Francis Sardauna chronicles the efforts of a group known as Island Survive Foundation in supporting government’s ongoing war against the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, and alleviating poverty among the less privileged in Katsina State
As government continues to fight the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, along with other issues of profound social, economic and environmental impact of population growth, development and environmental constraints, it is apparent to note that government does not have enough resources to deal with all the problems.
Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been playing supportive roles with the government at all levels in eradicating these impediments. In some cases, they are considered more effective to get attached with the grass root level developmental initiatives.
Island Survive Foundation (ISF), a Katsina State based non-profitable organisation is one of such NGOs. The foundation has been in the forefront, rolling out measures to fight off COVID-19 and other economic challenges bedeviling the country.
The overall goal of the foundation is to alleviate poverty currently confronting the teeming unemployed youths, women and children, especially those in rural communities through sustainable empowerment programmes.
This is aside other pragmatic measures put in place by the organisation to further strengthen the mechanism that will assuage the immediate pressing needs of the vulnerable households— orphans, widows and the less privileged through skill acquisition and trainings.
The organisation also focuses on strengthening the capacity of government functionaries, agencies and institutions, creation of awareness, promotion of education and literacy skills for vulnerable children and adolescents, in-line with the government’s policies and programmes.
The organisation, founded by Dr. Muhammed Bara’u Tanimu, had since its inception in November 2019 swung into action by strategically adopting workable measures in cushioning the hardship facing rural dwellers in Katsina. He is committed to elevating the lives of the less privileged, widows and orphans by putting smiles on their faces.
Dr. Tanimu, who is also an International Peace Ambassador with Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and a member of many international organisations, through his foundation, has distributed foodstuffs to hundreds of vulnerable persons during the last Ramadan in order to ease their sufferings.
Items donated to the beneficiaries at Chechemiya, Filin Polo and other communities within Katsina metropolis included bags of rice, maize, beans and sugar.
The organisation during the ceremonial opening of its zonal office in Funtua Senatorial District also doled out assorted food items ranging from rice, maize, sugar, beans and many sanitizers, masks and cash to different associations in the area.
While distributing the items, Tanimu said the gesture would help solve the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people in the area and complement state and federal government’s efforts in improving the socio-economic and well-being of the citizenry.
He, therefore, called on well-meaning individuals and donor agencies in the country to provide similar assistance to people in their respective communities in order to reduce hardship among rural dwellers and the less privileged.
Interestingly, during the distribution exercise, the beneficiaries were sensitised on how to protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic, such as regular washing of hands, use of alcohol sanitisers and face masks when visiting public places.
No fewer than 5,000 vulnerable people have so far benefitted from such free humanitarian services of the Island Survive Foundation, as its founder vowed that the organisation has come to stay to put smiles on the faces of the downtrodden.
In order to tackle the spate of COVID-19, the organisation has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to various government agencies, NGOs, households and media organisations to tame the spread of the deadly disease in Katsina.
The PPEs, which were donated to the management of Companion FM, Katsina State Television Authority, State Radio and Vision FM, included hand sanitisers, facemask, gloves, antiseptic soap and water containers.
The non-profit organisation had also distributed the same items to the State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Peace Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), among others.
Speaking shortly after the disbursement of the PPE to the benefiting organisations, the President of the foundation said the foundation would continue to adopt a multi-faceted approach to cushion the effect of coronavirus pandemic on persons with special needs. He added that the organisation would focus on the poor and vulnerable, the elderly, refugees, IDPs, persons living with disabilities, among others in its effort of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
According to him, “Given the current global crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must work together and deploy all of our resources in unison to support the state and federal governments’ efforts for maximum impact.
“It is our collective responsibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to save lives and alleviate suffering of people, in line with its mission and mandate.
“This is why we have organised series of enlightenment campaigns to the masses on the dangers and symptoms of COVID-19 and measures to be taken against contracting the deadly virus, through jingles on radio and television.”
He restated that the foundation had prioritised the prevention and community engagement and increased sensitisation to curtail the spread of COVID-19, particularly among rural dwellers and vulnerable households.
The President of the foundation urged residents of the state to continue observing cleanliness, abstaining from social gathering above 20 persons, using nose masks and regular washing of hands with soap, “would help us avoid this deadly disease.”
He, however, expressed displeasure that many people had lost their lives and properties due to incessant attacks by bandits, leaving many women and children exposed to security threats without any means of subsistence.
He maintained that the organisation would soon launch other initiatives to break this vicious circle by directly involving community members affected by the crisis as architects of their own future by engaging them in entrepreneurial activities.
In Funtua senatorial zone alone, the foundation has donated 28 bags (100kg) of rice, maize, millet and bundles of women clothes to Safana Women and Orphanage Society, Danmusa Orphanage Homes, Charity Foundation Dutsin-Ma and Yankin Sema Orphanage Committee.
The revolving strategies of Island Survive Foundation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and in assuaging the sufferings of vulnerable households, if sustained, would drastically reduce poverty among the less privileged in Katsina State.