When your worldviews inform your thoughts and actions, great ideas take shape. Such is the case with CEO of the challenge-based social good app Duuple, Abby Frimpong. Originally from Ghana and now calling the United States home, the avid traveler and foodie is on a mission to create change one download at a time. Duuple was inspired by her work internationally in the nonprofit arena and driven by the urge to empower social media users to do good worldwide.
Managing Two Worlds
Frimpong’s life experiences are diverse, given her Ghanaian upbringing and then immigration to the United States. Her father’s work as a diplomat and the fact that his siblings lived in the U.S. had her visiting the country frequently as a child. But the family moved permanently to Virginia when she went to college at the University of Maryland. “Moving to the U.S. was good because I had more freedom here. I was left on my own for hours on end and it was amazing to do whatever I wanted,” she shares.
A self-professed bookworm, she spent time at the library, took extra classes to graduate early and even nurtured some hobbies. “I really came into my own, so for me it was a great adjustment, but what I didn't realize was the difference between being African and being African in America. Once I moved and lived here is when I really saw that dark disparity which I was never aware of growing up.”
Frimpong’s name garners attention for its rarity here in the U.S., but she admits it’s a pretty common name by Ghanaian standards. She did realize, however, through her travels something else that was unique about her; that was being a complete vegetarian. “I was raised vegetarian because my mother wanted to be healthy and she was conscious about the food we were eating,” shares Frimpong. “There aren’t a lot of vegetarians in Ghana and in Africa as a whole.”
Expanding Cultural Horizons
Frimpong’s favorite thing to do on her travels is picking up different spices and then use them as ingredients when cooking at home. In fact, she enjoys choosing an ingredient and preparing it in different styles. For instance, she will make chickpeas Indian style, but then also do African and Mediterranean versions. Most of the time, her friends don’t even realize the dishes are vegetarian. Her food adventures are fueled by all the countries she has visited, more than 20 now, for both work and leisure.
The travel bug bit early, when she studied French as a youngster and visited a French-speaking country every summer to strengthen her language skills. She also speaks Twi, the local language in Ghana, and Ga, spoken in the capital Accra. For leisure, she has traveled across the world, but some of her favorite destinations include Bali and Seoul in Asia, Cape Town in Africa, Capri in Italy as well as Greece and Turkey in Europe.
She also visits Ghana every year, where her grandmother still resides. And her love for travel has also permeated into her professional world, proven by the diversity of her team. Her current staff operates from Istanbul, America, Cyprus and Seoul, and she might expand to the Philippines next even as she has set up base now in California. She shares, “When you travel, you get to see areas where people are brilliant and just need an opportunity to showcase what they can do.”
Creating Social Impact
That inclusive perspective has served Frimpong well in her new initiative, complemented by 17 years of experience in the nonprofit world. She has worked in education and healthcare fundraising, and her last job was with a nonprofit tasked her with clearing landmines and debris left behind by soldiers in war-torn countries. Just as Frimpong was beginning to experience burnout getting on a plane to a new location every few weeks, the now-famous phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge happened.
That revolutionized the nonprofit fundraising world in a big way. This was also Frimpong’s aha moment and led to her development of Duuple. The app has a three-pronged approach — it allows individuals to challenge each other for fun, nonprofits to challenge people to raise awareness or funds, and brands to challenge people to raise awareness of a new product or do giveaways.
Once downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play, challenges can be created on the social platform for others to participate in using images or videos. The app launched October 2018 with a funny dance challenge created by award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris in support of globally renowned nonprofit St Jude’s Research Children’s Hospital. As of this article, the app had more than 250,000 downloads. Frimpong also launched the app in Asia this year with an event in Seoul.
Next, she has her sights sets on Latin America, Europe and Africa. “At the moment, in the world that we are in, it’s not just how famous you are but also what you do with that fame, so celebrities and companies that have a give-back model and social impact focus, if they are able to get on the platform and showcase that, their popularity goes up tenfold,” she says. “I encourage everyone to think of what their legacy is going to be and how they will support issues in the world. The ultimate goal is to create an app that is going to advance social good and make this world a better place.”