The orphanage has 41 orphans with children between the ages of 4 and 20 years. When asked about her major challenges in running the orphanage, she stated that it was the paying of school fees for the children. About twelve (12) of the children attended private schools while the others attended public schools. The proprietress failed to maintain a clean and hygienic environment even after being notified by several visitors of their visits. We were not encouraged to donate cash to the orphanage because of the sight of the facility. We felt that the proprietress has not taken her time to maintain a healthy environment for the orphans. We were highly discouraged by the sight of the environment. We would need a second visit to the place particularly after they have moved to their new site. We presented our provisions and food items to them followed by a short prayer by Pastor Solomon Akuboh.
On the 24th and 25th of October, 2011, Federal Ministry of Power, HIV Unit organized a Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for the staff of the Federal Ministry of Power in collaboration with AWACIO at the SGF conference hall of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja. This exercise was to enable the ministry have data base of their staff on HIV status. Due to the magnitude of the event; we involved Gede Foundation and NACA as collaborating partner. Their role is to take charge of the testing and counseling, and National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) to give speech on HIV/AIDS.
However, it has been observed that very few people would willingly submit themselves to HIV/AIDS tests for various reasons ranging from stigmatization, fear of testing positive, and lack of knowledge on the management of the infection if tested positive, therefore, AWACIO made provision for gift items to every staff that will take the test as a means of motivation.
The program started at about 9.30am with every development partners dully represented. Welcome address was presented by the Director, Human Resources Management, Federal Ministry of Power, Mohammed Abbas. She used the opportunity to emphasis on the purpose, the programme tends to achieve such as giving every staff the opportunity to know his/her HIV/AIDS status; and to counsel participants on proper management of their status (whether positive or negative).
Opening remark was given by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Power, She stated that several campaigns and awareness have been carried out including care, support and assistance which have been given to People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWA). The Ministry has been assisting staff living with the virus with grants to carryout tests and to balance their diet without any form of stigmatization.
Overview of the HIV/AIDS in Ministry of Power was done by the Deputy Director, Mrs. Oni, of Federal Ministry of Power HIV/AIDS Unit. She also used the opportunity to highlight the history of the F.M.P HIV Unit. The unit started in 2004 with the help of NACA. The F.M.P HIV Unit hopes to advance to the next level with collaborators like AWACIO.
Furthermore, the Chief Executive Officer of AWACIO during her slide presentation explained the organization’s mission and vision. She also used the medium to emphasis on the need for the screening on HIV/AIDS.
The screening exercise commenced immediately after speeches were given by the other collaborating partners present. Staff came out in large numbers during the screening exercise to know their status due to the free items that AWACIO was distributing out to those who did the screening
AWACIO is a non-profit organization with vested interest in improving the living condition and welfare of people as well as empowering them with the skills needed to improve their lifestyles. Recently, we began conducting a survey of Abuja and its environments and some of our findings have been displayed on our website.
One of the areas we visited is MPAPE and our disheartening findings include absence of drinking water, electricity, and public toilets. The living condition in this area is devastating, yet this is a community situated next to the nation's capital territory, Abuja. Overpopulation is a major problem in Mpape resulting in congestion to the extent that there may be more than 10 persons per a small room of cubic size 10 ft by 10 ft. There is no over emphasizing the health hazards that this can result in. The photos speak for themselves.
Without any doubt, the people mostly affected are women and children and these deplorable conditions have resulted in very high death tolls which sadly are undocumented for obvious reasons. People are dying of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria on a daily basis. You can imagine the plight of the children in this area. You can imagine the state of the schools for these children.
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There are no good roads so transportation into the area is by over packed public transports. Most private vehicles cannot handle the bad roads so they avoid driving into the community. People park and walk or resort to public means of transport.
The poor socioeconomic status of the majority in the community results in the inability to address the lack of adequate power supply using available means such as generators and so on. Thus they cannot own refrigerators so most foods are cooked and stored by natural means increasing the tendency for contractible diseases.
Life in Mpape with lack of basic living amenities such as WATER, FOOD, and LIGHT; basic sanitation requirements such TOILETS, Decent ACCOMODATIONS, and conducive livable ENVIRONMENTS, is unimaginable in this era of high level advancement in science and technology and AWACIO has a strong desire to bring a change into this helpless community.
AWACIO believes that lives can be transformed and the dignity of the men, women, and children living in this area, improved substantially, but we cannot do this alone. As we champion this course, we need your support and contributions in any measure and we hope that your love for humanity will be aroused to help in any way possible.
As we target to eliminate this lack in Mpape we believe that there is a great opportunity to change lives and build a stronger foundation for tomorrow's leadership by making MPAPE a better living community.
On the 4th of July, 2011, Engr. Emeka Okeke; the chairman of AWACIO, was accompanied by AWACIO staff and some of the Renacs Engineering staff to visit Bema Homes and School for the Less Privileged for his 50th birthday celebration.
AWACIO had previously visited the homes on 15th of April this year. We observed some changes in the environment and the children. The little children were now much bigger and smarter. A little girl named Dorcas recited the states and capitals in Nigeria to us. She was very impressive. Our last visit was on a holiday, and most of the kids were dressed in their usual clothes. On this occasion, we met them in their classrooms, and they were in uniforms. It was a lovely sight. We observed the Fish aquarium was now operational, and filled with small catfish. When we visited last, the fish aquarium was under construction.
