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Binance Charity Foundation launches blockchain-enabled donation pilot in Uganda

Binance Charity Foundation Lunch for Children launch. COURTESY PHOTO)

The Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) has launched its blockchain-enabled donation pilot for its Lunch for Children program.

The launch of it follows the charity’s announcement of the campaign during the Binance Blockchain Week in Singapore in January. BCF, which is the philanthropic arm of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, saw the pilot taking place at the Jolly Mercy Learning Centre in Kampala, Uganda last week. Until the end of 2019, the charity will provide two meals a day to more than 200 students and school staff.

The aim of the Lunch for Children campaign is to showcase a blockchain solution that is hoping to tackle problems related to hunger and access to primary education. This recent pilot is part of a wider campaign from Binance that intends to benefit one million people in the developing world. It plans to extend to other African nations including Ethiopia and Kenya.

BCF’s partner is the Dream Building Service Association (DBSA), the non-profit organization that started the Lunch for Children campaign, and its sponsor is privacy coin Zcoin.

Zcoin and its major investors, some of which include Poramin Insom, founder and CEO of Zcoin, and Roger Ver, an early investor in bitcoin-related startups and now a major supporter of bitcoin cash, have pledged to sponsor $24,000 worth of cryptocurrency to support the students and staff.

Reuben Yap, COO of Zcoin, said that this pilot is going to have an immense impact on the children and their families knowing they will have two meals a day.

Education is such an important way to close inequality gaps and drive progress in society, he added. But many children, especially orphans, do not go to school because they often need to support themselves. We hope that our contribution will help to alleviate some of these burdens so students can focus in school and ultimately, build a stronger education-backed foundation for their lives.

At the moment, the center has 200 students attending; however, according to Yap, this number is expected to rise to 340 once the food is provided. Not only does it improve overall health, it also provides a strong motivation for them to attend school,” he also said.

Helen Hai, Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and head of the BCF, said that African countries will most likely benefit in the fourth industrial revolution and blockchain is a technology that accelerates this process.

“For the massive unbanked population in countries like Uganda, underserved communities participating in this charity program grants them with a digital wallet as an access point to cryptocurrency so that the economic circulation within the community is available and further benefited from the initial introduction,” Hai added.

In an announcement, the donation distributed to the crypto wallets of the children’s parents or legal guardians will be sent to the suppliers’ wallet to redeem for the children’s food.

Singing and dancing at the Binance Charity Foundation campaign launch

BCF and DBSA have, reportedly, selected schools that serve poor children and reliable food suppliers that deliver healthy food for children at a competitive price.

Michael Bernhardt, community lead for Zcoin, who was on the ground during the pilot’s launch, said that it was an eye-opening experience for him with plenty of singing and dancing.

The school children were in high spirits and they all seemed genuinely grateful for the contribution, he said. I also talked to some of the school staff and they told me about how they’ve seen donations in the past affected by corruption and fraud.

The pilot launch was officiated by H.E. Rosemary Nansubuga Seninde, Uganda’s Minister of State for Primary Education, and Dr. James Ssekiwanuka, the headmaster of the Jolly Mercy Learning Centre. During his speech, Dr Ssekiwanuka highlighted the impact the blockchain could produce by delivering a high level of trust that removes potential corruption, which is possible with intermediaries.

The event saw more than 500 guests of students, parents, sponsors and school partners in attendance.

Binance first launched its charity arm in October 2018, announcing at the time that it was enhancing its commitment toward using the blockchain for social good.

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