With 87 million Nigerians living on less than $1.90 a day (from the World Data Lab’s Poverty Clock), Nigeria is considered the poverty capital of the world. It is projected that this figure will rise by 30 million by 2030 and all before we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Lagos alone, the epicenter of the pandemic over 12 million struggle to feed their families daily.
Against this backdrop and in support of the efforts of both the Government and corporate entities the employees of Oando, popularly known as the #HumansOfOando have conceived an innovative solution, The Aggregator Platform (TAP), with the long term goal of ending hunger and alleviating poverty across the nation, one community at a time, through structured intervention.
The employees of Oando identified that despite the financial contributions and efforts made by the public and private sector as well as Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) in feeding the less
privileged there is still a huge gap between those who are in dire need and those who are eventually reached and fed. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it glaringly obvious to all that the poverty crisis cannot be solved by the Government alone. Despite the social palliative measures being implemented by the Government, food relief materials being provided by NGOs and financial contributions from private sector players it still doesn’t seem to be enough. For the
employees of Oando, COVID-19 brought home the realisation that every single individual who has the means, must play an active role in alleviating poverty in Nigeria. Through TAP, the #HumansOfOando aim to rally well-meaning individuals both locally and internationally as well as more corporates to make this a nationwide cause.
The first step in this journey is addressing the food problem in Lagos state. To this end TAP uses data gathered from NGOs, also called Implementing Partners to populate an interactive map that gives donors a bird’s eye view of different communities in the state and their feeding needs; it goes a step further by making it possible for a donor to select the specific community or communities they want their donationso to go to. As aggregator, TAP then disburses raised funds to the Implementing Partners while ensuring through monitoring and evaluation that the residents of these identified communities are fed accordingly.
TAP’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is that it is a single point of coordination for both potential donors and NGOs to realise the desired impact of reaching millions of Nigerians who are in desperate need of feeding. The ultimate success of TAP will be a combination of donations and a database of credible NGOs to successfully implement feeding programs in marginalised communities.
Since going live at the end of March the #HumansOfOando alongside other donors, through the TAP website taptoreachall.org have raised over N25 million and signed up nine NGOs including Lagos Food Bank, Project Ark, Child Protection Network, Grocedy, Lekki Food Bank and Abraham’s Tent to name a few, with an intent to sign one more NGO by May 22.
With funding from TAP, these 9 implementing partners will feed over 24,000 Lagosians across 16 of the most deprived communities over a one month period. As at Wednesday, May 20, 2020 about 21,000 people had already been fed with the balance 3,000 to be reached and fed by the end of May.
TAP has brought to the fore the fact that with as little as N350 you can feed one person for one day. The platform is encouraging well-meaning Nigerians to take on the challenge of ending hunger in the country by donating to the initiative, specifically to donate to feed one for a week, month or even a year. By reiterating how little it costs to feed one the #HumansOfOando hope that they will be able to encourage more individuals to not just give but to do so on a monthly basis and spread the word to their inner circle to do the same, creating a ripple effect of change.
Commending TAP during a food disbursement drive, Mrs. Okoro, the Lagos Coordinator of Child Protection Network (CPN) said; “The people are hungry so feeding them gives us joy and we are very grateful to the employees of Oando for supporting us. At CPN, we’ve been feeding people from the onset of the lockdown. We’ve been going to different places, soliciting for donations for food for the people. We started with cooked food which we distributed to people in Oshodi, Ojuelegba, Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa, Apapa, Somolu, Alimosho. So, we are grateful to the
#HumansOfOando for collaborating with us to enable us serve even more people.”
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Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, a member of one of the impacted communities, Edatomola Arowojolu, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the community to the employees of Oando, the TAP platform, those who had donated and CPN for the disbursement of food, for their kind gesture to the residents and lauded the impact of the exercise, which according to him, was a huge success.
Mrs. Adekemi Adeyeye, Executive Director, Finance and Administration for Huffped thanked TAP for the donations which has enabled them feed over 400 people in the Majiudn-Awori community, Ikorodu, Lagos. A benefactor of the food donation in Majidun-Awori community, Agbado Oluwatosin, also thanked TAP and Huffped on behalf of nursing mothers and pregnant women in the community, for coming to their aid.
Through TAP the #HumansOfOando have a fundraising target of N2.7 billion as the first phase of the deployment with an initial focus of feeding over 2 million individuals resident in Lagos; and this will very quickly be ramped up to all of Lagos and eventually the whole of country.
Explaining the dynamics of TAP in an interview with CNN’s Julia Chatterly, Dr. Ainojie Irune, Chief Operating Officer, Oando Energy Resources said; “The TAP platform allows donors to come onboard and identify what communities they want to help and open up the entire food needs space so that together we can close that gap. We are encouraging people to partner and donate so we can disperse the funds and through our Implementing Partners provide food to those that really need it.”
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Post Covid19: Global Leaders at UBA Africa Day Conversations Seek Economic Recovery
“What we need (for this crisis) is something unusual, it is not business as usual. It is not marginal action, it is radical action.” -Donald Kaberuka
Global leaders at the second edition of United Bank for Africa (UBA) African Day Conversations, have emphasised the need for meaningful collaborations between governments and the private sector as a panacea for the quick recovery of the economy of the African continent post-Covid-19.
