Young African Developers Create Zero Contact Food Distribution Application in Response to COVID-19

Response to skyrocketing demand for food relief in Kenya

Nairobi, April 27, 2020 – Tribus TSG, a subsidiary of Centum Investment, has today launched a zero contact distribution application in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribus TSG is partnering with Mastercard Foundation in Kenya, under its Young Africa Works initiative.  In Kenya, Young Africa Works aims to enable five million young Kenyans access dignified work.

The Zero Contact Food Distribution application, designed and developed entirely by young African developers, is in response to the skyrocketing demand for food relief with government-imposed lockdowns and restrictions to control the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 continues to pose a health and economic crisis around the globe and an even greater threat to thousands who have lost their livelihoods and those living hand to mouth. The Zero Contact Distribution application promotes coordination and ensures that best practices are upheld during the supply and distribution of relief.

“We realized that the traditional paper vouchers, gift cards or large-crowd distribution process wouldn’t work in a COVID-19 environment. Large crowds increase the risk of the virus spreading and paper poses the risk of cross contamination. There was a clear need for a contactless distribution flow. We wanted to create an application that is easy to use, safer for the environment and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Catherine Aurellia Otieno, one of the lead developers of the application.

The Zero Contact Food Distribution application is built on a USSD process so that users do not require access to smart phone technology. A unique SMS is generated and sent to the end user once the organization assigns a collection point. The end user is then free to collect the food parcels using their unique verification code.

This chain allows for a safe, controlled distribution and full data capturing process instead of using QR codes or gift vouchers, which can be potentially copied if they are not appropriately implemented. The application uses a data chain process that connects the provider and user in a secure and verified manner.

“As we continue to support the nation during this unprecedent time, from our free water distribution program in Githorogo and our food distribution programs in Nairobi, Laikipia and Kilifi, we hope that this application will aid in the distribution of food and supplies by government, county government and a mass of organizations mobilizing to assist and feed the neediest across the continent. As a team, we agreed all build costs will be borne by us and all distribution projects that we run using the app will be strictly at cost,” said Dr. James Mworia, CFA, Group CEO Centum Investment Limited.

“Government, organizations or charity bodies who want to carry out a food or distribution program should go to the application’s dashboard and generate the list of individuals they have identified to be in need. They then upload identifying numbers like Telephone or ID numbers they are using in their program into the distribution management system and assign collection points, whether it’s large scale supermarkets, small scale kiosks, or mobile time pickup points for those in remote areas,” said  Brian Mwau, Lead Cyber Security & Ajiry Ambassador, Tribus TSG.

“As this fast-paced, high-stakes crisis evolves, two things are immediately clear. First, we have a duty to mitigate the immediate shocks to the most vulnerable. Second, we must lay the groundwork for recovering livelihoods and rebuilding communities. And we must start now,” said Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO.

Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries, including Kenya with partners like Centum. In collaboration with governments, private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people, Young Africa Works seeks to enable 30 million young people, especially young women, to secure dignified work by 2030.

About Centum

Centum is a publicly listed company on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and cross-listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange. The company has over 36,000 shareholders and its vision is to be Africa’s foremost investment channel. As part of its strategy, Centum is contributing socially and economically to the prosperity of the East Africa region by investing in key sectors of the economy namely; Real Estate; Financial Services; Education; FMCG; Health Care; Agriculture & Power. Centum’s portfolio consists of three business units namely; Private Equity, Real Estate, and Marketable Securities representing our asset classes. As at 31 March 2019, Centum had total assets of approximately Kes.72 Billion (US $700 million).

 About Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. Through its Young Africa Works strategy and Canadian EleV program, the Foundation works with partners to ensure that millions of young people, especially young women, access quality education, financial services, and dignified work. Mastercard Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent with its own Board of Directors and CEO.

For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit http://www.mastercardfdn.org/. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @MastercardFdn.



Brian Mwau, Ajiry’s Lead Developer
+254 700009070

 Mastercard Foundation

Helen White, Strategy Lead, Program Communications

+27 76 166 5372

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