ESLF’s eight straight years of unwavering service to humanity

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

At the inception of Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) eight years ago, precisely on May 14th, 2016, the Founder. Dr. Eunice Ortom, made a profound proclamation that has come to embody the humane disposition of the Foundation when she declared that, “it is my wish that Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) will be known as one reserved for those who may truly need us to be a spring in their steps, sunshine in their dark hours, water to wet their dry land and warmth in their season of winter”.

Since this thoughtful pronouncement was made on that auspicious day in May 2016 when ESLF took up the gauntlet to commence the task of providing humanitarian services to vulnerable persons, the Foundation has never looked back but has, in the past eight years, stayed the course in its unwavering bid to achieve her vision of “a society without barriers to decent living”.

How has ESLF tried to actualize this vision and how has the Foundation been going about the task of achieving such an audacious mandate over these years?

To achieve her vision, mission and mandate, ESLF had mapped out 4 thematic areas of Health, Education and Research, Governance and Economic Empowerment with a focus on Agriculture and Environment through which she intervened in the lives of thousands of beneficiaries including children, women, men and the youth. Through these cardinal thematic areas, ESLF has reached tens of thousands of persons whose lives have been positively impacted by the Foundation’s humanitarian activities.

In education, so as to live up to the Founder’s wish for ESLF “to serve as a spring in the steps” of our young ones for them to actualize their aspirations in life, the Foundation awarded several scholarships to vulnerable persons, including women and Persons with Disability (PWDs), organised 6 impactful Annual Literacy Projects and Read Aloud sessions as well as hosted a maiden science exhibition in 2019 which saw 3 winning schools cart home cash prizes running into millions of Naira that was given to reward their effort and support the production of more of the prize-winning devices, as well as stimulate more science and tech-based research that could give birth to even more innovations.

In health, ESLF has carried out over 3500 free surgeries and nearly one hundred thousand medical consultations and treatment for various kinds of ailments during its free medical outreaches thereby “serving as light in the dark hours” for beneficiaries.
Within these eight years of ESLF’s existence, the Foundation has beamed the light of knowledge on a number of issues by embarking on various sensitisation campaigns and advocacies ranging from Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to breast and cervical cancer, tuberculosis to mental health and Psycho-Social Support, as well as Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) among many others in order to blot out the darkness of ignorance that tend to aggravate these issues in the society.

To bring succour to the sick, ESLF has established a Health and Skills Facility (ESLF-HSF) with various units to cater for Maternal and Child Care, Mental Health and Rehabilitation Unit as well as a Skills Acquisition Centre as a component of rehabilitation to cater for the all-round health needs of an individual’s mind and body. The ESLF Hospital fully staffed with professional medical personnel had commenced full operation in February 2024 with a two-day Free Medical Outreach, took successful delivery of the first baby to be born at the hospital on Tuesday March 26, 2024 has since being attending to various out-patient casing including expectant mothers and newly-delivered mothers on ante-natal and post natal care respectively.

Furthermore, in pursuing its economic empowerment programmes, ESLF;
1. Organised the annual Benue Women and Youth Economic/Entrepreneurship Summits in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that strengthened knowledge and skills of about 6000 women and youth on opportunities for business in Benue and enterprise management.
2. Sponsored over 1400 women and youth to acquire vocational skills training in their chosen areas of interest out of which 3 young men and 1 young woman were sent to undergo master vocational training in leather and fibre works in China and upon their return, stepped down these skills to other trainees.
3. Provided over 500 rural farmers in 5 communities with inputs, built their skills in modern farming techniques for soya beans, maize, sesame, cassava and rice.
4. Implemented an on-farm training of 50 farmers drawn from 5 rural farmer cooperative groups (mostly women) on ginger cultivation on ESLF’s Model Farm.
5. Trained 50 women and youth in food processing in partnership with the World Bank Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) Benue State (2019).
6. Worked on a USAID Funded project to enhance ease of doing agribusiness in Benue State with focus on rice, maize, soyabeans, cowpea and aquaculture value chains.

In Governance, driven by the desire for gender equality, ESLF has through its Founder, made effort that saw an unprecedented number of women sit at the decision making table in the State both as appointees of government and as elected officials representing their people. This move has culminated in the emergence of the highest number of female Council Chairmen ever since the creation of Benue State in 1976.

Also, the Foundation’s commitment to eliminating all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) gave birth to A special SGBV Advocacy and Policy Implementation team set up in collaboration with the Governor’s Wives’ Forum, a crack team that has carried out massive sensitisation to curb the menace of SGBV and provided support for survivors the Safe Space and Skills Acquisition Centre for SGBV survivors at the NAPTIP Zonal head office in Makurdi.

In addition, ESLF led a coalition of Civil Society groups to advocate for the successful passing of a Widowhood Protection Law to protect widows from obnoxious practices against widows.
In the arena of sports, the Foundation organised a standard ESLF Football Tournament for young men and women in 2022 to open up opportunities for teenagers in the world of football, organized holiday sports coaching and competition for over 200 school children in 2016 as well as supported the Annual Basketball Clinic by the John Allagh Foundation among others.

Presently, ESLF is implementing a project to address Biodiversity Loss and Promote Sustainable Traditional Medicinal Practices among the Ugbe Indigenous People of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, with funding by Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), an environment-based international donor organisation.

In the coming days, as part of activities marking her anniversary, ESLF has made provision to distribute free improved cassava stems to support farmers as the rains set in as part of the Foundation’s economic empowerment drive under the Agriculture and Environment Thematic Area.

This year, as ESLF marks another anniversary, the many milestones the Foundation has recorded are substantial indicators that the Foundation has largely lived up to the Founder’s wish and served as a spring in the steps of vulnerable persons, sunshine in their dark hours, water to wet their dry land and warmth in their season of winter”.

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