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Community Help Launches on Facebook Lite

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Facebook announced that Community Help is launching on Facebook Lite in more than 100 countries, making it easier for people in areas with low connectivity to find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation after a crisis.

 

Community Help is a part of Crisis Response on Facebook where people come to let friends and family know they’re safe, learn and share more about what’s happening and help communities recover.

 

In many areas around the world, networks can be slow and unreliable. This can be even more challenging after a crisis, when communication is critical.

 

Facebook Lite is designed for people to access Facebook in areas with low connectivity or limited internet, and it is being used by people in more than 100 countries and 55 languages.

 

The software uses less data, installs fast, loads quickly and works on lower-end devices and slower networks.

 

Jeong-Suh Choi, Facebook Crisis Response Product Manager said: “Our priority is to build tools that provide people with ways to get the help they need to recover and rebuild after a crisis. By making Community Help available on Facebook Lite, even more people can get the help they need in times of crisis.”

 

Earlier this year Facebook launched Safety Check on Facebook Lite to provide an easier way for people in areas with low connectivity to let friends and family know they are safe following a crisis.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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FG to Enforce Mandatory Use of National IDs from January 2019

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The Federal Government said it is enforcing the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN) beginning from January 1, 2019, according to Aliyu Abubakar, director-general of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

 

Abubakar said the mandatory usage of the identification number was sequel to Federal Executive Council (FEC’s) approval last week of the immediate commencement of the implementation of a strategic roadmap for a new Digital Identity Ecosystem.

 

FEC at its meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari last week approved the new identity ecosystem strategy for the enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB), the statement said.

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‘’The FEC’s approval of the new Digital Identity Ecosystem will bring into full force the implementation of the provisions of the NIMC Act 23, 2007, which include the enforcement of the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN) and the application of appropriate sanctions and penalties on defaulters as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act’’, Abubakar added.

 

Speaking on the strategic roadmap for a new Digital Identity Ecosystem for Nigeria, NIMC boss explained that the step falls in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to reposition the country as a leader in the global economy.

 

Speaking further, he said Section 27 of the NIMC Act empowers the Commission to set a date for the enforcement of the use of the NIN for transactions listed in the Act and also to expand applicable transaction in a Regulation approved by the Attorney General of the Federation.

 

Abubakar said “the Commission shall from 1st January 2019 commence full enforcement of the mandatory use of the NIN and apply all applicable sanctions and penalties as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act against defaulters.”

 

He also said the cut-off date for data eligible for harmonisation with the National Identity Database (NIDB) is 1st of December 2018.

 

“This means only data captured as at 30th November 2018 will be subjected to harmonisation as is currently on-going.

 

“Fresh data capture of persons shall be in compliance with the Provisions set out in the Nigeria Biometric Standards; Mandatory use of the NIN Regulations 2017 and guidelines issued by the Commission.

 

“That is to say the capturing agency must request and verify the NIN before taking secondary demographic data of the person and where the person does not have a NIN, register such person (where it is licensed to do so) or refer such person to a NIN registration centre.

 

“Only licensed public or private agencies shall capture and transmit biometric to the NIDB.

 

“Only the NIMC, Nigeria Police Force and other related security agencies shall store biometric data’’, Abubakar stated

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Nigeria Gets Chowberry App to Reduces Food Waste

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Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian software developer

Chowberry, an App has been launched through which Nigerians can identify food that is close to its expiration date at nearby grocery stores.

 

They can purchase this food for a reduced price and distribute it to people who might otherwise not get enough to eat.

 

Chowberry is also aimed at combating hunger and food waste in Nigeria.

 

The app was invented by Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian software developer who partnered with the programme Project FoodAccess to connect impoverished Nigerians and non-governmental organizations with cheap food.

 

Chowberry works through several steps. The first step involves local grocery stores. As the store’s food products near their expiration dates, the stores begins reducing the food prices each day. The app alerts Nigerians and food organizations about the lowered food prices.

 

Project FoodAccess specifically matches the food with families they register need it the most. These include families with young mothers and female breadwinners.

 

Chowberry helps to alleviate the problem of hunger, which affects Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular.

 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 223 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry or malnourished from 2014 to 2016. Nigeria itself has been declared unable to feed its entire population by the World Food Programme.

 

Ekponimo himself has a personal experience with hunger. After his father had a stroke and could not work, his family could not afford to feed themselves. Chowberry has given Ekponimo the opportunity to help others going through similar situations.

 

The app has had a significant impact within different areas in Nigeria. The three-month trial run has fed 200 families and 150 orphans. Many Nigerians have requested that the program expand to more communities.

 

Chowberry also has assisted the 20 participating grocery stores. Food that would have been thrown out before now gets sold to families in need at a profit to the store. The helpful software has gained international recognition as well, winning the Rolex Award of Enterprise in 2016.

 

Ekponimo hopes that he can expand Chowberry to feed the hungry in other African countries. With continued innovation from people like Ekponimo, technology like Chowberry could be used to help put an end to hunger in Africa and around the globe.

 

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IGF Seeks Women Participation in Internet Governance for Development

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Mrs Mary Uduma, the Chairperson, Internet Governance Forum (IGF) says active participation of women in the internet process is key to the development of any nation.

Uduma made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the first Women Internet Governance Forum in Nigeria organised by the Centre for Information and Technology Development (CITAD).

The programme is supported by Association for Progressive Communication (APC).

She said that inclusiveness of women and acquisition of the knowledge of the Internet was key to their development.

“And these are the things the forum wants the women to be part of in the internet governance process.’’

She said that to bridge the gap, the forum drew up women focus programmes to enable them express themselves, participate fully and voice up their opinions.

“The essence of this meeting is for capacity building and for bringing information to the women and showing them the areas they have right and authority to speak out.

“And for them to participate in the development process, the internet is the platform as this is the enabler for everybody to be inclusive.

“This programme is the first step of involving women in internet governance.

“We have brought women together, spoken to them, stimulated them and educated them to know they have a platform to voice out their minds,’’ she said.

Prof. Amina Kaidal, a board member of CITAD said that the focus for the programme was to bring women together to identify problems hindering them from the internet process.

Kaidal, who is also a lecturer at University of Maiduguri said that the forum would strategise on how to improve internet accessibility for women.

Maryam Haruna Programme Officer, Gender and Internet CITAD said the over the years the organisation had been struggling for gender inclusion in Nigeria, especially in the northern part.

Haruna said that CITAD discovered that women participation in IGF was very low and this was what prompted the organization to organize the forum to bring up issues concerning gender challenges in internet and online.

“The forum aimed at bridging gender gaps in accessing information and Internet policies, especially as it affects Nigerian women.

“So that is why we brought women from government, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Academia, private sector to discuss the challenges and proffer solutions,’’ she said.

Ms Ene Ede, the Gender and Social Inclusion Adviser, Search for Common Ground, an NGO, a participant said that access to internet was like “having the world on your palm’’. “If the women have the world on their palms, it would be a better place as internet is virtually everything and huge platform of engagement.

“If women are left out of this engagement, the world will not be good for development to take place and for everybody to participate equally, women need to be in the cyberspace.

“Another participant, Miss Hassana Ibrahim of Women Will, an initiative of Google for Women said that the programme was apt as CITAD was trying to involve more women in decision-making of how the internet should be used.

“You notice that decision-making is about male and women are excluded so, bringing more women to participate in Internet is a very good idea,’’ she said.

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