CodeNaija Hackathon Recap: Building Tech For Social Good
The last weekend of October 2019 saw Andela and the Blacktocats, GitHub's black employee resource group, host the Codenaija Hackathon which is arguably the biggest hackathon event of the year in Nigeria. An alignment in Andela’s mission to advance human potential and Blacktocats mission of empowering black lives in tech is what informed the decision to power a hackathon event of this magnitude.
The Nigerian tech ecosystem is growing exponentially and GitHub’s 2018 Octoverse report positions Nigeria at fourth place worldwide, in regards to new users and fastest-growing repositories, validating this statement.The 2019 report which highlights the growth of Nigerian engineers birthed the need for a 2-day hackathon to help spotlight the community of brilliant engineers by showcasing their talent and work. To drive this, getting tech brands like Microsoft and Flutterwave — whose dreams for the ecosystem aligns with ours — to sponsor, was important. It was also important to not only celebrate these engineers but also get them to build something meaningful which is what informed the theme of the hackathon, “Building Tech for Social Good”.
Call For Applications
A call for applications was leveraged across several media channels and, in less than a week, we got over 800 applications from junior, mid-level and senior software engineers across Nigeria. A mix of 100 junior, mid-level, and senior engineers was selected to participate at the hackathon.The hackathon experience started with a webinar for the selected participants, 5 days to the event day. The webinar was coordinated by Andela’s Developer Relations Manager, Mercy Orangi and GitHub’s Associate Program Manager, Arelia Jones. The webinar focused on demystifying the theme of the hackathon, as well as manage the expectations of the engineers for the event.
The buses had just conveyed some of the participants to the hackathon venue and the desire to build something that actually tackles a social problem was easily noticeable from the expressions of the engineers. As they registered and walked into the room, brilliance, passion and a thirst to leave a mark were all that exuded from these young men and women.The event kicked off with representatives from Andela and GitHub giving opening remarks, talking about the “WHY” to powering the Codenaija 2019 hackathon and their reasons for selecting Nigeria as their pilot location.
The Keynote Session on “The Digital Divide”
Omowale spoke at length about the digital divide in a very engaging session and highlighted some sectors in Nigeria that have been most affected by this problem. She went further to buttress critical next steps to solving these issues using technology. Here are some quotes from here session;"Changing the world is not just a cliche tossed around by techies anymore. The world is already changing. Techies, artists & entertainers are already getting more recognition and are forming part of the larger conversations at a national level." - Omowale David-Ashiru"The traditional modes of education are inefficient and won't scale when we factor in out-of-school kids. Technology takes education from the classrooms to where people are." - Omowale David-Ashiru.
The Open Source Conversations
Sharing unique experiences
Associate Program Manager at GitHub, Arelia Jones, kicked this session off. She gave some brief info about GitHub and then spoke about the values of Open Source. We had other speakers such as Samson Goddy talk about his work at Open Source Community Africa, followed by the creator of “Download This Video & Remind Me of This Tweet”, Shalvah Adebayo, who spoke about his experience with open source projects. Adewale Abati, a developer advocate at Flutterwave ended this session by sharing his own unique experiences working on open source projects.
A Hackathon on Steroids
16 teams, 16 solutions, 16 winners.
The first 3 hours of the first day was spent on introductions, presentations and lightning talks. At this point, participants were all primed and ready to get to the action of hacking. Thirteen teams were created from the +40 selected engineers who applied to compete at the hackathon. Three extra teams were created out of the 14 brilliant Andelan engineers who had applied, not to compete, but to build a product for social good.The strong display of collaboration from various teams within the first hour of hacking was reminiscent of Frodo and Samwise from Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. From wireframes to mockups, teams got their light bulb moments and moved straight into building their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to at least show the judges how their product would work.At 10:00 am the next day, the energy and excitement level had increased, it was palpable.
