Interview of Obipiseibima Aggokabo, Founder of GIRIF: She lost a patient, an elderly woman, to cervical cancer

Obipiseibima Aggokabo Fatchu

There are many Non Governmental Organisations (NGO)/Non-Profit Organisations in Nigeria with the intention of helping people in need (physically and psychologically). However, only a few of these organisations are founded based on personal encounters that move the founders to tears. 

One of the few is Global Impact for Rural Innovation Foundation (GIRIF), an NGO founded in 2017 by Obipiseibima Aggokabo Fatchu (fondly called Priscillia by friends). On GIRIF website, her full name is stated as Obipiseibima Priscillia Aggokabo. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and for convenience, this interview (Q&A) with Lanre News was conducted via WhatsApp. Most of the original chats with emojis were retained to maintain the flow of the conversation.

First, can you describe yourself in two sentences?

Purpose-driven. Free-spirited

When you say purpose driven, what is the purpose of your organisation, GIRIF?

The purpose of GIRIF is to bring young minds with innovative ideas together and provide them with a platform to explore. Our purpose also includes advocacy for women’s health and provision of safe drinking water for rural communities.

Obipiseibima Priscillia Aggokabo | Lanre News
Obipiseibima Priscillia Aggokabo

What inspired it?

Women dying of cervical cancer without getting tested or getting the vaccine to protect themselves. The youths not having a platform to put their potentials to good use.

When you say young minds, what age range are you targeting? Which kind of innovative ideas are you looking at?

Young minds from the age of 10-30 years

Groundbreaking innovation 💡

Mind giving an example, especially one you have engaged so far?

At the moment we are still letting youths know that there is a platform for that. Recently we are trying to partner with an IT organization to teach interested youths coding and how to create an app.

That is fantastic, can I apply 🙏🤓. I must say, kudos!

Sure, you can once we get everything in place

I am sensing you have some medical education background. What is your educational background?

Yes, I have a medical education background. I have a Bsc. in Medical Laboratory Technology; Msc. Public health; MRes Biomedical Science and Translational Medical; and a PhD in Sports and exercise science (in view).

Global Impact for Rural Innovation Foundation (GIRIF) | Lanre News
Global Impact for Rural Innovation Foundation (GIRIF) volunteers.

Was wondering too..

Why the special interest in cervical cancer?

I have lost a patient to cervical cancer, an elderly woman from the north after raising funds for her treatment. This really got to me and I realised I could create awareness and save lives.

Hmm..

Why the hmm.. interesting or

Interesting of course!

A follow-up on this. I noticed a section on your website “Discover Amazing Ideas People have”, where you feature/try to raise funds for causes not directly linked to GIRIF. Is this part of the initiative to promote youths with innovative ideas?

Yes, it is.

So this means a youth with an idea of impacting a community for instance can contact you to get their cause promoted on your platform?

Yes of course.

What are the criteria you use in selecting the projects you embark on?

No much criteria. All you have to do is upload a one-minute video of your ideas and then the foundation will contact the individual and discuss the idea in detail.

The idea will be uploaded on the website if approved.

You don’t do background investigation/verification to confirm the authenticity?

We do. I forgot to mention that and we also involve the lawyer of the organization to show the authenticity.

Good enough.

So let’s talk about the journey so far?

How has it been? Any challenging moment that will remain memorable?

The journey started in 2017 with the tag “Giving back to the community”. Honestly, the journey has not been an easy one.

As a foundation, we have had challenges where we are unable to meet up with some of the projects as a result of funds. However, the goal to put a smile on the faces of individuals and to achieve such a purpose has been our watchword.

Global Impact for Rural Innovation Foundation (GIRIF) } Lanre News
Global Impact for Rural Innovation Foundation (GIRIF) during an Awareness Outreach

INTERESTING READ: Full Interview: Why Only Few Igbos Want Biafra and Most Didn’t ― Youth Leader

Any notable project the organisation did that you will like to discuss?

Oh! we got loads of them and is all on our website www.girif.org. Kindly click on it and get detailed information.

Like the Awareness Campaign on Human Papilloma Virus?

Yes, also the provision of safe drinking water for rural communities, and naked matters.

I could also see the *Thirst Cure project too

This entails the safe drinking water project.

To everybody involved in an NGO, I think there is always a project that touches them most than others. Like they had a strong connection with the idea, although all thee projects are things that matter to them.

Any particular project like this. Maybe at the end, you just wanted to jump to the street to shout Eureka!

🤣🤣🤣 funny. The cervical cancer sensitization and the importance of human papilloma virus vaccine

To round up, what are the future projections for GIRIF?

We continue with our slated projects. The idea is to be grounded with what we are doing already and partner with foundations that are of like minds to make it a reality.

Any project you are currently working on?

We are currently working on

1) Thirst cure project

2) The cervical cancer sensitization program. The purpose of this sensitization program is to at least reduce the cost attached to the PAP smear examination and the HPV vaccine

How would the sensitization reduce the cost of PAP smear examination?

And the HPV vaccine?

With the sensitisation program, as a foundation we intend to write to hospitals that are willing to partner with us. We bring the clients to them and they give them discounts both for the test and the vaccine.

Final question,

Where are you from? Or better, give us a short autobiography

I am from Okrika in Rivers state, currently doing a PhD program at the Liverpool John Moores University. I am the last child of four.

Finally please visit our website and donate to support a good cause.

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