By Johannes Hangula
THE Namibia University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Computing and Informatics collaborated with the Office of the First Lady and other stakeholders as they held Namibia’s first Gender Based Violence (GBV) hackathon in Windhoek recently.
The 24-hour hackathon brought together computing enthusiasts, young student coders, professionals and GBV experts to create innovative technology-based solutions (both mobile and web) to help combat GBV in the country.
The all-night software development event had a sign-up of 85 interested developers with 65 percent as women developers. The Office of the First Lady organised a group of GBV experts who informed the developers of the current situation in Namibia, tested the solutions and provided feedback on designs during the development.
In her opening remarks, Faculty of Computing and Informatics’ Dean, Dr Anicia Peters, said she believes that strategic ways of using technology will result in steady social change.
“We need everybody to be involved in combatting GBV, but as professionals and students in the ICT sector we have not been active in contributing our skills and talents to help in this fight. The hype that this hackathon caused among all stakeholders is testimony of how we are all tired of the violence,” said Peters. Technical director in the Office of the First Lady and GBV expert group organiser, Dr Veronica Theron commended the hackathon saying it was a success on a number of levels. “I am very impressed with how the participants have engaged with the issues, worked through difficult technical problems around privacy and consent and developed prototypes for solid tools to support existing work in GBV prevention,” said Theron.
The teams were judged on the basis of usability, sustainability, innovation and presentation skills.
Team Amani won first prize for their impressive project that had a panic button feature and a live video feed that a GBV victim can use to record and send in times of trouble to relevant authorities.
Team captain, Beaton Nyamapandi, was delighted with his team’s winning the coveted laptops. “Technology can be a powerful force that opens exciting opportunities. I hope that our apps and other solutions from this hackathon will help civil society and non-profit organisations to better achieve their missions and collaborate with other stakeholders,” he said.
Orange IT solutions claimed second place, Save A Life and Code Geeks finished third and fourth respectively. Team Amani will present its solution at the National ICT Summit at the Windhoek Country Club Resort from October 10 to 12 2016. Tangeni Kamati of Code Geeks said, “It was quite an adventure; a new and unparalleled experience, working with my work group against the clock with a deadline only hours away. The best part was the way we were able to do so much in so little time, identify ourselves with a cause and commit ourselves to finding a solution to meet the need. Making that commitment and accepting that challenge highlighted how much we could achieve if every project were focused on the social good, without the ambition to win but to help”.
Hackathon is hacking marathon, which draws talented, innovative people and organisations who invest their time into responding to real-world problems with significant solutions through computer programming.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015