Nigerian, others win 2016 Rolex Award

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Oscar Ekponimo. Sundiatapost photo.

Mr. Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian, is one of the five Young Laureates that won the Rolex Enterprise Award for 2016.

According to Sundiatapost , Ekponimo, was the only African among the awardees.

He won the award with his ‘Chowberry’, a cloud-based application that addresses the problems of food poverty through the automation of the process of monitoring food products approaching the end of shelf-life, ultimately helping to alleviate hunger in the country.

The 30-years-old is a Stanford University Technology Ventures Programme Alumnus and a Bachelor of Science degree graduate in computing from University of Calabar.

A software engineer, he is passionate about IT, and has developed solutions for private enterprises and national security establishments.

Alleviating hunger has always been at the top of his agenda. At university, he and friends set up Blue Valentine, an initiative to distribute warm meals to indigent street kids on 14 February.

In 2013 this initiative evolved into SalvageHub, the precursor to Chowberry that earned him the International Telecoms Union Award for Technology Innovation.

Ekponimo also runs Food Drive, an ad hoc Chowberry initiative where he and other volunteers collect products within a week of expiry and distribute them to orphanages and homes for the elderly.

“As an IT professional, I have always viewed technology as a unique tool for solving many of Africa’s challenges,” Ekponimo says.

“It is a medium to express creativity and passion with limitless possibilities, whether it be redefining industries or fostering sustainable development and human advancement.”

The four other Young Laureates announced in Los Angeles, location of the Rolex Awards, on November 15, include Joseph Cook, 29, United Kingdom – a pioneer in the field of glacial microbiology.

Christine Keung, 24, United States – who emigrated to the US at the age of four and is using her education as a force for good by empowering women in north-western China to work with doctors and industry to act as environmental stewards and agents of change.

Junto Ohki, 29, Japan – who is improving communication among hearing-impaired people worldwide by expanding a crowd-sourced, online sign-language database dictionary called SLinto.

Sarah Toumi, 29, France/Tunisia – is spearheading a grass-roots initiative, Acacias for All, in Tunisia, to fight the country’s desertification caused by climate change and reduce poverty among farmers through reforestation and crops more suited to a lower rainfall.

Each Young Laureate receives a grant to advance their project; all receive a Rolex chronometer as well as worldwide publicity for their projects.

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