Ventures Platform Foundation (VPF) has launched Gov Labs, a 12-week programme aimed at developing tech solutions to implement accountability and transparency within the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 response.

The programme was organised in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation, Mimshach Obioha, explained that the pandemic has critically affected democracy and governance.

“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.”

Mimshach Obioha, Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation

He added that with governments imposing restrictions on civil liberties, Gov Labs can create a stronger solution to uphold basic human rights.

According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), there were over 100 incidents of human rights violations within the initial lockdown period alone.

Suggested read: Meet Wellvis Health, Infodemics and 5 Other Startups Selected for Covid-19 Innovation Challenge by Ventures Platform

Apply to Gov Labs, incubation programme

VPF is welcoming applications from civil service organisations across Nigeria to generate tech solutions which support basic human rights. 

Ventures Platform Foundation (VPF) is the social impact arm of Ventures Platform Hub

The new initiative will support accepted Civil Society Organizations from across Nigeria as they build innovative solutions promoting good governance and wide-scale access to public services.

Ventures Platform Foundation Launches Gov Labs to Protect Nigerians’ Human Rights during COVID-19 response
Credit: Ventures Platform

According to the company, five organisations will be selected from the pool of applicants. Each selected organisation will receive a $2,500 grant as well as access to mentorship, technical support and networking opportunities.

The participants will also work alongside key experts in policy advocacy, citizen engagement and public sector reform during the 12-week period.

VPF revealed that the selected organisations will work to build scalable and easily adoptable solutions which target the pain points of the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 response.

Applications for the Gov Labs program closes on the 6th of February 2021. For more information click here. 

The fight against COVID-19

To curb the impact of the coronavirus, Ventures Platform Foundation has driven a number of initiatives to address pre-existing crises in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Nigerian government has imposed stringent and severe measures on its citizens, most notably around the freedom of movement and assembly.

Ventures Platform Foundation Launches Gov Labs to Protect Nigerians’ Human Rights during COVID-19 response
Credit: Ventures Platform

However, this has often corresponded with a notable rise in unlawful arrests and detentions, extra-judicial killings and sexual & gender-based violence (SGBV) amongst other issues.

VSF with the latest incubation programme plans to find solutions to these problems. Before now, the company awarded $6,000 to seven different start-ups developing tech solutions to assist the fight against the coronavirus as part of its COVID-19 Innovation Challenge.


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