Ventures Platform Hub‘s social impact group, the Ventures Platform Foundation has launched a new incubation programme that is targeted at startups utilising tech to establish accountability and transparency within the Nigerian government’s Covid-19 response.
Titled Gov Labs and place over a 12-week period, the incubation programme has been established with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an initiative that aims to support Civil Society Organisations across Nigeria.
Speaking on the launch of Gov Labs, Mimshach Obioha, Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation provides insight into the aims of Gov Labs.
“Since the pandemic began, there has been a major emphasis on the health and economic implications of COVID-19 however, we cannot deny that democracy and governance have also taken a huge hit during this period. With governments imposing restrictions on civil liberties, we need stronger support for basic human rights and something needs to change urgently. In light of this, the Nigerian government has proven itself somewhat open to citizen input and that’s where Gov Labs comes in. We’ve always known Nigeria has a rich supply of entrepreneurs who are hungry for change but now, we’re giving them a platform to not only equip the government to make more informed decisions, but also drive access to vital public services at a time when people need them most.”
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The incubator programme
A total of five applicants will be selected and each will receive a $2500 grant along with access to mentorship, technical support, and networking opportunities.
During the incubation programme, selected participants will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge as they work alongside experts in policy advocacy, civic engagement, and public sector reform. The programme is tailored towards participants creating scalable and easily adoptable solutions to promote transparency to the Nigerian government’s Covid-19 response.
Addressing the problem
According to Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), there were over 100 incidents of human rights violations within the initial lockdown period alone. To curb the impact of the coronavirus, Nigeria has imposed stringent and severe measures on its citizens, most notably around the freedom of movement and assembly.
However, this has often corresponded with a notable rise in unlawful arrests and detentions, extra-judicial killings, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) amongst other issues.
This year, Ventures Platform Foundation has driven a number of initiatives to address pre-existing crises in Nigeria as well as the devastation caused by the pandemic.
In October, the company reportedly awarded $6 000 to seven different startups developing tech solutions to assist the fight against the coronavirus as part of its COVID-19 Innovation Challenge and also recently launched its Start Up North East incubator to aid relief efforts for the crisis in Northern Nigeria.
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