Abimbola Akosile examines the various gallant strides made by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to bring development to the doorsteps of the average Nigerian citizen
Once upon a time, it was cool to give back to the society in the name of corporate social responsibility. But when this fad gradually faded out in the face of prevailing economic challenges, only few organisations remained behind to sustain the tempo.
It takes great commitment to empower less-privileged citizens. But when this is done on a consistently exemplary basis, then it raises the bar in development funding and makes the provider worthy of emulation.
Standing tall among such committed organisations in Nigeria is the Aliko Dangote Foundation, which is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. It was incorporated in 1994 as Dangote Foundation, with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.
Twenty years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.
The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centred on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.
ADF, according to widespread reports, works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organisations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.
In its biggest collaboration to date, in 2013 Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunisation in Nigeria.
ADF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered to eradicate polio in Nigeria by strengthening primary health care and making provisions for routine immunisation across Northern Nigeria.
The initial project commenced in Kano and Bauchi states. In January 2016, Sokoto, Yobe, Kaduna and Borno States were added to the partnership, in a process which has reportedly gulped over $10 million so far.
To complement governmentâ€™s effort in providing access to quality healthcare services to the grassroots, ADF has spent a total of N127 million in construction of units of Primary health care centres across LGAs in Kano (N72million) and Yobe (N55million) states.
In Kano, the PHCs were built across Fagge, Kano Municipal, Kura, Gwale, Bichi, Dala and Gezawa Local Government Areas while in Yobe the Foundation built the PHCs in Gujba and Gulani Local Government Areas.
THISDAY gathered that the Primary Healthcare Centres have been completed and handed over to the respective states government for utilisation. All the facilities were built in accordance with the Type 2 Model of the newly revised minimum standards for Primary Healthcare Centres in Nigeria as approved by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Abuja.
In line with its efforts of providing potable water supply to rural communities, the Foundation has reportedly constructed more than 220 boreholes in 220 rural communities across Northern Nigeria to complement its polio eradication and other health initiatives.
Also, the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Kano (MMSH) is the largest government-owned hospital in northern Nigeria with over 1.5 million patient visits per annum and growing.
The Foundation is building three new specialist units covering maternity, accident & emergency and surgery & diagnostics, as well as improved water supply, drainage, and electricity systems.
Its intervention also includes the supply and installation of critical equipment, tools, fittings, and consumables for the operations of the new builds, as well as capacity development within the affected departments and units on the use of these elements.
In March 2017, the Foundation handed over the completed renovation works for nine existing maternity wards (complete with mattresses, bedding, furniture, as well as vital medical equipment and aids), a new blood bank and laboratory, 2 new boreholes, and medical supplies as part of a temporary assistance pending the completion of the main works; at a total project cost of N7 billion.
In 2016, ADF launched a community-based nutrition programme in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It used proven interventions linked to behaviour change, fortification of staple foods with essential micronutrients, the community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) as well as local production of nutrition ready to use therapeutic foods (RUTF) and nutrition foods.
In 2017, Dangote announced the new flagship programme for the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the $100 million Aliko Dangote Foundation Integrated Nutrition programme (ADFIN) at the 2017 UN Global Nutrition Summit.
â€œNigeriaâ€™s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival and putting the brakes on economic development,â€ said Managing Director and CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou.
â€œBy investing in nutrition, we aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower our citizens to reach their full potential.â€
â€œThe global malnutrition crisis endangers the physical and mental wellbeing of present and future generationsâ€ said Kofi Annan, speaking at the summit in his capacity as Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. â€œProgress in tackling both under-nutrition and obesity is possible with targeted commitments, like those made here today. We need further urgent investments so that people, communities and nations can reach their full potential.â€
With the $100 million commitment, the Foundation will promote scalable and cost-effective nutrition interventions such as breast feeding, healthy sanitation practices, disease prevention, food fortification and supplementation.
These activities complement other long-term programs on education, empowerment, food security, water, sanitation and health care.
â€œWe recognise nutrition as a cross-cutting issue which affects other critical development goals, that is why nutrition has become our core focus. We want to reach one million malnourished children in Nigeria by 2021 and we know that for every dollar invested in nutrition, the nation as a whole will reap huge economic dividends,â€ said Aliko Dangote.
The Foundation supports a daily feeding of approximately 10,000 people in and around Kano metropolis, at a cost of N1.2 billion per annum.
It also made a contribution of $1 million towards collaboration with AfDB and Big Win Philanthropy on Malnutrition in Africa that will boost economic returns from the AfDBâ€™s $33-billion investment portfolio by reprogramming suitable investments in sectors ranging from agriculture to education, to generate nutritional benefit for children.
