The MacArthur Foundation is a large foundation that aims to provide permanent solutions to some of the world’s largest issues. This includes, but is not limited to, combatting disease, epidemics, climate changes and nuclear risk. One of the eight projects shortlisted to receive a $100 million grant from the foundation is “Eliminating River Blindness in Nigeria.”
Here at IGo, we are very excited at the prospect of a program that will help combat preventable blindness in children. As the home country of our founder Adey Jaiyeoba, this country and its children has a special place in our heart. This grant would mean a brighter future for the Nigerian people and children that are impoverished, without opportunity to better their lives due to blindness and disease.
River blindness is one of the most common health issues in rural communities around Nigeria. Approximately 40% of people suffering from river blindness live in Nigeria. This disease, also known as onchoceriasis, is caused by a parasitic worm which is transmitted through biting fleas. These flies live near bodies of water, hence the name, and can only be prevented through insect repellent or proper clothing.
If the grant is awarded to “Eliminating River Blindness in Nigeria,” the funds will be used to increase awareness and free medications. The goal is to stop transmission of the disease when people make contact with the water and to stop the fleas from spreading the worms.
As we use the fund of our sales to provide eye exams and/or prescription glasses to children in Sub-Saharan countries, we see immense promise in the impact this grant would have to the livelihood of the Nigerian people. We are keeping our fingers crossed!
We also wanted to mention another project shortlisted for the grant is the “Himalayan Cataract Project” which targets preventable blindness caused by cataracts in Nepal, Ethiopia and Ghana. This initiative would focus on training community health providers to empower local communities to perform the surgeries necessary to eliminate cataracts. Again, it is very exciting to see how grant could make a huge impact on eradicating health and economic concerns within the Sub-Sharan region. We are looking forward to seeing which proposal the MacArthur Foundation selects as the winner.