By Emma Okonji
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reiterated the commitment of Lagos State in driving critical sector development with technology.
According to the Governor, “The role of technology in addressing the socio-economic challenges of the modern world is not only important, but also incontrovertible. This consciousness is the reason why technology is a critical component of the THEMES Agenda of our government.
“We are determined to leverage technology and its associated innovations to make governance easier and transform our state. However, like the experience in other megacities in the world, COVID-19 outbreak has shown the fragility of our societies and the need to seek innovative ways for addressing some of our immediate challenges has become more important.”
The governor said this in Lagos recently, during the launch of ‘HelpNow’, a new initiative to support Lagos residents in need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, via a platform set up to pair donors with beneficiaries who require support.
Softcom, a company dedicated to connecting people and business through meaningful innovation, partnered Deloitte, MTN, Ernst & Young, and other corporate organisations, including Lagos State government, to launch the new initiative.
HelpNow, an initiative of Softcom, is a private sector led collaboration in response to the debilitating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the income and livelihood of millions of Nigerians. The objective is to provide support to at least two million vulnerable people in Lagos through a crowdfunding model that rallies the support of well-meaning individuals and corporates.
Speaking at the launch, Sanwo-Olu noted that “With the launch of ‘HelpNow’ we now have a platform that aggregates support for government’s efforts at alleviating the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable in our society. Government alone cannot address the socio-economic problems of any society. It needs the support of well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations to cater for the needy among 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,” the Governor said.
In his response, the Chief Executive Officer of Softcom Limited and convener, HelpNow initiative, Yomi Adedeji, said: “We believe that while the pandemic affects everyone, the impact is not the same across the 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.”
According to Adedeji, “Softcom is working with the Bank of Industry, Telecoms Operators and Lagos State Government to organise the records of vulnerable Nigerians covering people with disabilities, the poorest households and the aged, for this purpose. These records reduce guesses or duplication of efforts. It ensures that more people are reached, and no individual or family benefits more than once.”
To ensure the credibility and transparency of the initiative, Deloitte and Ernst & Young will provide audit, governance and operational risk support, ensuring every naira donated gets to a beneficiary as promised.
Adedeji urged corporates and individuals in Nigeria and outside the country to support the initiative by visiting the Helpnow.ng website to donate, saying no amount is too small to help those in need. He said donors will be able to view the impact of their giving on the website coupled with testimonials of the beneficiaries.
He noted that HelpNow partners were committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030 on ending poverty, ensuring zero hunger, and ultimately improving the quality of life and wellbeing of all.