An Overview of the Top 5 Presented Solutions From Competing Teams
Winners --- Team 8
Application: SmartCam - CassavaProblem Statement:Nigeria’s cassava production accounts for 20% of the total global output but only 1% is being exported.Cassava farmers are constantly faced with the challenge of dealing with a number of infestation and crop diseases that stunts growth and lowers general productivity (harvest yield).Solution Statement “SmartCam - Cassava” is an offline mobile app that serves as an AI detector to help farmers detect early cassava disease infestation and proffer the next course of action.First Runner-Up ---- Team 2 aka Knights of Code
Application Name: ReachAidProblem Statement: Anything being sold to the average Nigerian is directly competing with food. Basic needs that enhance the standard of living are not available to most. On the flip side, others have excess and no means to give out.Solution Statement: ReachAid is a platform that connects those who are in need of the items they need while considering security and ease of accessibility for both parties.Second Runner Up --- Team 9
Application Name: Live TrackProblem Statement: Anxiety, worry and despair when you can’t reach a loved one. Inability to be certain about the location of loved ones or employees.Solution Statement:An app that tracks real-time location, sends distress messages in cases of accidents, physical violence or assault. It is in-built with a location-based real-time crisis alert.Third Runner Up --- Team 7 aka Ace
Application Name: CardShareProblem Statement
Little or no platform for designers to contribute to open source
The increasing rate of social anxiety.
Solution Statement Get greeting/gift cards fully digital with a similar emotion-filled experience
Designers and Developers can contribute via GitHub and the platform. They are also open to the option to earn money on the platform
Create unique cards to address certain issues like depression, gender inequality e.t.c.
Fourth Runner Up ---- Team 4 aka TrippleNT
Application Name: EduFundProblem Statement
Uneducated youths in Nigeria has increased from 5.19million in 1991 to 9.43million in 2015
Poor funding is one of the factors that contribute to low-quality education in Nigeria.
Poor infrastructure and training facilities: In northeast Nigeria, about 496 classrooms have been destroyed
Solution Statement :
A crowdfunding platform where spare change is aggregated and used for social good.
Funds will be used to help children that are out of school or have no access to free and quality education. It can also be used for the renovation of schools and acquiring quality training facilities.
An Overview of the Amazing Solutions Presented by Andelans
Here are solutions from Andelan engineers who volunteered to build for social good and recused themselves from competing for the prizes.
Application Name: The Scofield ProjectProblem Statements:Justice for the unlawfully imprisoned
There are over 70000 prisoners in Nigeria
69% of them are awaiting trial
1.7% are juveniles
many are illegally detained
Experience for young lawyers
Freedom for deserving individuals
Awareness of the deplorable situation of the Nigerian justice system and prisons.
Rehabilitation for prisoners
Donations (cash and kind)
Celebrate lawyers & wins
Document Prison records
In-app Cash disbursement for each case
Application Name: BloodHubProblem Statements:
Getting matching blood for loved ones during an emergency could sometimes be difficult and expensive(could lead to loss of life).
The fact that some hospitals don’t have the infrastructure to bank blood
Solution StatementBloodHub is an app that enables those in an immediate need of blood to get seamlessly connected to donors with matching blood groups within the requester’s location.BloodHub helps solve the blood banking problems of these hospitals by connecting potential blood donors to those in need through those hospitals.
Application Name: JamiiProblem Statement:Lack of a platform that brings people together to solve some common communal problems they are facing which could be solved without involving/waiting for the government.Solution Statement: An app that:
Brings people together to solve a common communal problem they face. This includes but not limited to fixing potholes on roads, volunteering to teach at a secondary/primary during holidays or even coming together to clean up a blocked gutter/drainage.
Allows companies to create and sponsor CSR events.
Encourages people to participate in community development and be a better citizen
Awards point for participating in events and recognizes individual contributions
Serving as a bridge between the engineering and business sides of an organization, application engineers are highly sought after - and by upskilling in this field, you can set yourself up for an incredibly impactful and lucrative career.