As part of its Christian Social Responsibilities and also part of activities done to celebrate the 40th year ordination of Pastor E.A. Adeboye as the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church Of God (RCCG), the church through its Christian Social Responsibility arm, His Love Foundation (HLF) yesterday, dedicated a Kidney Dialysis Center at the Pastor Enoch And Folu Adeboye Intensive Care Unit at The Health Centre, RCCG Camp, Mowe, Ogun State.
The Dialysis Center which was built and equipped to bring critical healthcare solution closer to the people for the benefit of humanity in general and the host community in particular is also driven by the mantra of RCCG to touch people’s lives, with emphasis on improving standards of living by providing good education and health through infrastructural development.
The event had in attendance representative of Ogun State Governor, Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr Tayo Lawal; Senior Special Assistant on Health, Dr. Ololade Kehinde; Special Adviser on Media and Public Communication to Ogun State Governor, Pastor Remmy Hassan; Abeokuta North Local Government Chairmanship Aspirant and Media Consultants to HLF, Hon. Lanre Oyegbola Sodipo; The Continental Overseer Africa 1 and National Overseer Nigeria of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Joseph Obayemi; Intercontinental Overseer on Christian Social Responsibility (CSR) Pastor Idowu Iluyomade and other senior pastors in the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Adeboye became the G.O of the RCCG ministry on January 21, 1981, and still holds the position till present. At the dedication of the Kidney Dialysis Centre which is part of the RCCG’s contribution to help ameliorate the challenges the people of the state and the country are facing, Pastor Adeboye who was represented by Pastor Joseph Obayemi, Continental Overseer Africa 1 and National Overseer Nigeria said he has a lot to be grateful for after so many years of leading this ministry.
He stressed the importance of the church’s Christian Social Responsibility arm as being what the lord Jesus Christ demands of the church and that the church will not relent on its efforts to impact lives positively by providing spiritual and physical support to everyone irrespective of where they are from in Nigeria.
He believes that the availability of a Kidney Dialysis centre within the location will prevent unnecessary deaths arising from inadequate medical infrastructure around the area and to the glory of God, many lives will be saved and added to God’s kingdom. He re-emphasised the need for everyone to be closer to their creator as the surest way to live a happy life.
Pastor Adeboye further thanked His Love Foundation team lead by Pastor Idowu Iluyomade, Special Assistant to the G.O on CSR, for making the dream a reality.
Pastor Idowu Iluyomade while responding said ,“The RCCG through its CSR arm has been very concerned about the loss of lives due to inadequate healthcare facilities in the country which makes Nigerians spend over 3billion dollars annually on health-tourism seeking state of the art health facilities in countries like India and the UAE. Its our belief that with the commissioning of this kidney Dialysis Center, which is a sequel to several another donations in the health sector like the donation of the first ICU attached to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Lagos in 2017, followed by the ICU in Jos Specialist Hospital, Plateau in 2018 and the Pastor Enoch and Pastor Folu Adeboye Intensive Care Center in Redeemed Health Center, Mowe, Ogun State, these are in addition to several other projects executed over the years in the areas of education, skills acquisition and feeding of over 60million people for free in the past one year, the church continues to live within its expectation as a church that truly understands its Christian social responsibilities; this he said is a confirmation of the broadness of mind of the General Overseer and the reach of the church”.
His Love Foundation, a charity arm of the Church, has been supporting healthcare delivery in the country from inception through interventions that guarantees quality health care through provisions of diagnostics centres, laboratories, pharmaceuticals, kidney dialysis and ambulance services.
Gideon Olanrewaju: Education Development Practitioner, Social Entrepreneur
Gideon Olanrewaju is an experienced education development practitioner and social entrepreneur with a notable track record of championing impactful educational interventions for children in rural communities. With firm interest in literacy skills development, girls’ education and digital equity, his initiatives have reached over 25,000 beneficiaries. In this interview with MARY NNAH, Olanrewaju who has a degree in International Education and Development and over seven years of transnational experience spanning four countries, shares key insights into his professional work, and his vision to democratise access to digital learning while revolutionising educational content delivery for millions of Nigerian children leveraging low-cost technologies
You studied Biochemistry but you currently work in the education sector in Nigeria. Why is that?
Most people have had the privilege of a great childhood. I, unfortunately, was not one of them. Not only was I born into a middle-class family but I experienced educational inequalities such as lack of access to quality learning experiences. Over the course of the years, as I navigated and surmounted various challenges, I was lucky to be availed the access and opportunity of quality education that millions of children are still missing out on. While I got enrolled to study – and did graduated with a degree in Biochemistry, it was the realisation of privilege that motivated my current life duty; creating quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged children excluded from school to acquire the core knowledge they need to lead productive lives. So, it is my childhood experiences that motivated my current life duty.
I founded Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) and for leveraging this platform; my personal and professional work over the last six years has revolved around driving equitable educational opportunities and sustainable learning outcomes for millions of disadvantaged Nigerian children, leveraging innovation, collaboration and technology. With the support of donors, volunteers and partners, I’ve designed coordinated and scaled series of mass literacy, entrepreneurship development and economic empowerment programs to transform the employability, livelihood and lifelong learning opportunities of over 25,000 beneficiaries in 18 communities across Nigeria.
Like I always maintain, leading educational change is not what I do, it is who I am. Not only have I built resilience in the face of adversity doing my current work, I have also learnt the skills of empathy, patience and compassion which I believe are crucial values to work within the humanitarian space in Nigeria.
