Where is Discardious?

Where is Discardious? A very loaded enquiry with the most banal Nigerian answer in the books – “The government …”

But that’s not how this works, no? First, we’ll oblige you with information about the subject before proceeding to map out how it left the public eye.

In June 2015, the Technovation team announced the year’s winners of the annual coding competition for girls all around the world. It was unexpectedly a team called Charis who’d made their way to the United States from Calabar, Cross Rivers state, despite all odds – including a technical glitch suffered by the US Visa office that threatened their attendance of the final leg of the competition.

team-charis-winners-technovation-challenge-smileandmobileBut Team Charis made it. Last minute and having missed everything else the Technovation team had planned out for the competitors before the event – including a tour around San Francisco and meetings with globally recognized tech heads like Twitter. But they made it and won it too.

team-charisFour secondary school girls and their tutor from far away Calabar had gone on to America with a tech-based social enterprise that they developed and that resonated with the judges enough to help them win an international competition for innovative ideas.

Their winning idea? Discardious. An android-based app that “helps to solve the problem of improper waste disposal in Nigeria”. It was beautiful – their win – not only because of what they had endured to get to the US but also because their waste management app won over some other really amazing ideas including a gaming app that seeks to teach Brazilian kids the importance of sustainable use of water – also developed by high school girls.

Discardious developers were presented with $10,000 to come back home and develop Discardious to a marketable level. “It has given our team a platform to use technology to solve problems in our community. It has also motivated us to think outside the box. It has boosted my self-confidence and helped me build new relationships and networking skills. I have met new people from different parts of the world and shared ideas. It has also made me realize that I am not too young to start achieving my goals,” Praise David-Oku, one Team Charis member quipped after the pitch on the 25th of June.

But since then there has been very little to be heard from the team in terms of the development of the app beyond the skeletal prototype that won them first place. The Technovation organizers don’t seem to know either. This year, in a documentary about the 2015 competition titled Code Girl, there was a hint at the effect of the change of government in Cross River – being Nigerian, there’s no use guessing how that had an effect on the development of the app. Especially when it became clear that Team Charis came back home to a promise by the state government to partner with them to make the app functional.

Today, Discardious joins the millions of apps in the Play store that can only go as far as being downloaded and then nothing more. A beautifully designed interface that appears easy enough to use but then nothing seems to work. Well except a Trash to Cash feature where one tip has been updated -now you can learn how to turn egg shells “powerful and natural abrasive cleaner” guys!

Every other feature returns a promise that they’ll be coming soon when clicked. From the Waste Market feature to the Call a Cart, Report Improper Disposal and Health Hazards, and the Get information on health and safety tips (this one promises to redirect to external sources but even that seems to be coming soon). 

Even the Discardious web page has nothing to offer beyond a few public appearances around the country that the girls have made since June last year when they won.


This is extremely sad. Especially considering the fact that Nigeria is now getting recognized as an African tech hub.

We won’t want to be considered as frauds in this regard too, would we?

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