Connect with us


OCI Foundation – A Need of The Hour



Nonprofit organizations are imperative in society’s development, especially in underdeveloped countries. Besides government institutions, nonprofit organizations put their time, energy, and efforts into the betterment of underprivileged people. Such organizations tend to act better and faster than official government bodies because they can direct their focus on supporting needy people without expecting any reward in return. By providing assistance and services, they contribute to the country’s economic State and mobility. Few nonprofit organizations focus on one particular issue, while some work on multiple dimensions. One such organization is Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora (OCI) Foundation.

Founded by philanthropist and Associate Professor Chris Onyebuchi Ifediora, the OCI Foundation works on myriad problems of society. Predominantly, the OCI Foundation focuses on health, education, and social welfare. In the health sector, the Foundation works extensively on breast and cervical cancers in Nigeria. Ifediora brought the Nigerian youth on board and developed a campaign called “Arm Our Youths Health”, famously known as the “ArOY” Campaign. Founded in 2019, the ArOY Campaign developed strategies with input from the Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, and has the support of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The rationale of the ArOY Campaign was to reduce the cases and deaths among Nigerian women due to breast and cervical cancers. In 2017, around 50.3 million women between 15- 65 years were at risk of breast and cervical cancer, as breast and cervical cancer is the 2nd major cause of death in Nigerian women. To deal with this alarming situation, the ArOY Campaign began empowerment for senior secondary school students with an agenda to promote the knowledge of early symptoms, potential risk factors, and prevention techniques for these two types of cancers.

The ArOY Campaign targets everyone and educates them about the diseases, as they comprise a large chunk of the Nigerian population. The campaign’s next steps involved initiating the same anti-cancer program in Anambra State. ArOY was organized as a three-day program in September 2019 in the main auditorium of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria, and recorded the campaign’s key outcome in an online booklet. 261 schools in the State still participate in the campaign to date, with the ArOY Campaign introducing statewide quizzes about breast and cervical cancers. The finals of these quizzes hold yearly on February 4 to keep it in line with World Cancer Day. The Foundation is now in the process of extending the ArOY Campaign to the rest of Nigeria, as well as Africa (through the ECOWAS and AU).

Continuing the journey of serving people for cancer prevention, in 2022, as part of OCI Foundation’s Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Health Campaign, they launched the Gynocular Project, specifically for cervical cancer screening and treatments. The project was commissioned in association with FCT-PHCB, to create a cancer-free Nigeria. The Gynocular is a small, compact, and lightweight piece of equipment with cutting-edge technology and advanced optics; Gynocular has LED technology and is a portable device making it suitable for rural areas. The Sweden-based manufacturer of the Gynocular aimed for a screening test device that allows screenings for cervical cancer, which is quite prevalent in Nigeria. It is effortless to use, as brief instruction is enough to understand its function. The OCI Foundation offers the test for free in parts of Nigeria.

Another milestone of the OCI Foundation is building a mobile application, the CerviBreast, which is available in all types of play stores. The OCI Foundation introduced this free mobile application to screen and monitor breast and cervical cancer symptoms. The application has unique features, links to professional oncologist services, and audio-visual instructions.

The soft and empathetic nature of Dr. Ifediora compelled him to do 360-degree social work. Besides a gigantic body of work in health, he also serves incessantly in the educational sector. Around 72% of Nigerian people are educated, despite lacking the best educational system. The OCI Foundation offers various scholarship programs for underprivileged Nigerian Students. Scholarships are offered to junior and high school students to pay their fees. At the same time, a  few scholarships are also offered to medical and engineering undergraduate students, helping them throughout their university studies.

During COVID-19, the world witnessed the OCI Foundation’s extensive efforts despite the lack of external support. The Foundation aided people with medicines, COVID prevention kits, and food ration packets. The OCI Foundation held social activities and conferences to educate people regarding the virus.

The OCI Foundation’s efforts have been spread for about a decade and are internationally famed and acclaimed. The Foundation bagged several awards for philanthropic activities as a token of appreciation. An example is the Platinum Award for Humanitarian Services by the Rotary Club of Awka Smithtown (2020). They also received awards in Australia, the UK, and Zambia and were included in the Top 100 most impactful NGOs of the Year (2022). These are only a few examples.

Founded in Nigeria on April 29, 2016, and officially registered in Australia on June 4, 2018, the OCI Foundation has come a long way. Due to its novel reputation, the Foundation has partners, trustees, and directors from many countries, including Nigeria, Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. Nigerian partners of OCI Foundation include the Nigerian First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Nigerian First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC), the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS), the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Anambra State Government, and the Sweet Home Africa humanitarian Foundation (SHAHF), among others.

What we see about the OCI Foundation is just the tip of the iceberg. The world is yet to witness the potential and capabilities of Chris Ifediora and his team. The vision and efforts of OCI Foundation have shaped its limitless growth and success. From social campaigns, innovative technology, and education to social activities for underprivileged people, the OCI Foundation is a true-blue humanitarian benefactor working to bridge the gap between facilities and needy disadvantaged people.

Continue Reading