Hunger is still a large-scale problem in Nigeria. According to the World Food Programme, Nigeria is a ‘food deficit’ country, which means that its food production does not meet the demands of the country’s populace.
Reports from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization tell that about 223 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry or undernourished in 2014-2016, making them the second hungriest people in the world.
While poverty, inflation, and insecurity remain to be the key factors which cause Nigeria’s hunger problem, there is an engineering solution that helps in feeding the hungry. And it’s a smartphone app.
Source: Rolex Award
Software engineer Oscar Ekponimo developed a web app called Chowberry, which essentially connects supermarkets to NGOs ad low-income earners and allow them to buy goods and products that is about to expire at a discount.
It had a pilot run for three months which involved 20 retailers who were able to feed 300 people including 150 orphans in Lagos and Abuja. Needless to say that from the short time since it was launched, the results were already remarkable.
“We met one lady who has six children and survives on 400 naira ($1.05) a day,” Oscar said. “She sells firewood and kunu (a local drink). One day the task force seized her kunu for hawking in the street, and she had nothing. She had to feed her family on what she made. So it’s nice to see the impact of what we’re doing.”
But to deliver more products and to reach more people, Oscar is tapping many national retailers to join the app and help solve the growing hunger problem in Nigeria.
“We went from about 1,500 daily visits to double that. There have been requests and demand, people tell me we really want this, we’re relying on what you guys are doing because things are expensive,” he said.
Apart from that, Oscar plans to expand their work and scale to other parts and regions in the country, possibly in other nations, to contribute in feeding the poor and marginalized through the Chowberry app.
Oscar has already been bestowed with a Rolex Award for Enterprise for his work.