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Once again, it’s delightsome standing before this great audience to talk about this Vision, this Mandate called Rural Nurture Initiative and I’ll like to start by telling a story…

Years back, I had the cause to visit some rural communities to collate data for my academic project but the sight that welcomed me caused my heart to bleed. The starving little ones; unclothed and barefooted, the aging adult due to tiresome labour on the farm, the supposed leaders of tomorrow who couldn’t speak good English, and the seemingly wasting destinies. I pondered so hard on the situation of their harsh living condition then silently, i began asking myself some questions: What if… What if I was the one given birth to in this environment? What if I wasn’t as privileged as I am? Wouldn’t it be some sort of ill luck? On and on went the questions and oh! I wished I could help but I was just an undergraduate, so I promised myself to rise to the situation in the future.

In more recent encounters with some other rural communities, which are the targets for RNI’s maiden and second outreaches, I came across worse scenarios and my heart would not stop reaching out to these people. Then once again, I promised myself to commit to impacting rural lives sometimes, somehow, in the future. But Ladies and gentlemen, it later dawned on me that the future is not ten years’ time, neither is it twenty years’ time; the future is now! The future of Nigeria is now! The future of Africa is now!

Come to think of it, we depend on the rural communities in so many ways but give back to them in so little ways (We depend on them for Agricultural produce for consumption, raw materials for our industries, data for academic project, publication in journals for promotion, the list goes on)… Before you tell me that they get paid for sold agricultural produce, remember that what they receive isn’t even commensurate to their labour.

As a friend once said, life is give and take, it’s about exchange and anything short of that is robbery. Ladies and gentlemen, I say to you, it is time we make efforts to quit this act of robbery. Suffice it to say then, that it’s time we started paying attention to these fragile ones and started giving back to them. This, I would say, prompted the birthing of Rural Nurture Initiative (RNI).

RNI aims at boosting the quality of rural lives in Africa, with present focus on remote and underprivileged communities in Nigeria. We seek to actualize the Sustainable Development Goals, with emphasis on SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Our mission is to provide social safety nets for the poor and pro-poor; to bring rural communities into developmental limelight; to project the felt needs of rural communities to the general public for necessary intervention; to create a platform for urban dwellers to support the less privileged in rural communities; as well as to create incentives for business owners to perform their Cooperate Social Responsibility. We have a couple of outreaches to rural communities which has been tailored to achieve our vision and mission (we have the Charity Outreach; Health Outreach; Agricultural Outreach a.k.a Help a farmer project; School Outreach; Empowerment Outreach and Specialized outreach a.k.a Community Felt-needs Project).

In conclusion, RNI is much more than an initiative; RNI is a call, a response and an answer. RNI is a call; a call to individuals (you and I), and the urban centered NGOs to change the narratives and pay better attention to the less privileged in rural communities. A call to give back to the society and make the world a better place. RNI is a response; a response to the pain and silent cry for help in the heart of rural dwellers. RNI is an answer; an answer to those who wish to give back to rural communities but do not know where, what and how to go about it.

Once again, Ladies and Gentlemen, I will like to reiterate to you all that RNI is a Call, a Response and an Answer.

Thank you for listening.

© Damilola Iyiola