Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a non-governmental organization, has improved rural agricultural development and the livelihood of rural farmers with a disbursement of N3.1 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023.

In a statement, the Executive Director, Dr Honestus Ayobami Obadiora, said the funds were disbursed between January and March 2023 to 209,315 farmers across 303 branches nationwide through the LAPO Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative (LARDI).

According to Dr Obadiora, LAPO addresses challenges limiting farmers’ productivity and income such as the non-availability of inputs for improved farm yield and limited access to finance, adding that the organization is also engaged in the capacity development of rural farmers and business owners through on-farm demonstration, workshop and training programmes.

LAPO is strongly committed to the mandate of improving rural agricultural development, food security and the general living conditions of rural dwellers, particularly women-headed households and youths through flexible and affordable financial services, he said.

Employment generation: LAPO recruits 156 staff in Q1

In the same vein, the Lift Above Poverty Organization has contributed to employment generation in Nigeria with the employment of 156 staff members in Q1’ 2023.

The newly recruited staff members, which include nine Branch Managers, 141 Client Support Officers and Six Data Entry Staff, bring the total staff strength in the organization to 1,775 and over 10,000 across the LAPO Ecosystem.

In his congratulatory message, Dr Obadiora charged the new employees to imbibe the virtues of integrity, honesty and commitment to duty, which he said accounted largely for the exponential growth the organization had recorded over the years.

LAPO places top priority on staff career development and overall wellbeing; allocating resources and providing motivational incentives for better performance, he said.

He expressed worry about the staggering rate of unemployment in Nigeria, noting that more than 55.4 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 were unemployed and an additional 20 percent working below their skillset.

He, therefore, reaffirmed the commitment of LAPO to addressing the challenges of youth unemployment, restiveness and poverty in the country through job creation and business support services.

Combats cancer, sensitizes 10,511 community members

Furthermore, the non-governmental organization has restated its commitment to cancer prevention and control in Nigeria through the implementation of the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) project.

Over the years, the organization has been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges of malaria, maternal and child health issues, particularly in rural communities across the country.

During Q1’ 2023, LAPO created cancer mass awareness in target communities across the country, sensitized 10,511 community members on cancer, screened and referred 576 persons for further screening and treatment under the project in government-approved health facilities.

The Executive Director, who expressed concern that almost 102,000 new cases of cancer occur annually in Nigeria, traced the issues militating against cancer control in Nigeria to poor awareness and inadequate access to screening services.

He disclosed that 11,113 community members were enlightened between January and March 2023 with cancer Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials.