Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case on February 28, 2020. The country had been preparing for this eventuality as the disease spread across the world, mostly because of its diaspora population — many of whom have strong ties to Nigeria.
As the number of coronavirus cases rose, the Nigerian government saw fit to take precautionary and preventive measures. Borders closed, schools shut down, and businesses were temporarily suspended. For a country with 80 million people relying on itinerant labour and daily wages, the restrictions put millions at the mercy of the government and self-funded intervention initiatives.
Due to generational lapses in leadership, private intervention initiatives have become instrumental in bridging the social welfare gap in places where the government hasn’t been able to. This isn't out of any administrative neglect, but due to the administration’s heavy concentration of resources, pulled together from various private and public entity interventions. These are put into empowering the medical institutions across Nigeria, who are fighting the coronavirus. There was a need to address the prevalent dearth of information and perceived lack of transparency in the distribution of economic assistance, public restlessness borne out of the need to help, or the search for economic survival.
This is where the BeatingCorona platform comes in. This is a virtual intervention database that documents all the monetary donations made toward interventions, the geographical locations where these interventions are active, and how the resources raised are deployed. The BeatingCorona platform also enables immediate intervention programmes that provide basic necessities such as food, financial assistance, security, shelter, and protection against domestic violence, amongst many others.
Getting help to those who need it
Reaching people with these needs is especially important considering the heightened call to invest a sizable amount of funds into creating and disbursing stimulus packages to the many Nigerians who have been economically displaced by the necessary steps taken to curb the pandemic.
BeatingCorona was launched on April 9, 2020 — nine days after the country’s first major lockdown began in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun states. At that time, the brunt of the statewide lockdowns was taking its toll on Nigerian citizens.
The platform is a product of The Future Project in partnership with Y! For Africa, both prestigious brands that are under Red Media Africa, a content, consulting and data generation agency currently based in Nigeria. More than anything, BeatingCorona has recorded a massive amount of data.
Staffed with top Nigerian researchers in recent partnerships with Follow the Money and Naija Relief Base, more than 140 billion naira (US$360,657,416) has been recorded in donations. More than 500 intervention initiatives from Nigeria’s 36 states were afforded a space on the platform, with detailed information about their work, their progress, and how to support them.
Bringing people together
While the platform is in itself a remarkable piece of cultural relevance, the work being done through it underscores the impressive communal effort that has so far gone into the fight against the coronavirus in Nigeria.
This communal spirit can be traced back to the donations. Just as Nigeria was coming to terms with a possible economic breakdown — one that, as predicted, has left many scrambling for relief — corporations, groups, private entities, and individuals came together to provide the financial muscle that would be needed to help combat the virus. The spirit then trickled over to intervention initiatives — many self-funded and under-supported, pooling every resource at their disposal to provide help to the people within their immediate communities.
BeatingCorona exists to provide accurate, real-time documentation of how the trajectory of the pandemic is being altered by private interventions, as well as archiving how Nigeria fought against the coronavirus. It is expected that the database will provide valuable insights for future governments who wish to invest in citizen-centric policy making. It also highlights the indispensable place of data, particularly data that is well researched and easily accessible.