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Young Nigerian gets ITU award for tech innovation

A young Nigerian computer science graduate, Oscar Ekponimo, is among those flying Nigeria’s flag here in Bangkok Thailand, hosts of this year’s International Telecommunications Union, ITU Telecom World Conference.
Ekponimo is among the rare ten youths across the world selected by ITU to be honoured for innovations in technology. He got himself into this league, by developing a web and mobile application tagged SalvageHub, which reduces food waste and redistributes salvaged products to needy people. Retailers also use Ekponimo’s platform to track near expiry food products in stock, trigger notification on the hub and schedule pickups of donated food products.
ITU developed Young Innovators Programme as an integral part of Telecom World events and designed it to work with promising start-ups run by young people from all over the world who are using technological innovation to improve the social reality of their communities.
Each year, the Young Innovators Competition invites new start-ups and concepts to compete for one of the ten prestigious places in the programme. Chosen by a committee of world-class experts from public, private and academic sectors, the ten winners join the ITU Telecom World event for a four-day accelerator programme of pitching sessions, hands-on workshops and mentoring and also the chance to win up to USD 10 000 in funding. That was how Ekponimo emerged when his SalvageHub was selected.
Now the programme is not just an annual competition, its turning into a community. For instance, the organisers have drawn the winners of the 2012 competition to join this year’s winners in Bangkok to report back on the development of their projects after a year of mentoring and to offer the benefits of their experiences as peer-mentors to the class of 2013.
Ekponimo would be joined by two other African brothers, Thomas Kioko from Kenya and Brenda Katwesigye from Uganda.
Kioko invented NduruApp, a road safety mobile app intended to reduce road accidents by acting as a portable speed controller. It also offers a database of emergency numbers and hospitals, as well as an interactive tutorial on providing first aid at the scene of a road accident.
WhileKatwesigye set up M-Tambula to help elderly and vulnerable people to access public services through an IVR-based system providing key information on services and providers across the country.
Others are Bella Donna Econar from the Philippines who her smartphone app invention, Tudlo App, is a platform for content publishers to provide relevant guides on emergencies and disasters, traffic and road conditions. Econar hopes to save thousands of lives through providing better and more reliable information on daily events to the government, individuals and the private sector.
Ahmed Fawzi, a Qatari-born, who launched Al Dalilah, a satellite-assisted mission control system that enables fast and accurate response to natural disasters. He wants to make Al Dalilah available for any crisis around the world, and to start working with the top ten NGOs within a year.
Hannah Judge, who invented Broad Street Maps. The map identifies geographic patterns and disease distribution. Based on this information, it makes maps that build organisational capacity within the health sector in response.
Hoang Tran Nguyen, a Vietnamese graduate of Space Science who invented Land-Sea Digital Bridge to protect Vietnam’s 27,000 far-shore fishing boats from typhoons through a high frequency digital comms solution connecting them to the shore.
Timothy McDermot, an 18-year-old from Swaziland, who started SiSwApp, an app equipped with an offline English to SiSwati translator with an audio database. SiSwapp was developed to help foreign aid workers integrate, and therefore generate revenue for the country
Keston Perry, an originally Trinidad national who developed KUMBA Connect, an internet platform finding job opportunities for technically-skilled young Caribbean migrants living in the UK, and
Varun Arora, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, who launched OpenCurriculum – a website where teachers can create and share educational material in response to the lack of openness and transparency in education curricula around the world.

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