End Malaria Council
The End Malaria Council was convened on the sidelines of the 2017 United Nations General Assembly, by nine founding members to which Aliko Dangote is one, as Nigeriaâ€™s global malaria ambassador and Africaâ€™s most successful private sector leader.
Members of the End Malaria Council will work in collaboration with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other key partners to help countries and regions achieve their malaria control and elimination goals.
They are also using their voices and networks to support the work already underway by malaria field workers, scientists and experts by focusing on three areas: building political will, mobilising resources and supporting the development of new tools to find, prevent and treat malaria. Around $100,000 has been spent on this.
In September 2017, Aliko Dangote Foundation partnered the Global Business Coalition for Health (GBCHealth) to build African Business Coalition on Health. Building on the reputation and convening power of the ADF and the experience, reputation and global reach of GBCHealth.
The African-led coalition of companies and philanthropists will seek to improve the health and wellbeing of Africans, both within the workplace and within the broader communities.
The partnership will develop and scale impactful health programmes across Africa, deepening knowledge, building evidence for future investment and strengthening coordination among African philanthropists, business leaders, companies and local business networks.
The programme is expected to kick off in Nigeria and roll out through business regions in Africa and beyond over the next three years, and a sum of $1,500,000 has been spent on this.
ADF equally funded the pilot test of the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention, SMC, undertaken by Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), in select Local Government Areas in Northern Nigeria, with $500,000 reportedly spent.
Dangote Foundation has provided infrastructural improvement to a number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
These, according to reports, include construction of a N1.2 billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, Kano state; construction of male and female Dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state at the cost N880 million; and construction of Dormitories and provision of power supply to Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State at the cost of N500 million.
There was also construction of dormitories in Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State; construction of Aliko Dangote Complex within the premises of University of Ibadan Business School, Ibadan, Oyo state; and construction of school blocks at Nawair-ud-deen Comprehensive College, Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos at the cost of N120 million.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme is a N10 billion programme designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria.
According to reports, N3.345 billion has been disbursed so far across Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Lagos, Niger and Nasarawa States.
The disbursement is as follows: in Kano, 88,000 women benefitted from the sum of N880 million; 27,000 women benefitted from the sum of N270 million in Jigawa; 22,000 women benefitted from the sum of N220 million in Kogi; while in Adamawa, 31,500 women and youth benefitted from the sum of N315 million.
In Borno, 54,000 women and youth benefitted from the sum of N540 million; 34,000 women and youth benefitted from the sum of N340 million in Yobe; 40,000 women benefitted from the sum of N400 million in Lagos; 25,000 women benefitted from the sum of N250 million in Nigeria; while in Nasarawa, 13,000 women benefitted from the sum of N130 million
A mobile phone/bank cards to start up or improve their income generating activities were distributed in some of the states as a delivery mechanism for the funds in partnership with the respective State and Local Governments and mobile money/bank operators.
Dangote Foundation and the Bank of Industry (BoI) set up a N10 billion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) fund, with a N5 billion initial provision to create one million direct jobs.
The Dangote Foundation committed N2.5 billion to the Fund, while BoI also contributed a matching fund of N2.5 billion to launch the Fund, which is used for lending to identified groups/business owners in the informal sector of the economy in the six geo-political zones in the country.
The money will be used as takeoff investment and working capital to support their businesses. The first phase of the project is expected to impact directly on up to 13,000 registered business groups in the entire country.
Each group will have an average of 20 entrepreneurs, thus impacting the lives of up to 250,000 micro-entrepreneurs, through job creation, spread across all six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
In continuation of its efforts to rehabilitate and resettle the Internally Displaced People in the Northeast, the Aliko Dangote Foundation recently unveiled 200 Housing Units of the Dangote Village Housing Estate for the Internally Displaced Persons in Maiduguri, Borno State, with award letters issued to the chosen beneficiaries- mostly widows with dependents.
In support of this action by the Foundation, the State Government made provision for each family to be given economic empowerment tools to sustain their livelihood adding a fully functional school and a clinic to cater for residents of the estate.
In addition to the 200 housing units, the building materials donated by the Foundation were also used in reconstructing other infrastructures in Bama, Gwoza and Konduga LGAs across the state.
For the past seven years, the Foundation has spent over N7 billion in feeding, clothing and the general welfare if the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation has set the trend in providing welfare for the average and less-privileged citizens. If other foundations and organisations are able to emulate these development interventions, then Nigeria may well realise some of the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals before the deadline year.
In terms of widespread development at the grassroots, this can only bode well for the teeming millions of hungry, homeless and jobless citizens scattered across the country. That, in a nutshell, is a worthwhile goal.