Introducing the Chowberry App – A Software Designed by a young Nigerian to feed the poor

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Going hungry is a daily reality for an estimated 13 million Nigerians – but an enterprising software engineer is aiming to alleviate their suffering through a software service that redistributes food to people in need and reduces waste at the same time.

  • 13 million Estimated number of Nigerians who suffer daily hunger.
  • 70%Nigerians who survive on less than US$1.25 per day.
Oscar Ekponimo created the Chowberry App to help people enduring the plight of poverty

Oscar Ekponimo knows what it is like to go to school on an empty stomach. When he was 11 his father became severely ill and lost his job, and with it, the family income. “For the next three years we had little food in the house,” he recalls. “If we had one small meal at the end of the day, it was a good day.” This experience made him determined to prevent others enduring the same plight.

A software engineer in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Ekponimo developed the Chowberry app, which alerts retailers via scanned bar codes when packaged food is reaching its expiry date, enabling them to offer discounted items to low-income consumers or welfare agencies.

A successful three-month pilot involving 20 retailers reached about 300 people in Lagos and Abuja, feeding 150 orphans and vulnerable children.

I saw an opportunity to provide affordable nutrition to millions of people while providing retailers with a sustainable system for managing the end of shelf-life. This is a win-win solution.

Ekponimo is a 2016 laureate of the Rolex Awards. With his Rolex Award, Ekponimo will improve the software and scale up the project by adding more retail partners. “When I think of the millions of people who are food-deprived, counting on me to give them some relief, I am driven to make Chowberry a success,” he says.

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Five Ways to increase your Social Media Followership

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Increasing your social media followers is one of the best ways to be recognized on social media and maintain a strong social media presence. This can be very beneficial, especially to businesses that want to save some of their advertising budget, and use this means to create awareness for their products and services.

We share five ways that can help you increase your social media followers:

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1.FREQUENTLY POST GOOD CONTENT THAT RELATES TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

This goes without saying. Good content pulls in followers like a magnet. Develop and frequently post good, useful, interesting and engaging content which relates to your target audience and that your target audience can relate with. Good, useful and interesting content will trend or go viral more often than not, draw interest on social media and help to increase your fans and followers.

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2.BE INTERACTIVE

It’s not enough to just post good engaging content, you also have to interact with your followers and people that might just be ‘passing by’. Relate with them. Answer their questions. Make them feel important and heard. A good example of a Twitter handle that has recently had some success with this is the EFCC twitter handle. The person(s) managing the organization’s handle not only became more interactive with followers, but also added a hint of humor (an ‘entertainment value’) to these interactions. The result was increased recognition and a better social media presence.

Your approach does not have to emulate that of EFCC, especially if you consider your business or brand more conservative, but the idea of being interactive on your social media account is dynamic enough to be applied in any way that suits your business brand.

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3.FIND AND FOLLOW OTHERS (AND OFTEN FOLLOW BACK WHEN FOLLOWED)

You don’t have to wait for followers to come to you, go out and find some to follow. But, even this approach needs tact to be effective, if not you will end up following tons of people who won’t follow back. Therefore, a suggestion you can use is to follow and give those you follow time to follow you back. Some will and for those that don’t, you can unfollow and continue your search for more followers. Don’t forget to send a message of appreciation to those who follow you back and use that means to, in a nutshell, introduce them to your social media platform.

Same goes for you too. If you expect others to follow you back, a number of those who follow you expect you to follow back or will like for you to follow back. This doesn’t mean you have to follow every single person that follows you, but you can instead look through the profiles of those who follow you, see those you are interested in and follow. This way, you appear more often on the suggestions section of the social media pages and increase your visibility. Not to mention the fact that you can also get inspiration for content from the diversity of your social media followers, and also share some of their posts to help with content.

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4.OFFER DEALS, GIVEAWAYS OR PROMOS

There are very few people who will not jump at the offer of a nice and exclusive deal, or who will not like to participate for a chance to win a promo or giveaway. Doing this from time to time will get your target audience’s attention and, as a result, can help you get more followers.

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5.DON’T FORGET INFLUENCERS

Reach out to influencers on social media, that is people with a large social media following. Mention them in some of your posts that are related to them, attempt to build a relationship with them. This increases your chances of having your posts shared by these influencers to their followers, and also increases your chances of getting a few recommendations about your business or brand from them to their followers in some of their individual posts from time to time.

Top Four Solutions to Common Mobile Network Issues Faced In Nigeria

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Have you ever found yourself in a dire situation where you need to make a super urgent call but your phone network will just not connect …or it connects but you cannot hear the person, vice versa? Problems with mobile phone reception in Nigeria is quite recurrent, and while mobile networks are continuously spreading coverage and installing new phone masts to cope with the increasing demand, the frustrating dilemma does not seem to be letting up.

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Whereas poor signal strength could be your network carrier’s fault, there are many other reasons why you might be having phone signal issues, and thankfully there is a lot you can do to improve the cell phone reception by yourself.

We present four ways to optimize your chances of getting the best mobile phone signal possible:

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  1. Switch to 2G network

Most mobile phones produced in recent times come with the option of a 3G and 4G network. While these networks are designed to deliver high bandwidth to cellphones, they are easily limited as they are affected by distance between the transmission tower and the cellphone, the farther away you are from one, the weaker the signal is going to be. In situation where you are out of required range and the 3G/4G can no longer function properly, try switching your phone to a 2G network instead. The 2G may offer a lower bandwidth than the newer counterparts and so may be slower, but it has decent coverage in most places and is certainly much more reliable. An additional advantage of switching to 2G is that you have higher battery power; your battery will not drain quickly since 2G doesn’t require that much power.

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2. Try installing a cellular repeater

Also known as cell phone signal boosters, cellular repeaters are very good for addressing poor cell phone reception by amplifying a weak signal received via an external antenna and bypassing any obstructions to rebroadcast it over a given area through an internal antenna, providing a strong signal to an area that was originally lacking. Despite being a concrete solution for multiple users having signal problems and a common solution for urban settings, repeaters have been known to have some difficulties. Not only do they all need at least 2 bars of signal where the antenna is placed to function, some repeaters might need technical know-how such as the frequency of your carrier to set up and the device tends to be quite expensive.

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3. Contact Your Network Service Provider

If you are quite certain that your network issues are not consequent of certain signal blockades around your location or as a result of your position, you should definitely call your network service provider. As a paying subscriber, you have the right to let your provider know when their service is not working for you and request for solution to be provided. In Nigeria, this might not be as easy as it sounds. Most times a call can take hours as there is usually a long line of calls waiting. Alternatively, you could make contact via social media. Most network service providers have social media handles and the response via this medium is much quicker.

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4. Change your Network

If the network issue persists, the best option might just be to port to another network. Ensure you search for the best service in your range which also offers the best deals before making the switch. Almost every network provider in the country have their individual masts/towers and operate independent of one another using their own frequencies. There is a huge chance of improving your network by porting to an entirely new network. Good thing is that most networks allow you to keep your original phone number when you change provider.