The Aggregator Platform (TAP), an innovative solution conceived by Oando employees (#HumansOfOando) on April 27, 2020, to reduce hunger and poverty in Nigeria through structured intervention, celebrated its first anniversary of tirelessly feeding the most vulnerable of the society for the past year.
Through TAP, the #HumansOfOando rally well-meaning individuals both locally and internationally as well as more corporates to make ending hunger a nationwide cause through monetary donations and donations-in-kind. Since going live in April 2020, TAP has raised over 40.4 million naira (NGN) in addition to 2.8 million naira (NGN) worth of donations-in-kind. These donations have been instrumental in feeding 6,665 households, translating to 33,325 individuals in 28 communities across Lagos.
TAP connects donors with boots on the ground, specifically using a network of selected NGOs and charities to reach communities, starting in Lagos state and other parts of Nigeria eventually. To date, TAP has partnered with 11 NGOs (Implementing Partners) including Lagos Food Bank, Project Ark, Child Protection Network, Grocedy, Lekki Food Bank, Abraham’s Tent, J Akin, Siddiqah, RAK Foundation, to name a few.
To commemorate the anniversary, TAP had a week of celebratory activities. To kickoff, all donors and Implementing Partners received a congratulatory and personalized card informing them of how many households they have fed through their donations in the past year. In addition, donors made congratulatory videos that were published on TAP’s social media handles.
In her congratulatory message to TAP, Abisola Otulayo, a TAP donor and #HumanOfOando, explained why she donates to the initiative. She said, “There’s more joy in giving than in receiving. It’s given me so much fulfillment knowing that I’ve fed families through my monthly donations. Thank you TAP for giving us the opportunity to give back.”
Demola Ogunbanjo, GM Business Support Group, Oando Energy Resources, in his congratulatory message said; “It’s such an honour and privilege to have been part of TAP over the past one year, the good that we have done and the fact that we are on the giving end not the receiving end of something as basic as food is commendable. It’s a fundamental human need and there are does amongst us who can’t feed. We have taken on the challenge; we have impacted positively the lived of very many people and will continue to do so. I celebrate the humans of Oando for this platform.”
As part of the celebration, TAP’s website, https://www.taptoreachall.org/, also got revamped with new features. The new website features a reel on the homepage themed, ‘Stories From The Field’, where TAP beneficiaries in various communities shared their stories of hardship and what the TAP food intervention meant to them.
Speaking on hardship and how the food intervention saved her from impending hunger, Mrs. Iraboh, a petty trader, said: “The Nigerian economy is the toughest I have ever experienced it. The price inflation on everything and high cost of living is making everyone reconsider what is worth spending money on. If you add the effects of the pandemic into that mix, most people – including me, are left with almost nothing. I am no longer selling up to half of the volume I used to. It’s quite disheartening to say the least. I thank TAP for the timely intervention that came during the lockdown.”
In appreciation of his food relief, a TAP benefactor in Jakande community, Lagos, Mr. Ganiyu Adewale Adekunle explained what the intervention meant to him. He said: “The Covid-19 pandemic impacted my sand and granite supply business badly because most of my clients suspended their building projects. When the lockdown was finally lifted, a lot of construction works were suspended due to inflated prices of building materials. It was very frustrating to watch my livelihood disappear, and it became a struggle to feed my family. But for the timely intervention of TAP with food boxes, I don’t know what would have become of some of us who couldn’t afford to feed. I want to thank TAP, Abraham Tent Church, and their partners for supporting the community. It helped a lot of families survive, especially those who had lost their jobs in 2020.”
Donors also got a chance to visit TAP beneficiaries’ communities to meet some benefactors. Speaking on her experience during the community visit, Alero Balogun, Head Corporate Communications, had this to say: “The one thing that the people in the community all exhibited was humility and contentment – would they like more? Of course, but it was not a burning desire or even a passing thought. They spoke of the cards life had dealt them in a matter-of-fact way; despite all the bad, they continued to remain optimistic, speaking to each time God had stepped in to cover them. Getting a food box from TAP was for them God working as always in their lives.”
To end the celebration, the #HumansOfOando got a chance to hear from one of the Implementing Partners, Lekki Food Bank, as part of the celebratory activities. A virtual lunch session between the #HumansOfOando and the Co-Founders of Lekki Food Bank; Banky Wellington (Banky W), and Taiwo Otitiogu was held. In the session, Banky W explained the pandemic and its associated effect of increasing hunger inspired him to start the Lekki Food Bank with like-minded people. Speaking on why we need to play a part in ending the hunger pandemic by donating to TAP or the Lekki Food Bank he said, “As long as there’s poverty in the land, there will always be hunger. We cannot continue to remain numb about the things around us. We must do what we can in our circle of influence to make a change and impact lives”.
Like the Lekki Food Bank, TAP was precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as increasing poverty rate in the country. The initiative which set out as a short-term intervention to feed the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic, is a now a long-term intervention with a focus on supporting the realization of SDG2: Zero Hunger. The #HumansOfOando identified that despite the financial contributions and efforts made by the public and private sector and Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) in feeding the less privileged, there is still a huge gap between those in dire need and those who are eventually reached and fed. The COVID-19 pandemic made it glaringly apparent to all that the poverty crisis cannot be solved by the Government alone. For the #HumansOfOando, COVID-19 brought home the realisation that every single individual who has the means must play an active role in alleviating poverty in Nigeria.
Nigeria is considered the world’s poverty capital, with over 83 million of the populace living below the poverty line, on less than $1.90 a day (from the World Data Lab’s Poverty Clock). Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, it was projected that this figure will rise by 30 million by 2030. In addition, the country is the largest contributor to multidimensional poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, the region experiencing the highest levels of deprivation in multidimensional poverty (according to the World Bank’s Multidimensional Poverty Measure).
These alarming statistics made it apparent to the #HumansOfOando that an investment in food security would help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and be key to releasing the brakes on economic development in Nigeria and other African countries. Stronger economies mean more vibrant markets and less need for artificial supports and emergency interventions like food.
Today, TAP has evolved its approach to tackling hunger through its Feed, Empower and Uplift approach. This process ensures a portion of the individuals who benefit from the feeding program learn a skill that will enable them to start to provide for themselves and their families, thus positively impacting people’s lives and the economy in the long term.
TAP has brought to the fore the fact that with as little as N6,000 you can feed one family for a week. The platform encourages well-meaning Nigerians to take on the challenge of ending hunger in the country by donating to feed at least one family for a week, month or even a year.
By reiterating how little it costs to feed one family, the #HumansOfOando hope that they will be able to encourage more individuals not just to give but to do so every month. They also hope that donors will spread the word to their inner circle to do the same, creating a ripple effect of change.