Innovation hubs have a lot of potential in Africa. Therefore, !DROPS, Exchange vzw, CISCO Networking Academy & BiASC and mHub Malawi decided to combine their forces. Together with locals in Lilongwe (co-creation), we explore how we can use technology to come up with innovative solutions for a number of economic and social challenges in Malawi. The ultimate goal is to achieve an exchange from which all parties can learn.
From July 10 to 21, 2017, !DROPS and the partners facilitated the We For Talent Hackathon in Lilongwe, Malawi. About 20 local students were introduced to several digital tools and devices in order to improve their digital skills. They also learned more about Internet of Things (IoT) and coding. After a couple of days, it was time to use their newly acquired skills for problem-solving purposes.
The students split up in teams and decided what subjects they wanted to tackle during this training. These subjects were based on challenges they experienced in their daily life, such as unfair prices for public transport or a lack of medicine in hospitals. Once the subject was determined, each group started to work hard on a possible solution.
Each group made sure they finished a prototype of their solution by the last day of the training, which they pitched to the other groups and a professional jury.
Team KANSA came up with the idea to implements sensors in greenhouses. With the sensors, farmers can monitor the soil of their crops and adjust their care if necessary.
The TAGZ-team wants a better distribution of electricity in the health sector. They want to do this by providing every hospital with back-up solar panels, to avoid deaths due to blackouts.
RASTECH wants to tackle the problems with public transport in Lilongwe. Many mini buses charge unreasonably high prices and it’s not always easy to find transport nearby. The team developed a system that allows users to pay fair prices and request tailored transport.
THE RAZATHORNS developed an app that indicates where specific medication is available in your area. Through the app, doctors can also provide pharmacies with prescriptions right away.
The teams received constructive feedback, after which the jury chose a winner. All ideas were promising and inventive, but team RASTECH was chosen as the winning team, partly by their professional presentation and decent prototype.
Now that the We For Talent training is finished, participants are actively coached by mHub. They can also request e-coaching from !DROPS or Cisco Networking Academy.
This project is a collaboration with: