By Emeka Aginam

To save the environment, the Chief Executive Officer of HoBeei, a budding tech startup, Mariam Eluma has urged all Nigerians to help save the environment by helping to clear up trash littering the streets across the Nation. 

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This is coming on the heels of a globally viral social media trend called the #TrashChallenge, which has been lauded by international media outlets including CNN on the global positive impact and awareness it has had on the environment.

The #TrashChallenge encourages people especially in groups to clear their immediate environment of littered trash, posting before and after photos of the area cleared of all the garbage. 

The trend has built up momentum in the last few months in Nigeria, and recently, HoBeei Initiative, a startup that focuses on Freecycling and Upcycling in Nigeria is at the center of driving the #TrashChallenge awareness across the country.

In a bid to encourage people to take part and make the Trash challenge more interesting in Nigeria, HoBeei added a fun twist to the trend by creating a contest where people who participate in the trash challenge stand a chance to win £100 in cash gifts weekly throughout April, with winners also having the option to donate their reward to a charity or cause of their choice.

Speaking just after the announcement of the final week winners of the recently concluded HoBeei TrashChallenge contest,   Eluma reiterated the startup’s commitment to a clean environment.

“We are definitely going to do this again”, she said, adding that. “This is one of the biggest concerns my organization tries to address, so we will have to continue engaging others in solving the problem as well. The rules of the next contest may be the same or slightly different. But we hope to make it bigger and spread more awareness.”

Mariam explained that the aim of the contest was to get many people to participate so that places would be cleaned in time for the rainy season, to ensure clog-free drainages in order to significantly reduce flooding. She further encouraged Nigerians to participate in their own Trash Challenges within their immediate environment.

 Winners who emerged from the contest were drawn from different parts of the country and were lead organizers who were able to pull people to join them.

In the first week,   Aisha Obiagwu and her team who won  cleared some of the gutters around Wuse Market in Abuja.

Winners in the second  Week  Halima Bamgbopa and her team cleared the gutters at Agodi gate in Ibadan. Eagles Foundation for Humanity, a group of community volunteers led by Barr. 

Titilope Anifowoshe emerged winners in the third  week of the  contest having organized commendable cleaning exercises across four states – Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto and Kwara states

The final winner of the contest, a Corp member by the name Giwa Luqman, was able to commandeer his group – the environmental syndicate of NYSC Oluyole LGA, to clean up Adelabu market in Ibadan. They also donated waste bins and hand sanitizers to the market.

Since 2016, HoBeei’s main waste management efforts have been to act as a middle man connecting people with their unwanted possessions to those who need them, while also transforming otherwise ‘useless’ waste materials into useful commodities that can be reused in different other creative and meaningful ways. The need to further drive this social cause has led the HoBeei team to develop a freecycling app which the companysays will be publicly launched soon.

HoBeei’s Mission and Vision statements summarily express the desire to improve our environment and livelihood through creative & sustainable solutions, bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots, and positively improving savings and consumption – a cause which Mariam is overly passionate about and committed to taking further one little step at a time.

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