This month we speak to Afolayan Oluwole Gabriel, Co-Founder of Christian Medical Scientists and Basic Health Foundation (CMESBAHF) – one of our newest members from Nigeria.
Welcome to JLI Afolayan! Can you tell us about CMESBAHF?
CMESBAHF is a faith-based non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, that started its journey as a student group for Christian medical scientists. Over the years it has evolved, and in 2017 we became an incorporated trustee organisation. Our members include undergraduates, graduate students and professionals in health and life science sectors – including clinicians, researchers and academics.
Our goal is to promote Christian values among biomedical scientists, and to contribute to socio-economic development in Nigeria. We engage with both undergraduate and graduate students, and have centres in nine universities across Nigeria – and are still growing.
Our work cuts across several of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 3 (promoting health and wellbeing), Goal 4 (quality education) and Goal 9 (improving infrastructure). We focus on public health research to provide evidence for decision-makers. We also have two major programmes: first, the Health Innovation Immersion Programme (HIIPRO), which works with clinicians to improve technologies in the medical field; second, the Graduate Employability Programme (GEPRO), which tries to attach graduate members to medical science institutions (including private, governmental, or other) for the purpose of building their experience and employability.
Finally, we are working towards the construction of the Eden Biomedical Park Facility. We envision this facility to provide a space for interdisciplinary research, looking at medical devices, pharmaceutical products and therapeutics.
What role do you think faith actors should play in issues of social justice, human rights and community resilience?
Faith actors and faith values play a very important role. If you flip through the pages of the Bible, you will see the commandments to treat others as you wish to be treated, to do to others as you want them to do to you. These are fundamental teachings. Religious leaders already have such influence over their people. As a Christian leader, you have access to your community, and they believe you. If religious leaders are able to use that influence to educate their members on values of social justice, equality, and community resilience, it will go a long way. That is why it is so important for us to provide religious leaders with the information they need to educate their communities.
Why did you decide to join JLI as a member? How would you like us to support you in your work?
I’m very interested in what sort of contribution and impact faith activities can have on society – beyond religious activities. I came across JLI while reading an article, and was attracted to the ideals of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Hub. I’m a Monitoring & Evaluation expert, with a keen interest in helping faith-based organisations track and document evidence of change in people’s life, as well as the impact of their work on social transformation.
I was interested in reaching out to colleagues from similar organisations, and seeing how they measure and communicate the value of their work.
If JLI has the capacity to support our work, we would like to benefit. And if we have the opportunity for collaboration in future, we can bring in our local knowledge. So we can learn, and at the same time provide our experience.
Learn more about CMESBAHF on their website.
Become a member of the JLI MEAL Hub here.