United Nations Summit Award Congress 2021 has honoured two Nigeria innovations for outstanding performances, TechEconomy.ng can report.
The WSA is a unique awards system, selecting and promoting local digital innovation to improve society.
Combining an ongoing series of international events and activities with a global network of start-ups, social entrepreneurs, mentors, jurors, speakers, experts, government leaders, academia and civil society, WSA is an international platform for cutting edge examples of how ICTs can impact society in a positive way.
WSA was initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS).
It contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda by recognizing local digital content with an impact on society, demonstrating the richness and diversity of innovative applications
Meanwhile, the United Nations World Summit Awards eminent national expert for Nigeria, Emmanuel Amos, and Chief Software Architect/CEO, Programos Software Group, powering Innovationbed Africa, released details on the current WSA 2020 winners from Nigeria being honoured this year at the WSA winners’ congress 2021 beginning March 22nd to 24th virtually for the first time in 17 years owing to the covid-19 pandemic.
Amos, while congratulating the two winners from Nigeria, also sends congratulatory messages to all the 40 product winners from 26 countries.
Winners are slated to pitch their awarded innovations to the public and in front of an international jury of national experts from more than 180 countries during the congress.
1. United Nations Summit Award 2020 (WSA) WINNER – Business and Commerce category
Nigeria’s win Juni (formerly Pngme) presented by Adeola Olasewere came along with Portugal, Chile, Germany, and China under the Business and Commerce category.
Juni (formally Pngme) the unified financial data API for 3 Billion + People. Juni believes that everyone deserves equal access to finance.
The platform goes beyond open banking to aggregate, structure, and label traditional and alternative financial data to make it accessible and actionable – creating financial data infrastructure for the next wave of financial institutions serving 3+bn underserved people.
The platform enables one-click data sharing, turning over 4 million data points into real time insights powered by machine learning. Juni gives financial institutions a way to understand an individual’s unified financial data profile so they can better serve their customers and reach previously underserved customer segments.
With over 17 years of consulting experience focused on strategy, innovation and transformation spanning various industries including Telecoms and Banking. Adeola is responsible for driving Juni’s strategic growth priorities and supports critical efforts aligned to growth in Africa.
2. WSYA 2020 WINNER: The junior category of producers younger than 26 years.
NATAL CARE: Protecting the lives of pregnant women and future children where one in 22 pregnancies leads to death
In the United Nations Summit Award (WSA) Young Innovators category, Nigeria’s NATAL CARES by Uche Kenneth Udekwe will pitch alongside:
- Arbor – World’s First Consumer Facing Social Impact Platform, Canada
- ConnectHear, Pakistan
- Future LabY, Syrian Arab Republic
- DOC Tracker, USA
Nigeria, the richest country in Africa, is also the second country with the highest maternal and child mortality rate in the world.
As deaths in childbirth became an endemic scourge in the country, Uche Kenneth Udekwe decided to create Natal Cares in 2017: This social enterprise is harnessing the power of mobile technology and low-cost innovation to combat this problem which affects the entire African continent.
The death of her sister-in-law during her childbirth was the trigger for Uche Kenneth Udekwe. After this tragic event, she felt the need to understand the reasons, documented the subject and noted that the risk for a Nigerian woman of dying during her pregnancy is, according to the WHO, 1 in 22 against 1 in 4,900. in developed countries.
A figure which, according to Uche, results from ” three major reasons: an inefficient health system, a lack of public health information which makes Nigerian women vulnerable to superstitions and several dangerous practices during childbirth perpetuated by untrained caregivers ” .
To face these difficulties, Natal Cares offers a global solution, which fills the information gap of Nigerian women while providing them with the necessary material for their health and that of their child.
The company manages an automatic messaging system that sends pregnant and breastfeeding women weekly messages accessible on basic telephones by SMS or USSD, in 6 different languages: English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, pidgin and French.
“These personalized weekly texts remind expectant mothers of pregnancy follow-ups, clinical reminders, child growth and nutrition, breastfeeding, vaccination reminders, symptoms of common childhood illnesses, etc.”.
To combat the risks of childbirth, Natal Care provides a Comprehensive Delivery Kit that contains essential materials for the birth of the child such as a mucus extractor, cotton wool and maternal towels. Natal Cares also trains traditional birth attendants and local midwives in the latest delivery methods and techniques in rural health centers.
Uche Kenneth Udekwe wanted to make Natal Cares a socially inclusive company, hence the low price of their birthing kits and the priority given to the accessibility of their services and products.
Women can register and order their kit online for delivery, but the company can also meet them directly through rural health centers.
