HelpNow is Gaining Citizens’ Trust With Transparency and Accountability in COVID-19 Donations
Softcom, a company dedicated to connecting people and businesses through meaningful innovation, recently launched HelpNow, a crowdfunding initiative to support Lagosians who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have cascaded the health sector to now display severe socio-economic implications, exposing cracks in the Nigerian system.
A World Bank regional economic analysis from April 9, 2020 suggests that economies in Sub-Saharan Africa could lose between $37 billion and $79 billion in output losses this year because of the novel coronavirus.
The World Bank also submits that a collapse in economic activity as a result of COVID-19 containment measures and macroeconomic instability will increase poverty and endanger lives and livelihoods.
As one of the largest economies in the region, the effects of the pandemic are already being felt in Nigeria, with the extremely poor being the most affected.
HelpNow seeks to meet the welfare needs of at least 2 million poor Lagosians by providing a platform that matches beneficiaries with donors.
Softcom’s CEO, Yomi Adedeji explained the effect of the pandemic and the need to develop a platform like HelpNow.
“We believe that while the pandemic affects everyone, the impact is not the same across board. With limitations to economic activities, a good number of Lagosians are vulnerable and have a tough time taking care of themselves and their families. They need our help now to get back on their feet.”
Since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread in Nigeria, the country has received financial and material aid from various quarters. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation donated $1 million through the United Nations Development Programme. In April, the European Union donated €50 million to help Nigeria fight coronavirus. Nigeria’s Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 has notably raised over N27 billion, amongst several other donations.
In the face of such largesse from private individuals, organisations and international bodies in the fight against COVID-19, Nigerians, and even the world by extension have been calling for greater accountability and transparency in the allocation of these resources.
By exhibiting a sense of responsibility to HelpNow donors and to the general public, Softcom is emphasising that accountability lies at the core of philanthropy.
The software company is working with the Bank of Industry, the Lagos State government, and leading corporate organisations to aggregate the records of Lagosians who desperately need the support that the HelpNow initiative provides. Beneficiaries will include vulnerable Nigerians such as people living with disabilities, the aged, extremely poor, etc. Using such records eliminates duplication of efforts and ensures that the right people are reached.
In an additional bid to ensure credibility and transparency, Softcom is partnering with audit and consulting companies, Deloitte and Ernst&Young, to provide audit, governance, and operational risk support, while ensuring that every donation is received by the beneficiaries as promised.
The HelpNow platform was applauded by the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu who noted that the government alone cannot alleviate the socio-economic challenges of any society while also commending Softcom’s efforts.
“Government alone cannot address the socio-economic problems of any society. It needs the support of well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to cater for the needy amongst us.
“Before now, there was no platform such as HelpNow that allows effortless intervention in the lives of millions from anywhere and anonymously. For creating a platform that encourages collaboration and speedily mobilises succour for the needy and vulnerable, I commend Softcom Limited and its partners. The people of Lagos State appreciate your ingenuity and thoughtfulness.”
Corporate organisations and private individuals are enjoined to support the HelpNow initiative by visiting the Helpnow.ng website to make a donation.
HelpNow partners are committed to achieving the SDG Agenda 2030 on ending poverty, ensuring zero hunger, and ultimately improving the quality of life and wellbeing of all.