Note: To celebrate women’s day, the EAF team aimed to use our latest challenge to shine a spotlight on the work women do to improve health in their communities. We called for stories or poems of no more than 250 words, about women improving health in their communities. Among several pan-African entries to this challenge, our judges read for clarity, impact, adherence to the instructions, and ultimately selected this submission from Uneku Offor (bottom picture above), about the work of Mrs Iye Okeme (top picture above), as the winning entry. Read more below.
The improved healthcare of my hometown emanated from the efforts of Mrs. Iye Okeme also known as Iye1. She is a visionary woman, a mentor, an epitome of kindness, a mother of all and an inspiration to many. She has left her footprints in the sands of time and also affirmed that a woman’s voice no matter how small can be heard and used as an instrument of change.
Ibaji Local Government area which is my hometown is a small remote place in Kogi State the north-central part of Nigeria with a landmass of about 1,377km2 and a total population of about 128,000 people who are mostly farmers.
Previously, my people suffered from lack of basic social amenities such as good and adequate water supply, power supply, healthcare and bad roads amongst others. However, this impeccable woman reached out to prominent individuals from my region urging them to invest in their roots. She emphasized on the need to build schools and hospitals to educate the children as well as care for the sick and vulnerable members of the community. Furthermore, she sourced for funds and drilled a community borehole to alleviate the incidence of waterborne illnesses.
To sum up, despite her health challenges this woman was able to bring development to my community. I am forever indebted to this great woman as one of the beneficiaries of her scholarship program for young girls. I always wonder who I would have been if this great woman had not lent her voice to the betterment of my community, setting a shining example for all of us to follow.
Uneku Offor says: I entered the challenge as it provided me with a platform to re-ignite my passion for writing and to celebrate remarkable women that have imparted my life positively by their outstanding work. I will like the EAF community to know that am happily married with a beautiful daughter, a medical doctor and an advocate of maternal physical and mental health. I am passionate about writing and baking.