What does Otino Mean?
The word Otino, means children in the Lango language of Northern Uganda.
Who are the “Innocents”?
A term coined by Otino-International meaning “women and children”. As it is women and children who are so often the innocent victims of conflict and suffering the most in all facets of humanity from education, to water resources, housing and health issues .
Why was Otino founded?
Otino International was conceptualized in 2008 by Imat Akelo-Opio during her reign as Miss Uganda-USA. The advent of Otino came about when Imat decided to give back to her global community by deciding to set up a non-profit organization that would address women and children who are so often forgotten in post conflict nations.
The question of where to now prompted Imat to start Otino as a where to now?. For so many women and children suffer the plight globally on a daily basis of where to now? – where to now that I have returned to my ancestral land after the conflict- how do I get medicine when there is no hospital or clinic for 50 kilometres, how do I send my children to the doctor when they are ill, how can I get regular medical check-ups for my unborn child, all these questions and more stemmed into the vine that today is Otino. It was in attempt to answer these questions that Imat felt challenged to begin a non-profit specially geared for those Innocents who have returned back to their ancestral lands and have no access to medicine or medical facilities.
On a visit to Africa- Ethiopia and Uganda in 2009, Imat was challenged when she met with the Chief Officer at the United Nations Gender Equality and was educated on the risks and health issues associated with Innocents who had recently returned to their ancestral lands and had no access to medicine and medical consultants. Whereby women and children were subject higher mortality rates when giving birth, more likely to die of cureable diseases .Not to mention the greater scope of women and the girl child being subject to danger having to search for natural sanitary pads and being subject to sexual assault , cultural taboos with medical conditions that require medical attention. Infact health issues were linked with economic, education and even spiritual issues.
It was then at this time in 2009 that Team members Marn Ying Lum, Patriciah Opio and Olivia Lido came on board to see Otino established as an international Christian NGO serving the Innocents in post conflict nations. The vision was for Otino to serve Innocents on a global level and not just in one continent. To educate the developed world and bring awareness to this silent issue and to also bring the Love of God through Jesus Christ to the innocents. This was then to be achieved by the use of an outreach system- a mobile medical service that would also employee nurses, medical officers and doctors to further their skills and provide employment, whilst administering life saving medicines. In addition the saving of lives also was to include saving of souls whereby a Pastor or Minister was also to be part of the outreach programme. The idea was to have a generational impact and to also involve all spheres of humanity from governments to youth.
The Road from 2008
- 2008 – Conceptualization of a non-profit NGO
- 2009 – Official Otino Team is formed
- 2010 – Otino is registered in Australia as an official NGO and is recognized by ASIC (Australian Security and Investments Council)
- 2011 – Otino begins to move forward with the documentation for Registration in Uganda
- 2012 – Otino is registered in Northern Uganda
- 2013 – Otino secures partnership with Northern Ugandan District Health
- 2014 – Otino Immunization program commences in Northern Uganda