Chowberry: How a software engineer is feeding Nigeria's poor with an app

Story highlights

  • Software engineer Oscar Ekponimo created a web app that connects the poor to supermarkets in Nigeria
  • Food that would normally be wasted is sold at a discount to those in need

(CNN)Growing up Oscar Ekponimo was familiar with hunger.

After his father had a partial stroke, he was temporarily ill and unable to work, leaving the family struggling to make ends meet.
"I remember most times there was little or no food [in the house]," he told CNN. "I had to go to school without food and got by with snacks friends shared with me." .
    "I always said in the future I would do something to ensure others wouldn't go through what I went through."
    The Chowberry app is now functional in Lagos and Abuja
    Fast forward to 2017 and Ekponimo, now a software engineer, is doing exactly that through his web app Chowberry.
    The app connects supermarkets to NGOs and low-income earners, allowing them to buy food that's about to expire at a discount.
    Ekponimo says the response to the project has been encouraging and he's been able to see first hand how it's transforming lives.
    "We met one lady who has six children and survives on 400 naira ($1.05)a day," he said. "She sells firewood and kunu (a local drink). One day the task force seized her kunu for hawking in the street, and she had nothing. She had to feed her family on what she made. So it's nice to see the impact of what we're doing."
    A three-month pilot involving 20 retailers reached about 300 people in Lagos and Abuja, feeding 150 orphans and chil