The leaders which included the President of Liberia, H.E George Weah; United States Senator Chris Coons; the President & Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Professor Benedict Okey Oramah; President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer; President spoke on Monday at the virtual Leadership Panel which was moderated by the Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony Elumelu.
Other leading voices who made up the panel were the Founder, Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed; the Secretary-General of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), H.E George Chikoti; Administrator, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Achim Steiner and Donald Kaberuka.
While moderating, Elumelu, who is also the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, spoke on the need to mobilise everyone and explained the necessity to discover a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges through collaborative efforts.
“This is the time for us to deal with the situation we have and also forge a better situation for everyone, acting again collectively,” he said. “This is not the time for finger pointing but for collaborative effort by governments and organizations to fight the pandemic globally.”
Continuing, Elumelu pointed out that all hands must be on deck if the African continent is to have a quick recovery from the pandemic, adding “There is need to flatten the curve, we need global co-operation to stem global depression. Africa requires a large stimulus package, and we need long-term solutions to prevent a cycle of debt.”
In his submission, the Liberian President, George Weah, established how collaborations worked in his government in an attempt to stem the sufferings brought about the coronavirus pandemic.
“In Liberia we have taken measures to ease the financial burden on vulnerable business in the informal sector by providing small loan assistance to SMEs and traders. In addition, we are working with commercial banks to manage the repayment of loans as well as to create stimulus packages for citizens.”
On his part, US, Senator Chris Coons, said, “It is important to take a moment to look at how African leaders have reacted to the pandemic. In order for us to recover from this pandemic, we must develop a vaccine that is free and affordable and freely distributed so that full economic activities can return. There are ways we can invest in debt relief, invest in infrastructure, and human development. This is no time to be looking backwards. We recognise the power of collective collaboration on the continent.”
While pointing out that the pandemic poses an opportunity for Africa to be independent and promote its growth and development as a people without external help; Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, on his part, said COVID 19 has taught Africa that there comes a time when every group of people will fend for themselves.
He called for the swift implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, adding, “The priority of government should be to make sure that the AfCFTA gets implemented without delay. If there was any doubt about the importance of that agreement, this pandemic has told us that this is the way to go.”
Continuing, Oramah said, “The pandemic has shown so many weaknesses we have across our continent. We know that hunger is looming if we do not do anything. If we allow hunger to take over from the COVID 19 pandemic, we will begin to see political problems filling in. For Africa the problems go beyond health challenges to other areas such as food supply. Hunger is looming and if action is not taken, Africa will see political problem. Africa has become the epicenter of the economic devastation that this pandemic has unleashed upon us.”
While disclosing that Afrexim has made available $200million to supply fertilizers and grains amongst others across Africa, the Afrexim boss added that “If Africa allows hunger takeover the people, it will see an increase in insecurity, which will take a long time to overcome.”
George Chikoti of ACP, said that the huge task of economic recovery on the continent, rests on both the government and the private sector. “The responsibility of COVID-19 does not rest on the government alone, the private sector needs to play a big role in lifting the burden of the pandemic. African governments need to accept the support of the Private Sector in alleviating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa,” he said.
“We have been able to release $25m to all member states. One of the major challenges is to make sure that in all countries, we have agricultural activity and high productivity. What we should learn from the impact of this pandemic is that the international community can look at how well they can fund all these initiatives that come from our countries,” Chikoti added.
Achim Steiner of the UNDP noted that Digital connectivity is very essential as it is a crucial opportunity to connect all schools across the continent, adding that emphasis on Healthcare is also very important. “Digital connectivity is very crucial to connect schools to the internet. We need to address inequality; also, the virus has put a spotlight on Africa’s healthcare system. Africa needs to look at intermediate strategies like micro-insurance to ramp up this sector. Healthcare has the ability to make a large percentage of the occupation fall into extreme poverty.
“What we need to look at is to find a way for government as a regulator and also as an investor, to leverage private sector investment into these areas” Steiner said.
Peter Maurer, President, ICRC, said there is the need to look at pandemics as part of a broader health system which needs stabilisation; A lot of vulnerable populations in Africa have been heavily infected by the pandemic. “We must do more than life-saving. This pandemic has illustrated the weakness of health, water, sanitation, and social systems, and we have to heavily invest into the stabilization of these systems.
Throwing more light on this, Maurer said, “Two things need to follow after live saving during the pandemic. First, the pandemic has illustrated the weak situation of health, water and food systems and we need to heavily invest both by the public and private sectors to stabilize the health sector. Secondly, investment has always gone into the more developed parts of Africa and not the fragile parts. We need Private Public Partnerships and investments by multi-corporate institutions to develop these areas” he noted.
Amir Yahmed said the crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends. “We have to get away from the commodity driven model which has failed in creating prosperity. Secondly, self-reliance should be one of the major objectives. The pandemic is wake up call for Africa – Creating new streams of revenue and self-reliance by the African continent.
“We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. This crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends. I think it has to be a wake-up call for us to attain goals we haven’t reached. Create new revenues for the economy. We also need to attain self-reliance. Self reliance is an important goal. Africa manufactures [only] 2% of what it produces. We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. Invest in digital infrastructure, digital education, agriculture is another opportunity we need to grab. We need to get the AFCTA working,” Yamed said.
Donald Kaberuka on his part opined that “What we need (for this crisis) is something unusual, it is not business as usual. It is not marginal action, it is radical action.”