Established in 2001 by Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs in the name of her beloved husband, High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs, OON, DCF, DSSRS (1930-2018), to honour, celebrate and institutionalize his legendary giving, the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation today shines brightly as an enduring lever of support for thousands of citizens across the Niger Delta region.
Drawing strength from the consummate legacy of High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs’ love and commitment to humanity shone through his charitable and philanthropic acts, which equipped, empowered and enabled people – particularly the most vulnerable and under-served – to live full, purposeful, and dignified lives, the Foundation has consistently blazed its trail through far-flung communities of Nigeria’s Niger Delta providing succour and uplifting lives.
The main thrust of the Foundation’s interventions is defined and delivered through five vital programme areas: Care For Life Programme, Free Medical Mission, Education and Scholarships, Access To Clean Water And Sanitation and Micro-Credit and Entrepreneurship.
From inception the aim of these interventions have been to have an immediate positive impact on the quality of the lives and livelihoods of those in absolute need, which underscores the Foundation’s mission of implementing sustainable interventions that enhance the quality of life for under-served persons.
CARE FOR LIFE
More than 9 million Nigerians are aged 60 and above and, according to the global age index, this number will be over 20 million by 2030. Yet there are presently only a handful of institutions including the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation focused on caring for the elderly in Nigeria.
Care for Life, popularly called, Care for the Elderly Programme, was the Foundation’s first programme and it remains its flagship initiative. It identifies and caters to the indigent, sick and neglected senior citizens across Rivers State. So far the Foundation has taken up the complete care of 500 elderly citizens under the Care For Life programme. It takes care of their health, economic and social wellbeing by providing comprehensive healthcare; caregivers to look after them, monthly food supplies, and monthly cash allowances for the rest of their lives.
The Foundation also provides the elderly in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State with two nutritious meals every weekday, along with healthcare, and organizes social events such as their anniversary celebrations, annual New Year and Valentine’s Day Parties for them at a modern purpose-built recreational center at Biokpo, Abonnema. A second facility has been completed at Abua and awaits commissioning.
FREE MEDICAL MISSION
Through 32 Free Medical Missions, the Foundation has taken comprehensive high-quality health services, including surgeries, to the doorstep of 129,010 men, women and children in rural and semi-urban Niger Delta communities in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers State. Raising the quality of health and health awareness amongst the Niger Delta populace is an integral part of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation’s programming, which accentuates Goal #3 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The inmates of the Port Harcourt and Degema Prisons have also benefitted from the Foundation’s Free Medical Missions.
Given that the state of healthcare delivery across Nigeria is of serious concern with decrepit facilities and grossly inadequate personnel and consumables particularly in peri-urban and rural communities across the Niger Delta, many households are unable to access quality and timely healthcare or even afford the high cost of pocket expenses in both the public and private healthcare systems. These, result in many sick persons delaying treatment until they can afford to have it or worse, not seeking any at all. One of the unfortunate outcomes of this poor state of affairs in Nigeria’s healthcare system is reflected in the heavy burden of unmet medical needs on families and communities across the country.
It is this gap that the Free Medical Mission strives to fill with the focus being on the most under-served and vulnerable persons. During the five-day medical missions, medical and non-medical volunteers provide the following services:
1. Out-Patient consultations
2. Counselling /Health education
3. Paediatric care
4. Dental care
6. Eye evaluation and treatment
7. On-site laboratory
8. Sonogram scanning
9. Dispensing Eyeglasses
10. Surgical procedures
13. Excision of lipoma
14. Cataract extraction
ACCESS TO POTABLE WATER AND SANITATION
More than 10,000 households in 32 communities in Rivers State have gained access to potable water through the Access To Potable Water and Sanitation programme of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation. In addition, the Foundation has constructed two blocks of toilets and potable water for the Port Harcourt Prisons, which houses about 4,000 inmates. It also constructed two septic tanks at Degema Prison, which houses about 250 prison inmates. The Foundation retains the services of 86 youths to keep Abonnema Community clean through daily sweeping and cleaning of streets. 36 other youths also ensure the Abonnema cemetery is kept clean and beautified with flowers and plants. This work is in line with SDG #6, which aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
The Access to Potable Water and Sanitation Programme is to ensure that more rural communities have access to clean, safe and quality drinking water. This is a strategy to combat related diseases such as cholera, dysentery, intestinal and other water borne diseases. The programme targets communities that lack ready access to safe drinking water by providing them water treatment packages and bore holes.
EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIPS
1,143 students have been reached through the Education and Scholarships Programme of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation. The programme helps to broaden access to and promote achievement in education especially for students who would otherwise have been shutout due to financial constraints. The Foundation awards scholarships to students from primary to university levels. It also provides standard conducive learning environments in urban and rural areas by building and equipping schools. Through this programme the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation is also contributing to the attainment of SDG, #4, which seeks to, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation has built and equipped science laboratories at Abonnema Girls’ Secondary School, Nyemoni Grammar School and Comprehensive Secondary School, Abonnema as well as a model nursery and primary school furnished with modern facilities including a computer laboratory for the St. Augustine’s Nursery & Primary School, Abonnema.
In 2017, the Foundation commissioned a fully equipped Information Technology centre for learning where tutors could prepare rural youth to compete better with their urban counterparts in gaining access to tertiary education. National and international examinations including WAEC, NECO, and JAMB are covered through this intervention. So far, 226 youth have benefitted from the programme, which also had their examination fees covered. An impressive 70% success ratio at the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 examination is the legacy of the intervention.
MICRO-CREDIT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
More than 1,000 women and youth have benefitted from the Micro-credit and Entrepreneurship programme of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation. The programme is aligned to SDG #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth which seeks to, “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”
The Micro-credit and Entrepreneurship Programme of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation promotes business development and job creation by providing women and youth in rural areas with start-up and working capital to set up new micro, small and medium size businesses or grow existing ones. Training on how to establish, manage and grow such businesses is also provided as an integral part of the programme.
Interest-free revolving loans are extended to cooperatives and organized groups. Hundreds of Youth have been provided skills that improve their employability, while micro and small business owners have emerged out of the programme by undergoing trainings/skills acquisition offered by the Foundation on pipeline fittings, crane operations, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tailoring, hair dressing, soap making, computer and digital literacy.
Since 2019, the Foundation has made the plights of widows an emerging area of interest and paid greater attention to the plights of widows resulting in a number of interventions in this regard. The Foundation currently offers free legal services, material support and scholarships to indigent widows in Rivers State, including widows of fallen heroes of the Nigerian Army. It has also provided a Rivers State Widows Legal Assistance toll-free 24/7-hotline 0800-0023-111 as an avenue for widows to reach out for help. Since 2019, the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation has reached 150 widows with direct support.
19 YEARS OF UNASSAILABLE IMPACT OF LIVES
The last 19 years have indeed seen far-reaching and unassailable impact in the lives of the under-served. From beginning with just one programme, the Foundation has increased its interventions to 6. And it is not slowing down. Rather, it is breaking new grounds in many areas of passionate human survival needs to expand the frontiers of its humanitarian work. The latest is the RAISE Project being inaugurated in Elibrada Community of Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation Rural Agricultural Intervention Scheme for Sustainable Enterprise (RAISE) Project is an agro-based intervention programme that empowers rural farmers with modern agricultural skills and technological support aimed at increasing their capacity, boosting their yields and ultimately guaranteeing their sustainability through a special off-taking arrangement that would see the Foundation buying off their entire produce at maturity.
It is the belief of the Chairman Board of Trustees of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Dr. Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs that this novel intervention, like other programmes of the foundation, will also have an immediate positive impact on the quality of the lives and livelihoods of the beneficiaries in Elibrada and ultimately help in improving their fortunes as the Foundation marches forward to the future improving lives and providing succour especially to most vulnerable and under-served persons in rural communities across the Niger Delta.