WeAreTogether is a crowdfunded COVID-19 relief fund platform setup by a number of Nigerian tech entrepreneurs from various companies in an effort to help those facing hard-times during the current lockdown of many major cities in the Africa most populous country.
Called “Better Angels”, the group is made up of innovators 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 wrote.
The platform accepts donations from donors and then help in redistributing the funds directly to the people in need of financial support. Application for the relief fund is opened to Nigerians and anyone can apply to receive ₦10,000 and but the window of reapplication opens every three weeks.
The group said it has built a decision engine based on “a mix of sociology, economics, psychology, conflict theory and our understanding of the current situation.”
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Details needed before disbursement of the funds includes the applicant’s Bank Verification Number (BVN) as well as their Bank account number with which the platform will determine who is more eligible for disbursement. Meanwhile funds are disbursed between Mondays and Fridays and it is announced on social media. It will keep distributing funds until December 2020.
The platform seems to have been gaining traction from donors with the platform raising about ₦9.6 million from 100 donations and has ben able to disburse about ₦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 said in a finely worded note on its 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.”
The case of the COVID-19 pandemic had also wreck havoc to the Nigerian economy with oil price at it’s lowest ever and the gradual spread of the disease prompted the government to elongate lockdown of major cities within the country. This is to say the country’s economy might just have entered into another recession as many companies have either laid off or furloughed their employees, businesses had to close down and this had cause social unrest in some parts of the country. The country’s federal government had set up a relief fund for it’s citizens but the Better Angels wants to do more.
Better Angels said, “[w]hat 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.”
“What if we can crowdfund a fiscal stimulus because it is in our collective interest to do so?” the group asked.
“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.”
With that said, other big names and organizations in the country have made a massive donations in billions to Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) which is a relief fund created by the Nigerian Central Bank. The current number of recorded cases in Nigeria is about 665 with 22 deaths related to the Coronavirus.