On the eve of the first anniversary of Africa's first syndicated talk show - Moments with Mo, Inspire Africa, the motherbrand expressed a strong desire to do something meaningful and significant to commemorate the event.
During the year, Moments with Mo had been an active advocate for the voiceless in society, in particular women and children. The experience garnered provided an intimate view of the deprivation and suffering in society.
Thus, from the ethos of the talk show a humanitarian vehicle was birthed - the Inspire Africa Foundation - to tackle some of the social challenges discussed during the programme episodes. The anniversary provided an opportunity to deploy the resources of the Foundation to give back to society and inspire change in circumstances.
At about the same time, UNICEF, the international organisation for the protection of children's rights was partnering with the Lagos State Government on a pilot initiative tagged Lagos State - UNICEF Street Children's Project.
The project was initiated by UNICEF and was aimed at protecting and rehabilitating street children. As the objectives of the initiative closely aligned with our Foundation's social agenda, we approached UNICEF in Nigeria, who agreed to work with us. They subsequently contacted their head office in Geneva for the necessary approval.
UNICEF and Inspire Africa jointly sought the support of the Lagos State Government for a flagship initiative of the Inspire Africa Foundation - a benefit concert tagged “Rocking with a Conscience”.
We wish to state for the record that following due diligence by UNICEF's head office in Geneva, an MoU was signed between UNICEF and Inspire Africa Foundation in October, 2008 detailing the terms of the collaboration.
The MoU was signed with UNICEF, the project initiator and not the Lagos State Government, as has been posited by some media publications. This was because the terms of the project were initially agreed with UNICEF. The Lagos State Government played an invaluable role as key project partner.
The Inspire Africa Benefit Concert was just one of a series of initiatives undertaken by the Inspire Africa Foundation towards the above stated objectives. It provided a platform for our Foundation to meet the terms of its MoU agreement with UNICEF, and aided UNICEF's mandate of establishing and operating reception centres, for the prevention and protection of street children.
The Lagos State Government kindly lent institutional support and we believe this was based on a passion and commitment to the welfare and well-being of the children in the State.
Both UNICEF and Inspire Africa Foundation have clearly kept to the terms agreed in the MoU. UNICEF verified all financial and non-financial obligations following the benefit concert. The Inspire Africa Foundation donated to UNICEF the sum of N10,000,000 (about $60,000), which is double the amount pledged under the terms of the MoU.
Detailed accounts were forwarded to and acknowledged by both UNICEF and the Lagos State Government upon completion of the accounts reconciliation process by our Management Accountants, Nextzon Business Services. We are also in the process of engaging a reputable international accounting firm to further conduct an independent annual audit of the Foundation.
The next major project for the Inspire Africa Foundation is the establishment of a full-fledged refuge and home for street children, known as The Harbour. The Harbour will be a place where street children will not only be rehabilitated, but also learn and grow. The architectural drawing was undertaken by Moreno Group, a firm of Architects & Builders and the cost evaluation is ongoing.
We further state for the record that we were honored to give our time, commitment and heart to the Lagos State - UNICEF Street Children's Project. Inspire Africa Foundation freely contributed to the awareness of the Project by coordinating the creation of the Inspire Africa Theme Song, 'Let's go save a child', which was performed pro bono by top Nigerian artistes and which prompted many kind Nigerians to give.
The website, www.inspireafrica-foundation.org was made available as an awareness platform and a street children's documentary was researched and produced by the Foundation. An Inspire Africa telethon was also telecast by Moments with Mo.
We wish to thank UNICEF and the Lagos State Government for their unflinching support, commitment and charitable kindness towards our State's street children. We also thank our sponsors, members of the press and media partners who have been with us from inception till date.
Finally, we thank all well meaning individuals who have in one way or another continued to support our vision and our work. We will remain committed to the ideals of accountability and transparency in charitable giving.
Together we will continue to make a difference!
Inspire Africa Foundation