Asohon Online Meeting Held On The 22nd Of July 2020.
Dear esteemed Asohon executives, state coordinators, and all cherished members nationwide. I give God all the glory for the opportunity to serve and contribute my God-given ability to the association of Orphanages and Home operators in Nigeria.
I want to especially appreciate my predecessor, a great quintessential, a woman of purpose, full of strength and multidimensional resources. She has joyfully paddled Asohon canoe for about eleven years now with countless emotional, social and financial support.
Inheriting her shoes was a very difficult and scary decision because the shoes appear oversized and I did not know where to put my legs and park up space.
I have worked with her in these eleven years and learned so much from her. At the proposal of entering the office of President of Asohon, I prayed as Jesus did, can this cup pass over me? Then encouraging words, promises of support, and full backing started rolling in which became a precipitate for my acceptance
of the office.
Dear colleagues, I may not wish to start a new foundation but to continue building on that, started by my predecessor Rev Mrs. Bamidele George, her role in Asohon is both adorable and memorable.
We will consider together the best appreciation due to her soonest.
Having said all these, please permit me to revisit my speech at the Jos convention as it relates to my present position and vision without stepping back on Asohon Objectives and goals.
ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR
Our main objective is to form a united approach in the care of abandoned/ Vulnerablechildren in Nigeria.After some years of struggling alone and everyone facing a myriad of challenges without a forum to share and interact together, the vision to come together as a body was conceived and birthed in 2009 in Lagos.
To the glory of God within the past few years, we have been able to establish close to 30 state chapters in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria,
- We have successfully registered and recognized by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Abuja as a National Child-focused Organization.
- We are able to develop a code of Ethical conduct to serve as our operational guidelines,
- We have amended our constitution to reflect the present state of things.
- We have Created zones and appointed zonal coordinators.
- We had well attended zonal conferences in South East, Southwest, and North Central geo-political zones in Nigeria.
- We are warming up for the South-South zone as soon as the Covid 19 pandemic recedes
- We are hopeful that before the end of the second quarter of next year, we would have gone round all the remaining zones.
THE MAJOR CHALLENGES.
The key challenge will be to sustain the generally positive mood of our association and to maintain the momentum of partnerships and strategic stakeholder relations through the delivery of coherent and credible social service which resonates with our vision.
- The second biggest challenge is financing. Running social care home in this economy in the face of economic depression hitting every sector of the country. Covid 19 pandemic has worsened everything.
- There is a steady decline of donors and educational sponsors of children in homes and orphanages. The cost of feeding and maintenance of facilities in the home is becoming unbearable. Hiring professional social workers and caregivers for best practice is becoming dreadful due to the scarcity of funds.
- Funding capacity building to ensure a coherent planning and effective implementation of the key strategies that will take Asohon to the next level.
- Developing the right tools for relating with Government and getting grants/allocation as well moral support.
- Getting accurate statistical data on numbers of orphans and orphanages in the Country.
- Rebranding the image and reputation of homes and orphanages in Nigeria.
- Getting the Federal Government to make a substantial budget allocation for social welfare services and for full implementation of the child rights act.
- Getting Social and health insurance for orphans and vulnerable Children in fully registered orphanages.
- Getting Federal and State Government Educational scholarship for children in orphanages.
- Post- institutional care and settlement of aging out children from orphanages.
- The accelerated process of legal adoption to facilitate the release of children from social care institutions.
- Decentralization of adoption approval papers to make prospective adopters move around the states in Nigeria
STRATEGIC FUTURE DIRECTION OF ASOHON
If Asohon has to move to the higher growth and developmental path required for continued and faster progress, the following will be necessary:
- Building stronger ties anchored on the well- functioning and self-sustainable model.
- Strengthening financial management, accountability, and clean administration of homes under Asohon.
- Building a strong association structure to enhance coordination and integrated delivery of service to the children in our homes.
- Developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to reposition Asohon and gain full Governmental attention.
- Developing tools for breaking barriers and ensuring greater common understanding and a more respectful, collaborative, and sincere relationship between Asohon and Governmental Institutions.
- No malpractice –‘ He who must come to equity, must come with clean hands’. All forms of illegal practices must stop – child merchandising, report manipulations, fraudulent behavior. etc
- Fostering Partnerships with other child-focused organizations in Nigeria and abroad.
- Strengthening capacity building for the purpose of improving our standard.
- Having a common approach and strategy.
- Being disciplined, coordinated, and working as a unit.
- Being sensitive to the environment within which our homes are located.
- Engaging the media in getting public attention, creating public awareness.
- Acquiring opportunity for adequate representation in policy development on child welfare in all tiers of Government.
- The relationship scope and limitation between Asohon and supervising Ministries must be clearly established. No party must have unlimited control and domineering stand. Relationships must be flexible.
- A robust, adaptable government- facing strategy will help ASOHON navigate opportunities and facilitate the realization of our goals and objectives.
The current situation dictates that as an association we should align ourselves with the changes around and set the association on a new road and a paradigm shift and thereby ushering in a new epoch and laying the foundation for greater growth.
Looking at Asohon today – it is clear that the advances made supersede the weaknesses in any measure. Yet, if Asohon will continue along the same trajectory, especially in respect of not responding to the immediate challenges through a robust strategic planning process – we could soon reach a point at which the negatives start to overwhelm the positives.
Therefore with regard to identified Challenges which, if urgently addressed would help unlock faster growth in all other areas – a catalyst towards ascending to a higher trajectory and towards the next level of Asohon.
A tree does not make a forest, without you and I coming together, we can’t achieve much. I hereby humbly solicit your cooperation, your encouragement, and your understanding.
Many of us have held offices for too long and we need to do some changes to expand our engagement and create opportunities for progress.
In conclusion, together we stand, and divided we fall. I am appealing to all our members to be loyal, cooperative, get involved, and be united.
The new leadership list will be placed on this platform soonest.
We will work with the number of years stated as tenure in our constitution and shall rotate leadership as at when due.
I sincerely plead once again for your patience and cooperation. Let us eschew bitterness, speculations, hateful relationship, and distrust from our midst. May God help us all.
Long Live Asohon, the powerful voice for the powerless children.
Thank you and God bless you all. I am your servant Dr. Gabriel Oyediji