Tell us about your experience as one of the delegates to the One Young World Summit in London?
In October 2019, I was selected to attend the One Young World Summit in London, owing largely to the transformative educational change that I champion and inspire through Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) and the International Youth Coalition for Education (IYCE).
Out of about 45,000 applications, I was among 10 outstanding young leaders whose work on improving the education, skills, and access to opportunity for people in their communities, countries, or world at large, was deservingly rewarded with the Deloitte-One Young World Scholarship to attend the summit with all expenses covered.
My experience at the summit was refreshing and energising because being in workshops and seminars and exchanging insights with hundreds of exceptionally talented young people from across the world helped further enhance my clarity of the work needed to be done to make education more accessible for children across Nigeria. I was privileged to also attend some closed doors mentoring sessions from renowned leaders such as Paul Polman (former Head of Unilever), Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group), to mention but a few. The most unforgettable moment of that experience was the invitation to the Windsor Castle as part of a group of 10 young leaders from across the world for a roundtable discussion with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Megan Markle of the British Royal Family.
What are some of the things you did to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 last year?
In 2020 as a response to learning disruption and mass school closures due to COVID-19 pandemic, I led the development of DigiLearns, Nigeria’s first adaptive, zero-tech, and offline learning management solution that allows low-income students access instantly-delivered and contextually-relevant educational content via SMS and USSD on basic feature phones that does not require internet access.
So, by simply dialing a code on a Nokia 3310 phone, students can access the subject lesson notes, review past questions, ask teachers questions, search the internet offline, receive assessment questions – both multiple-choice and open-ended – by text, and get feedback on their responses, whether right or wrong.
With this solution, we were able to directly support over 500 secondary students in selected schools and orphanages within the FCT. An estimated 45,000 beneficiaries also accessed our platform after we shared the solution with rural schools across a number of states in the Northern part of Nigeria. This intervention attracted over financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, One Young World, and the Queens Commonwealth Trust and was recently named one of African Union Top 50 Education Innovations for 2020. Now, we are planning to launch and scale this widely for usage and adoption across rural communities in Nigeria to continue to enable remote learning and distance education for poor students.
What has been the experience working with rural communities?
Working in rural communities across Nigeria has been filed with mixed experiences. On one hand, you are excited about the pockets of promise that your intervention holds for a community, on the other hand, you are sad because the level of extreme poverty the community is experiencing might be a barrier to the success of your project. However, having recognised that poverty is a huge barrier for access to education in such rural communities where we work, we provide economic empowerment opportunities for mothers so they are able to support their children’s education.
There are a number of lessons we’ve picked from these experiences. We have learnt that for seamless and sustainable project implementation, it is crucial that effective stakeholder’s consultation and needs mapping are carried out. This helps to guarantee that interventions are tailored by and for the right beneficiaries, thereby ensuring fit and sustainability. In my experience with these rural communities, I have come to establish that for inclusive sustainable development to be achieved, poverty eradication and holistic human capital development must be prioritised.
You are a 2019 recipient of the United Kingdom Chevening Scholarship and the 2020 Ooni of Ife Royal African Youth Leadership awards amongst others. What do they mean to you?
Winning awards and being recognised are secondary gratification for me, seeing lives of students as well as their schools and communities transformed through the power of education is the utmost and primary source of inspiration. Of course, I hold the with firm belief in the platforms and opportunities and it is those that I have also utilised to scale the impact and amplify the reach of my professional work, whether AREAi or DigiLearns or IYCE. Hence, my drive and ambition continue to present me with opportunities to be a voice of change for children and an emerging authority on educational issues at local or global level.
Tell us about the people you admire in the sector?
Locally, I admire the professionalism of professionals like Dr Modupe Adefoso of TEP Centre; Folawe Omikunle of Teach for Nigeria; Rotimi Olawale of Youth Hub Africa, amidst many others. Internationally, I draw continuous inspiration from former Prime Minister of Britian, Gordon Brown( Dr Sakeena Yacoobi of Afghanistan Institute for Learning; Late Ken Robinson, Head of the World Bank Education Practise and former Minister of Education in Peru, Jamie Saavedra, and a few others.
What would you consider as the turning point in your career?
Winning the Chevening Scholarship to study for a Masters in International Education and Development at the University of Sussex was a major turning point for me. Prior to that moment, I was an emerging changemaker with raw but tangible ideas for revolutionising educational access and delivery for rural schools and marginalised children.
My personal exponential growth since that time has also led to a marked improvement in the design and delivery of programs and projects at AREAi. There is no gainsaying that it was that opportunity that validated my passion for alternative education provision and exposed me to various opportunities that helped me to reposition the programmatic focus areas of AREAi in that direction. In doing so, we have attracted tremendous support to drive our 10 years strategic objective of reaching 1,000,000 children across Nigeria by 2030.
What are you looking forward to in the next few years?
Over the next few years, I am anticipating that AREAi would have ensured access to education for over 500,000 beneficiaries through our projects, and we will have activities ongoing in more than 25 states of the nation.
What advice do you have for young people who want to come into the sector?
Passion is not enough; capacity is the currency for value addition. You need to be intentfully competent to be eternally indispensable and extremely valuable. To contribute significantly to meaningful change in this sector, you must be equipped with a clear sense of direction, clarity of purpose and an intrinsic conviction of moral duty
Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?
My mother, Deaconess Bosede Olanrewaju, is my greatest influence in life; her tenacious determination and selfless dedication to my educational upbringing demonstrates the power of one committed individual in making a difference in the life of one person or in the lives of millions of people.