By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
No fewer than 1.2 million vulnerable Nigerians have benefited from the life-changing innovative socio-economic and health services of the Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), in 2019.
The Chairman of Board of Directors of LAPO, Dr. Osarenren Emokpae, stated this at the organization’s Annual General Meeting held in Benin, Edo state, for the financial year ended 31st December 2019.
A breakdown of the empowerment services indicates that 274,929 persons were reached with direct services in target communities, while 976,368 members of the public were enlightened through information, education and communication materials.
Similarly, the financial subsidiary of the organization, LAPO Rural Development Initiative (LARDI) supported 129,637 rural farmers with the sum of 10.9 billion during the period under review which represents 49 per cent increase over the sum of 7.3 billion disbursed in 2018.
Emokpae said the organization has been pushing the developmental agenda in the country and playing a leading role in addressing poverty, hunger and disease through innovative measures aimed at removing financial barriers to sustainable livelihood and preventing access to health care services.
The Board Chairman said the sterling achievements of LAPO would be incomplete without acknowledging the Benin Medical Care (BMC) and Diagnostics Centre, which was commissioned in 2019 to provide excellent medical services through cutting edge technology and patient-centric approaches obtainable in developed countries of the world.
He noted that the social and health empowerment constitutes a fundamental part of LAPO’s poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria where households and individuals bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system with “high poverty reflecting rising lack of sustainable means of income estimated at 23.1% in 2018 up from 14.2 per cent in 2016
The Board Chairman hinted that LAPO will streamline and refocus its development programmes in year 2020 towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1, 3 and 6 on poverty reduction, improved health and safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) respectively.
He said the organization would continue to deepen its services in target communities through the involvement of community-based organisations in programme implementation, and appreciated partners for supporting the LAPO dream of a poverty-free world.