Her Excellency, Mrs. Ekaette Unoma Akpabio, The First Lady of Akwa Ibom State
Her Excellency, wife of the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, chairperson of
Family Life Enhancement Initiative (FLEI) and "Mother" of Akwa Ibom State is an
educationist whose qualification and relevant experience have been doubly beneficial
in the timely crusade for moral rearmament of the people. Her team at FLEI consistently
and innovatively promotes family values and the family as the corner stone and building
block of the community.
The NGO seeks to reengineer the family in the light of current societal and socio-political
dislocations. Reengineering the family also necessarily involves giving a helping
hand to the less privileged and rehabilitating neglected citizens of the state.
Her work cuts across social, academic, professional and financial barriers.
Projects of Family Life Enhabcement Initiarive
One of the earliest strides of FLEI was to build multistakeholder partnerships.
To begin with, the organisation held consultations with wives of former Governors,
Deputy Governors and other prominent women leaders in the State to seek their inputs
in understanding the issues on ground as well as Siteing interventions. It promptly
built alliances with various women groups at the grassroots and established a good
working relationship with related Government agencies and Ministries such as the
Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare and the National Agency for the Prohibition
of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), among others.
The synergy created with the latter, for example, has been especially useful to
our work on reducing the incidence of child labour and traficking in Akwa Ibom.
This participatory approach has paid off handsomely, with FLEI becoming not only
a household name, but also a most sought after partner by corporate bodies, public
sector agencies, and independent NGOs when it comes to women and childrens’ issues
in the State.
Efforts are ongoing to build working linkages with a number of international development
agencies and socially responsible corporate bodies for the implementation of the
organisation’s Action Plan. On the whole, alliance building has been key and will
continue to be central to the work of the Initiative.
Reducing Maternal And Child Mortality / Morbidity
Combating HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Rehabilitation and Ongoing Support for Social Welfare Centres
The promotion of maternal and child health are key to achieving the globally agreed
Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). FLEI is responding to the challenge of reducing
the State’s high child and maternal mortality statistics through the use of innovative
advocacy strategies. The flagship publication of FLEI, Uforo Ubon, is currently
being used as an advocacy tool to take the campaign to women and the wider public.
FLEI is also employing its wide grassroot networks to mobilise and educate rural
women on the importance of registering early at primary health facilities in their
communities for childbirth and immunising their children to prevent early childhood
diseases. The organisation collaborates with the State Ministries of Health and
Women Affairs to create awareness on the issue. Recently, FLEI took a practical
step towards preventing the death of preterm babies in Ikot Ekpene General Hospital
when its Founder, Mrs. Akpabio donated an infant incubator worth N5 Million Naira
to the hospital.
Family Life Enhancement Initiative has been seriously involved in the campaign for
prevention of malaria and HIV / AIDS and other diseases. We have collaborated with
the Akwa Ibom State Action Committee on AIDS and other organisations to take the
campaign for risk-free living to the grassroots. We have also utilised various public
forums to promote responsible lifestyles among young people, who are especially
Emphasis has been on the role of the family in reducing spread of the disease. We
have also been involved in the campaign for malaria prevention by popularirising
the use of insecticide treated nets and donating same to pregnant women in rural
communities. So far, five rural communities in the State have benefitted from this
Various social welfare centres have long played an important role in the lives of
disadvantaged groups in the State. These include half-way home facilities, rehabilitation
centres, hospices and other such facilities whose inmates sometimes tend to be forgotten.
In view of the importance of these facilties to the social economy of the State,
the First Lady’s pet project has reached out to a number of them in significant
ways. For instance, the Ikot Ekpene Children’s Home, a facility for mentally challenged
children, has been transformed from a derelict structure to a befitting centre for
alternative care-giving and education. In the same way, FLEI has provided a lifeline
for the Leprosy Hospital, Ekpene Obom, Etinan through a monthly house keeping allowance
of N100,000.00 for inmates and caregivers.
It also facilitated the construction of an access road to the St. Louis Centre for
the Deaf and Dumb, Ifuho, Ikot Ekpene, by the State Government. For the Gospel Village
Motherless Babies Home in Abak, the intervention was by way of instituting a scholarship
fund to support the education of some of the children up to university level. Other
centres that have also benefitted from the organisation’s intervention include the
Motherless Babies Home, Ikot Iniang, Eket, Holy Family Sisters Home of the Needy,
Ikpe Ikot Nkon, Ini, St. Anthony Destitutes Home, Uyo, and the Children’s Remand
Home also in Uyo. The focus has been to provide education and livelihood alternatives
for inmates, make resources available for their day-to-day upkeep and rehabilitate
existing physical infrastructure thereby improving the quality of life at these
centres so that they can live up to their role in providing care and support for
socially vulnerable groups in the State.
FAMILY LIFE ENHANCEMENT INITIATIVE (FLEI)
The Family Life Enhancement Initiative
was founded in 2007 as a channel for implementing the social and humanitarian programmes
of Her Excellency, Mrs. Ekaette Unoma Akpabio in her role as First Lady of Akwa
Ibom State. It was founded as a response to the widespread social disadvantages
in our society which have, over time, impacted negatively on family values, thereby
undermining the role of the family unit in the development process. The idea is
therefore to provide a platform for redirecting the focus of development efforts
on the family as a strategy for achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
While economic growth indices for Akwa Ibom State have been positive for the past
few years, the challenge has been how to translate this growth to social gains for
poor and vulnerable families. The records still indicate a high incidence of child
labour and traficking, HIV and AIDS, maternal and child mortality, teenage pregnancies
and youth unemployment, among other social problems.
We recognise that government cannot do it alone in this
struggle to achieve the MDGs, especially those relating to women and children. We
also recognise the unique vantage point and opportunity that the role of First Lady
confers in the fight to reduce social disadvantage in our society to the minimum.
The Family Life Enhancement Initiative (FLEI) is therefore poised toplay its part
towards restoring values and reducing social disadvantage among Akwa Ibom families.
A prosperous and equitable society in which every woman, child and young person
actively participates in, and benefits from, the development process.
To work for the empowerment of the family unitby promoting values and linking disadvantaged
individuals and groups with the tools and opportunities they need to overcome social
disadvantage and unlock their potentials.