Engr. Emeka Okeke used the opportunity to discuss with the owners of Bema Home and School for the Less Privileged on the challenges the Home and School are facing. After listening to their challenges, Engr. Emeka Okeke assured the management that AWACIO will assist in the monthly payment of their staff salary and in building a block of 2 classrooms along with some toilets.
The management, staff, students and children of the Home and School were overwhelmed with the visit. A vote of thanks was given by the co-owner of Bema Home, and a special number was sang by the students. In addition to the provision items, the chairman of AWACIO presented Mr. and Mrs. Benedict Ojereke, the Owners, a cash donation. The visit was a memorable one because there was a connection between the joy and happiness on the faces of the children and the reason for the visit to the Home. The children prayed for him, and joined him in cutting birthday cake, after which everyone danced with the children.
Finally, Engr. Emeka Okeke congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Benedict Ojereke on the work they are doing to raise future leaders, according to the chairman “there is no way governor(s) will not come out of these group”, “and there is no amount of gift he will give to them to compare to the work they are doing”. He encouraged and assured the management that God will be with them and meet them at the point of their needs.
On the 15th of April, 2011, AWACIO went to Bema Homes at Sauka District in Abuja with Mrs. Adelakun (Principal of African International College) and Mrs. Joy (the Head Mistress of African Community School).
Bema Homes and school for the less privileged are owned by Mr. and Mrs. Benedict Gerik. The home was opened in September, 2001 at Idu Industrial layout but due to demolition the home was moved to Lugbe (airport road) alongside the school, but in 2007 the management decided to move the homes to Sauka.
The school for the less privileged is the only school in Sauka District; which has about 9 villages within the district. The school is managed by the owners and is free of charge; this encourages parents to enroll their wards to be educated them. The school for the less privileged has classes to primary 4, after which the best students are transferred to the school in Piwoyi (Airport road) to finish the remaining classes. They have 125 students presently, the school is still in session so as to meet up with the requirements of Primary Education Board.
AWACIO gave them food stuff and a cheque, as part of the organizations support to the homes and the school of the less privileged. Furthermore, the Homes has 11 orphans presently of which the oldest amongst them is a crippled young girl (15yrs) by name Patricia and a deaf and dumb boy, while the youngest is a girl (1yr) by name Peace. Mr. Benedict empowers the children through skill acquisition by inviting a specialist that teaches the children how to make beads, sewing, baking, and others.
Mr. and Mrs. Benedict Gerik expressed their heartfelt gratitude over AWACIO visit and also encourage us to visit them some other time. However, they explained to us the challenges they are having such as the orphanage up-keep, difficulties in financial aspect of running the school, transportation to mention the few.
Finally, CEO of AWACIO Dr. (Mrs.) Okeke Claudia congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Benedict Gerik on the work they are doing to raise future leaders, that God will be with them and meet them at the point of their needs.
On the 11th of March, 2011, AWACIO Organization visited FACADO. Fatherless / Motherless Children Aid Organization (FACADO) are an orphanage home situated in New Karu, Nassarawa State. FACADO was initiated in 1994 by late Pastor Ben-Israel Anih and Ngozi Anih but is now sustained and coordinated by Ngozi Anih after the demise of
The visit was heartfelt and touching because when we got there, we found out that FACADO has about 31 children (of various age bracket) of which the oldest amongst them is 19 years old (boy). There was also a widow with her child who was employed there. We also found out that 31 of them are all in school and being taken care of by the orphanage.
However, AWACIO visited FACADO with some food items, and donated a cheque with words of encouragement to the children and the management of FACADO. They appreciated the visit and a vote of thanks was given to us by Ngozi Anih. They also discussed with the management of AWACIO about the challenges they are having and the case of a girl that was impregnated and sacked by her boss, which AWACIO offered to assist by contacting the right body in solving the girl’s problem.
On the 8th of March 2011, AWACIO organization was able to partake on the International Women’s’ Day in Nigeria by been able to assist two women in need. Their names are Mrs Beatrice F. Shomorin and Becky Asunda.
Mrs Beatrice F. Shomorin is a widow from Family Worship Centre. She needed assistance to be able to buy two rooms apartment. The rented house of which they are living presently will soon expire and the price for the rent renewal is almost equivalent to the amount she needed to pay for the apartment. So when the issue was brought to AWACIO, we decided to assist her by giving her the money.
Secondly, we assisted one Ms Becky Asunda, who happened to be a single woman. AWACIO has decided to encourage Ms Becky Asunda by assisting her to start her business.
This financial empowerment is intended to enable her advance her dream and establish herself.
The Women of Excellence Convention took place on March 3-6, 2011. The convention had one day of exhibition which took place on Saturday, the 6th of March 2011 at the Family Worship Centre Royal Academy building in Wuye, Abuja. The exhibition started in the morning and closed in the evening. AWACIO was one of the organizations that Registered for the exhibition. The aim was for us to be able to create awareness for AWACIO and try to raise funds for our less privileged widows, adolescents and children by selling some of our products.
We had a variety of products that were displayed on our stand, such as, fancy bags, bangles, different varieties of designers perfume, eye lashes, throw pillows, fragrant candles (different types), pillows, and children kits and so on.
The exhibition was also a better ground for people to know AWACIO; we were able interact with people, let them know who we are, what we do, and why we need their support, and share our fliers.
Although fund generation was poor due to lack of publicity of the exhibition show at the convention, people were able to ask about AWACIO. Most of them even promised to contact us while others declared their interest to become involved in the activities of the organization.
The most positive aspect of the convention in relation to AWACIO is the visibility and awareness created from AWACIO’s participation at the convention. We plan to follow up on some of the contacts and advance our mission.
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