Nigerian Tech Innovators Establish COVID-19 Crowdfunded Donation Platform

Sourced from RFI

A group of tech innovators have created a crowdfunding platform to receive and distribute relief funds to financially distressed Nigerians.

We Are Together is a crowdfunded COVID-19 relief fund for the country. The website was set up in response to the socio-economic distress many Nigerians face as a result of the global pandemic and the efforts to control it.

Calling themselves Better Angels, the group of technopreneurs includes savants from Paystack, Hygeia HMO, Zedvance, Accounteer, Future Africa, Hotels.ng, Zrosk, and Bento.

“We are leveraging the power of networks to crowdsource a fiscal stimulus for Nigeria,” the group writes.

The group’s newly created crowdfunding platform accepts donations from donors and redistributes them directly to people in crucial financial need. Nigerians in financial distress can apply to receive ₦10,000 ($25.67) and can re-apply every three weeks.

With a decision engine based on “a mix of sociology, economics, psychology, conflict theory and our understanding of the current situation,” the group hopes that those who are really struggling will benefit the most.

Using applicants’ Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and bank account numbers, the platform is able to determine who is eligible for the fund within seconds and disburse funds.

Funds are disbursed between Mondays and Fridays and it is announced on social media. It will keep distributing funds until December 2020.

Within the first few days of its launch, Better Angels has raised more than $24,000 (₦9.6-million) from 100 donations and has so far disbursed $21,800 (₦8.5-million) to over 840 applicants. An audit log also shows who the donors are and how much they donated.

“We are not angels,” Better Angels says in a statement on their website. “We are like you – men and women looking at the world, aghast, shell shocked and wondering how an unseen enemy has been able to turn the entire world upside down.”

Nigeria on the Brink

Tech Cabal notes that, like many nations around the world, COVID-19 has taken a steep toll on the Nigerian economy. Already struggling from the low oil prices, the pandemic is spreading gradually in the country forcing the government to lockdown major parts of the country.

Millions of Nigerians survive on their daily income, but as lockdowns force people away from their work – taking away their social or economic safety nets – millions have been pushed into financial distress.

“What we are experiencing is a massive exogenous shock to several of our systems – our healthcare system, our economic system, and of course, to our psyches,” says Better Angels.

“What if we can crowdfund a fiscal stimulus because it is in our collective interest to do so?” the group asks.

“Those who have some will give to those who do not have a lot in order to stem mass civil unrest and keep the economic engine churning.”

Edited by Luis Monzon

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