In total 108 teams joined the hackathon to fight COVID19 in Namibia. Over 400 participants worked on solutions and submitted 52 prototypes for assessment to the judges. StartUp Namibia hosted, on behalf of the German and Namibian Government, the 54-hour hackathon session in the weekend of 17 to 19 April 2020 titled #NamibiaHacksCovid19. The online event was created through a partnership by GIZ with Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialization and Trade as well as the Ministry of Health and Social Services, with support of Namibia Green Enterprise Solutions, Dololo Namibia and NUST. Daisry Mathias from the Office of the President was on hand as one of the judges and mentor, as were industry leaders.
The eager and diverse teams focused on finding solutions that would act as a catalyst to support the health system and businesses. The #Namibia HacksCovid19 teams were represented by people from the tech sector, interdisciplinary teams, developer communities, university students, health professionals and businesses. Due to the nationwide lockdown and the measures in place, the event took place exclusively online.
The ideas and concepts were very wide-ranging and all had great merit. The judges included Kehad Snydelwel of Green Enterprise Solutions, Kirstin Wiedow of Greentec Capital, Daisry Mathias of the Office of the President and Anna Vambe of Germany’s GIZ, representing StartUp Namibia. These judges had the unenviable task of deciding which ideas and concepts had the greatest chance of being impactful and deliverable within a relatively short timeframe. Whilst at the same time taking into account social impact, degree of innovation, feasibility and scalability, how close the solution is to making it to the market, and its ease of use.
The winners of the #NamibiaHacks Covid19 Hackathon were awarded with a cash prize of N$ 50.000,- while the runner up received N$ 25.000,- and the third prize is N$ 15.000,-. Prizes have been given both in the Health and Business Continuity categories. The prize money was co-sponsored by Green Enterprise Solutions. The winners in each category were as follows:
The #NamibiaHacksCovid19 Hackathon HEALTH Solutions
The third prize and N$ 15.000,- went to Ergo Analytics, who offer a solution to improve contract tracing through technology, and therefore reducing the risk of new waves of COVID 19 infections after the Government lifts the lockdown. The second prize was taken by AwehDoctors from the Team Mad Engineers, who offer a solution to doctors to treat patients telephonically for minor issues. By doing so, the number of patients at public hospitals and clinics is reduced, and the risk of infection is decreased. The second prize is worth N$ 25.000,-
The big winner in the category Health is COVID19 SELF REPORTING ONLINE CONSULTING PORTAL, from the Onandete team. Onandete proposes a platform to speed up efforts to detect possible cases and assist the authorities in identifying persons who should be tested on. The winner walked away with a cash prize of N$ 50.000,-.
The #NamibiaHacksCovid19 Hackathon BUSINESS CONTINUITY Solutions
The third prize went to HoverMarket, an e-commerce mall connecting informal vendors as well as taxi drivers to customers. The winning team walked away with a cash prize of N$ 15.000,-. The second prize went to Life Changers who developed a messenger mobile application called Run Me an Errand. Using a SMS line, it connects businesses with buyers. The second prize is worth NAD 25.000,-
The grand winner in the Business Continuity category is Namgo (Gerhard Kotze): Namgo is a solution to improve goods deliveries in times of COVID 19. Congratulations to Namgo for your big win and your prize of N$ 50.000,-!
Daisry Mathias from the Office of the President said; “Participating as a judge and a mentor I had no idea what to expect really, however the level of ingenuity and real commitment by the teams amazed me and made me proud of my fellow Namibians.” The different teams and ‘hacks’ that were perceived showed an eagerness and willingness to come up with workable solutions to the pandemic. Ellen Gölz, Chargée d’ Affaires a.i. at the German Embassy, noted; “I am inspired by this initiative which brought together great minds from all walks of life to come up with innovative ideas to fight Covid19 in Namibia. This is not a time to sit around and be idle, but to develop new solutions to address the challenge posed by the virus.”
The winning teams will be given tools to develop their concepts and mentoring by companies like Green Enterprise Solutions and Dololo Namibia. Namibia should see implementation of the ideas and concepts into real tangible solutions within weeks. “The best and the brightest of Namibia have amply demonstrated that they have the talent and drive to create implementable solutions and that pleases us,” said Kehad Snydewel as one of the judges.
To find out more about the winners, see pictures and read about the winning concepts see http://startupnam.org/NamibiaHacksCovid-19/ or check the official hashtag and join the Facebook Group StartUp Namibia Hackathon for regular updates: #Namibia HacksCovid19.