There are a lot of troubling things going on in our nation, and around the world right now. But it’s good to remind ourselves that for every horror, there’s a good person trying to change the world. Like Nigerian software developer, Oscar Ekponimo. Ekponimo is tackling hunger and poverty in the impoverished country with an app that he hopes will change the world.
The stats on both hunger and food waste are disconcerting. Even though 1 in 9 people in the world doesn’t having enough to eat, we’re still wasting over a third of the food produced in the world. And that’s a disconnect that Ekponimo knew he needed to solve. He takes the problem personally. Ekponimo knows what it’s like to be hungry, and he didn’t want anyone else to have to experience the pain and deprivation he went through.
With that in mind, Ekponimo created Chowberry — an app that seeks to provide nutritional food to families in need by using cloud technology while also reducing food waste.
The concept is relatively simple: Food retailers catalogue the products on their shelves with their expiration dates. Then, as their shelf life comes to an end, and food is in danger of going unsold and thrown out, the price of the item will drop, and continue to drop until sold. The food is then matched up with families in need or charitable organizations who are able to purchase the food for a fraction of the retail price. It’s a win-win. Ekponimo says it reduces retailer food waste by 80% while keeping them from taking a total loss, and, in the process, helps the hungry to get more access to food.
The results have been amazing. In 2016, Chowberry fed 150 orphans monthly, and 200 hundred households in impoverished communities. And all while reducing food waste. With these results, they hope to grow even more over the next few years. These numbers have Ekponimo hopeful that with expansion and time, the app will save a lot of lives all over the world. Nigeria, he says, is one of the harder places to help with hunger.
“So if a solution works here,” he says. “It can work anywhere in the world.”