As the Nigeria government successfully rolled out its vaccination plan in 2018, some parents living in rural areas encountered challenges finding out where, when, or how often their children were meant to receive vaccinations. This confusion caused delayed and repeated immunizations, increasing the risk of infant and child mortality from preventable diseases.
We needed a solution to help rural families and aid in the fight to reduce infant mortality across Nigeria, but we faced some challenges.
For example, we knew that smartphones are rarely used in rural areas of the country, and that not everyone could communicate effectively in English. Therefore, what was needed was a technology-based solution that could work offline and provide localized communication options. With this in mind, RemindMe–the brainchild of myself and cofounder Kelechi Ezenwaka—was born.
Remind Me, a product of The Innovation Corner, is an offline data management and reminder system for immunization using USSD/Voice Technology. RemindMe aims to increase the demand for vaccination services and complements existing healthcare infrastructure. It also supports caregivers, the government, development agencies, and health workers.
Following the deployment of RemindMe, we knew our solution solved a need. We were on the verge of bringing a permanent solution to an old, persistent problem threatening the lives of Nigerian children. Therefore, when the call for application came in from the World Bank Youth Summit, we couldn’t resist applying. Brilliance is evenly distributed, the opportunity is not; but when the opportunity presents itself, one has to receive it with all the confidence one can muster. I arrived at this conclusion when I found out that 1350 people had applied from around the world for the World Bank Youth Summit– and I happened to be one of them.
The World Bank Youth Summit is a gathering of over 500 young social innovators and leaders from more than 89 countries. The theme for the 2018 Summit was “Unleashing the Power of Human Capital.”
Although I knew that more applications translated into more competition, I was more excited that many young people were making an impact in their own corner of the world. This signified hope for the future of our world. Being selected among the top six applicants to travel to Washington, D.C. to pitch our concept was not only one of my most memorable moments, but I also realized that the work we were doing in Africa mattered to the global community as much as it did to us and the beneficiaries of our work.
In addition to the noteworthy experiences that made my trip enjoyable, such as sightseeing on Capitol Hill, the White House and visiting the Newseum, my experience meeting with young innovators from across the world was incredibly positive. With all of the experiences and skills I have acquired, I now see the work my team and I are doing in Nigeria from a global standpoint, and I feel fully equipped to do more.
If I were to summarize what I have learned from the summit in a sentence, it would be: hNiguman beings are the software for social development.
Email me when you find me in the picture and I will be glad to respond to all enquiries and explore areas we can work together.
The 2018 World Bank Youth Summit, held last month in Washington, D.C., focused on “Unleashing the Power of Human Capital.” Millennials from all over the world were invited to share their innovative social venture concepts aimed at solving pressing developmental challenges in their communities and beyond. Tochukwu Egesi, an experienced product developer from Nigeria, was one of six finalists invited to pitch his concept in front of a live global audience.