Social Responsibility And Ewuru Education Incentive Programme


By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Wikipedia, the world information horsepower, defined Social Responsibility as an ethical framework in which individuals or corporations are accountable for fulfilling their civic duty and taking actions that benefit society. Viewed from a simpler prism, it means that individuals and companies must act in the best interests of their environment and society as a whole.

The above subject (Social Responsibility) recently came flooding after listening to the news report that Ewuru Education Incentive Programme Organizers, a voluntary, non-governmental, non-political organisation, on September 12, 2023, donated hundreds of thousands of learning materials to Uweifo Primary School, Ewuru, Ika South Local Government of Delta State.

Without a doubt, it will be convenient for many to argue that there is nothing philanthropic to attract media coverage of such a low-profiled donation of learning material, particularly as the value of the donation in question is not measured in billions of Naira.

For me, there are lessons to learn from this group and every reason to celebrate their action.

First and very fundamental is the hidden truth that members of these groups were not truly wealthy by Nigerians’ context and definition of riches but were predominantly fired by the burning desire to uplift the life chances of the poor and vulnerable in their environment through educational support.

Going by commentaries, the group was formed in the year 2011 by self-contained, cool-headed and quietly influential indigenes of Ewuru, Agbor, who in the aforementioned year voluntarily took up some infrastructural provision responsibility at the Agwaiewuru Secondary School in Agbor, Delta State.

These morally eminent men reportedly provided four toiletry apartments, a water storage/well, and purchased some science equipment for the students to facilitate the schools’ participation in the National Examination Council (NECO) which was a condition as of that material time, 2011.

Thereafter, the group made donations to schools not just as a culture but as an annual affair. The group also extended the scope to the provision of educational materials such as writing and other school needs to students and pupils in the community.

These also include cash gifts to undergraduates of indigenes in various universities across the country. Because of their good works, they have humble but active personalities involved in these humanitarian activities.

Regardless of what others may say, this piece holds the opinion that the group recognizes the time-honoured aphorism which considers education as the bedrock of development; that with sound educational institutions, a country is as good as made -as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of the society driven by well thought out ideas, policies, programmes, and projects.

Their action equally symbolises a bunch in consonance with the fact that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools work and our children are properly educated at the right time.

With their culture of donating to the students’ welfare and comfort, the group, in my view, is amplifying the notion that children enjoy the right to education as recognized by a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, as well as the progressive introduction of free higher education/obligation to develop equitable access to higher education.

We must also not fail to remember that very recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in line with its mandate to promote and protect human rights, has established the right to education as a thematic area of focus to drive its vision of having all children enrolled in school as well as to ensure that the culture of human rights is promoted and maintained in schools.

One common fact we must not shy away from as a people is that the crushing weight arising from education funding in Nigeria and globally has become too heavy for only the government to shoulder and that is another reason why the intervention/donation by these groups is most profound.

Most importantly in my view, the lesson we must all draw from the example of this Group is that it is time for all to collectively find creative and sustainable solutions to educational provision for all in Nigeria, especially for the children of the poor and lowly.

This piece holds the opinion that they (children) reserve the right to hold all of us accountable. If we fail to provide this traditional but universal responsibility to these children, their future will hang in the balance as a result of such failures.

Chances are that most of them will run to the streets. As we know, the streets are known for breeding all sorts of criminals and other social misfits who constitute the real threat such as armed robbers, thugs, drug abusers, drunkards, prostitutes and all other social ills that give a bad name to society.

Ideally, this is not the best time to go over the cost implication of training these children as no amount of investment in the education sector will be considered too much. We also need to face the fact that the traditional progressive solution to societal problems is to redouble emphasis on education.

This fact has made education an extremely valuable strategy for solving many of society’s ills. In an age where information has more economic value than ever before, it is obvious that education should have a higher national priority.

If we do not learn any lesson from Ewuru Education Incentive Programme Organizers, it simply means our youths/nation by extension, are faced with a bleak future. But then, one point to remember is that bringing a radical improvement or achieving sustainable development in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations is overwhelmingly urgent.

These teaming students are knowledge-hungry. What they innocently ask for is education delivered in an environment that works.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy) at the Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via [email protected]/08032725374

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