By Ahmed Ubandoma, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Evidently, the First Lady, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari`s strive and passion to support the less privileged, especially women and children was the brain behind the formation of her non-governmental organisation — Future Assured which is a component of Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF).
Future Assured, an initiative of the Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF), is a non-governmental organisation set up with the vision of securing the future for women and children, especially in crisis ravaging areas.
At the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari`s administration in May 2015, the First Lady assembled team of experts from medical, educational and humanitarian background and come up with a workable template to complement government’s efforts in responding to the humanitarian crises affecting women and children in the country.
Future Assured has impacted positively on the lives of youths, women and children through her various interventions in the areas of Youths Educational Empowerment Programme (YEEP), Medical Outreaches, Women Empowerment and Support to Victims of Insurgency, Promoting Rights of Women and Children among others.
On July 2016, the First Lady inaugurated the “Get Involved“ an initiative under the Future Assured to generate funds for the improvement of the nutritional status of malnourished children and other humanitarian activities across the country.
Mrs Buhari during the inauguration said with collective efforts from the public, no child in Nigeria should lack a good nutritional diet.
During the period, more than N200 million worth of goods was raised and distributed to the needy across the country.
While championing the advocacy for the health and physical wellbeing of the women and children, the Future Assured conducted screening for women and the aged to determine the status of their blood pressure, cervical cancer, sugar level, kidney function, HIV and AIDS screening, breast cancer as well as eye check where glasses were provided for those in need.
Children were dewormed to ensure they have good oral hygiene while nutritional supplements were supplied to more than 250,000 nursing mothers. This is in addition to over 100 tonnes of the supplement to the malnourished children across the country.
The Future Assured also built Maternity Clinics in some states with a view to expanding the network of access to maternity services for women across Nigeria.
On March 1, 2017, the First Lady inaugurated a mobile clinic programme to provide basic healthcare services to the less- privileged, especially those living in rural areas of the country.
Speaking during the inauguration, she said, the idea behind the mobile clinic programme was to respond to the medical emergencies of women and children in the rural communities.
The medical outreach was conducted in the six geo political zones of the country, especially in states like, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Cross River, Kebbi, Kogi, Gombe, Oyo, Adamawa, FCT, Benue, Katsina, Enugu, Plateau, Imo among others.
On Oct. 9, 2017, the First Lady reaffirmed her commitment to building alliances with wives of state governors and other stakeholders to strengthen advocacy to eradicate problems associated with Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) in Nigeria.
She stressed the need for increase awareness on the importance of providing RMNCAH+N services across the state of the federation.
The first lady also inaugurated the Governors Wives Advocacy Coalition (GWAC) to cascade the advocacy down to local government levels.
In the area of Women Empowerment, Aisha Buhari, built a women and youths empowerment centre because she viewed women empowerment as critical to sustaining the family, in light of these, the future assured organised skill acquisition programmes in different states of the federation and provided working tools to over 10,000 women.
On April 28, 2017, the First Lady, through Aisha Buhari Foundation, inducted more than 2200 women with entrepreneurial skills.
The organisation also mobilised women farmers to venture into agriculture and take advantage of the opportunities provided by government in terms of improved seedlings, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs, especially in the area of fisheries, livestock and poultry.
More than 20,000 rice milling machines and 250,000 fish driers were distributed to women farmers as well as organised training for youths in paint making, leatherwork, pedicure/manicure and fish farming.
In the area of education, the First Lady, being the champion and advocate for the girl-child education, organised a Youths Educational Empowerment Programme (YEEP), where she support the youths and girl-child with educational materials for conducive learning in the various schools across the country.
Under the programme, the First Lady assisted large number of youths struggling to transit from secondary schools to tertiary institutions through tutorial classes as well as training them to develop good writing and communication skill.
The First Lady also supported victims of insurgency in the IDPs Camps where at a time she presented a cheque of 55 million to parents of Chibok school girls and Buni Yadi school boys that were killed by the insurgents.
In addition to the humanitarian support, the First Lady is also building a befitting orphanage and school in Maiduguri, primarily to cater for children in the IDPs Camps.
The First Lady also supported victims of child abuse and women who suffered gender-based violence, battery and rape as well as advocated for legal framework to support victims and increase awareness on the need to expose the perpetrators of the act.
The First Lady also made significant achievements in areas of advocacy against the spread of tuberculosis, drug abuse, cancer, HIV and AIDS and other illnesses that hamper the growth of women and children.
On Sept. 4, 2018, in Beijing, China, Aisha Buhari, honoured an invitation by Chinese First Lady Prof. Peng Liyuan, to attend an advocacy meeting on Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV in Africa.
Buhari has committed time and resources to the project by advocating for HIV test for all, especially young intending couples before marriage and organising routine medical checks for pregnant women to ascertain their HIV status so as prevent the unborn child.
On the political front, the first lady participated actively in the electioneering campaigns of her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a build-up to the 2019 Presidential election, Aisha Buhari, initiated the Women and Youths Wing of All Progressive Congress (APC) campaign team to support the APC Presidential Campaign Council for the re-election of President Buhari, first in history of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria.
On Dec. 28, 2018, the campaign team was inaugurated by the President which has the first lady as the chairperson and wife of Vice President Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo as the co-chair of the team, which primarily engaged in house-to-house campaign for the re-election of APC Presidential flag bearer.
The event attracted supporters from Kannywood and Nollywood as well as other well-meaning Nigerians.
The outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, witnessed a significant decline in socio-economic activities in the country, however, the First Lady has contributed her quota to the fight against COVID-19 and redirected her humanitarian support to the victims of the pandemic.
On June 2020, the First Lady`s Future Assured initiative renovated and equipped a designated building at the Mararraba Gurku Medical Centre, Nasarawa state to serve as an isolation centre for the management of COVID 19 infected individuals.
Represented by Dr Hajo Sani, the First Lady said the gesture was part of her effort and commitment to complement government`s efforts in responding to the pandemic.
“In addition to this, I also donated some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and some essential drugs to Nasarawa state government, for the benefit of the good people of the state.
“The items included hand sanitisers, surgical face mask, N95 respirator masks, multivitamins, anti-malarial, analgesics, intravenous fluids and oral antibiotics.
“Food items were also donated as palliatives to the health care workers,” she said.(NANFeature).