It is sometimes not easy for these young women to buy their kit despite its modest price of 2500 NGN (Nigerian Naira) or around 6 dollars.
To simplify the purchase of the kit, “ we have set up a Natal Care savings program: we have divided the price of the kit into 9 so that pregnant women only have to pay 259 NGN (less than one dollar) per month and can finalize the transaction as the due date approaches ” .
However, the company managed to achieve profitability through the retail sale of this delivery kit and the service charges of its courier system. And the result is there for the founder of Natal Care: “Since the creation of the company, we have had very positive testimonials from mothers who have been able to give birth in the healthiest possible conditions. We have provided more than 14,000 delivery kits to date and hope to have saved as many mothers and babies”.
On the front line since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Natal Cares has been particularly involved with rural communities to help them better fight the virus. The past experience of fighting against superstitions related to childbirth has enabled them in particular to identify the same problem vis-à-vis Covid-19, little known to populations who do not respect health measures. This is where Natal Care came in: “We used the same principle as for our delivery kit and simply changed the list of supplies to turn them into a Covid kit! “ Uche Kenneth Udekwe confides. Childbirth kits converted to Natal Care COVID-19 prevention kits provided hydroalcoholic gel, masks, gloves, disinfectant and other suitable products to more than 100 beneficiaries in 9 communities of Akure (Ondo State).
Uche Kenneth Udekwe’s company has thus been able to show its maturity and its ability to adapt in a hostile economic context, while Natal Care’s ambitions do not end there. The startup is now developing a smartphone application that will be released in the second half of 2021 and would eventually like to expand internationally: “Our goal is to raise awareness among the 15 million pregnant women in Nigeria and the many other women who do not have access. to good childbirth conditions across the continent. That is why we are currently working with organizations and individuals who are ready to partner with foreign users or who wish to franchise us in other countries. And we are always looking for more partners! “
As the United Nations Summit Award (WSA) national expert for Nigeria, Amos Emmanuel says he is fulfilled after 10 years of volunteerism to have devised and sustained quality TechScouting process and a balanced democratic National PRE-SELECTION jury exercise for the country. Below we acknowledge the National Preselection Committee that rated products submitted for WSA 2020 which is made up of past WSA heroes and industry stakeholders.
Nigeria has been winning year in year out and we have remained indelibly prominent on the World Innovation Map, with room to do more and better in future.
He says: “Our societies are facing enormous economic crises especially more pronounced just as covid crept in. In the middle of the problems we found out that there exist unfolding opportunities for which if the citizens are empowered by relevant UpSkilling can focus on the new prosperity paths, so we intensified have efforts on the adoption of our 5-pronged Innovationbed Framework of interventions for social life changes among youths whose responsibility it is to begin to assist present leaderships of their regions steer the ships of the economic sectors in expected digital transformation fashions. #SVC4NIGERIA
Programos Foundation who in partnership with the Lead consultant at UN ICT4SIDS‘ SPACE4ICT initiative, and Director of ICT Programs, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Prof Umar Amjad, is currently administering an expanded free-tuition Innovationbed Graduate Trainee Programme on Smart Virtual Cities and Connected Communities (Innovation development) #SVC4NIGERIA among youths between 20 and 35 years who may have graduated from any course of discipline from the 36 states and FCT Abuja.
This programme which has impacted 10 states in cohort (1) through nominations by State tertiary institutions and Ministries of Science, Technology, and Innovation of the following regions in Nigeria: FCT, Akwaibom, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Gombe, Kano, Ogun, Katsina and Taraba, are a set of Innovationbed Digital Ecosystem research pilots by Programos in Nigeria, which is intended for scaling under the UN ICT4SIDS initiative to other developing countries and small islands.
Let’s catch them young.
Small children are now engaging in innovative use of tech devices and should be promoted everywhere within and beyond education for early self discovery.
National experts corner at congress:
United Nations Summit Award (WSA) winners’ congress gives the national experts the opportunity to better appreciate one another’s efforts as well as share quality thoughts on best e-content innovations from around the globe.
The joy of winning innovation laurels:
Amos who continuously advocates the promotion of creative platforms such as endorsing the tenets of United Nations World Summit Awards for the development of our youths by regional governments, educational institutions etc all solicits supports of all and sundry to continuously expand and raise the bar, joins many to note that this edition of the WSA Winners Congress 2021 will be the most inclusive as no visas, no transits, no trips, or quarantine requirements will be involved, giving that we all glue to virtual screens to pitch, celebrate, advance the course of fulfilling the promise of the digital age, ultimately defeating COVID-19.
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