Nairobi hackathon to tackle rural poverty

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Canadian non-profit­ Developers Without Borders, which runs an online platform connecting software developers worldwide with international development projects, will tomorrow host a 24-hour hackathon between Kenyans and Canadians aimed at developing solutions to tackle rural poverty.

The <Br/eak>Poverty Hackathon, which is taking place in both Toronto and Nairobi, will provide an opportunity for over 200 Canadian and Kenyan software developers to build SMS, hardware or mobile web solutions to improve the health, livelihood, education and agriculture of people in rural Kenya.

These tools can then be applied to similar impoverished regions worldwide, with Toronto charity Free The Children, which works extensively in the Masai Mara region of Kenya, to test launch the winning application through its Adopt a Village programme in rural Kenya.

Danielle Thé, founder of Developers Without Borders, said solutions to problems facing international development would not come about if people work in isolation.

“The core of our <Br/eak>Poverty Hackathons are to build cross­-continental relationships between software developers in different countries. By listening to others before we build, hackathon attendees at <Br/eak>Poverty will create technology tools that aren’t just cool but immensely life changing for people living in poverty,” she said.

“We can’t wait to see how this type of technology can improve the lives of the community members we work with,” said Sarah MacIndoe, director of international programmes at Free The Children.

“It’s about understanding who is going to use the application and the exact scenario in which they will use it,” said John Paul Karijo, community manager at the iHub, where the hackathon in Nairobi is taking place.

“You have to think about the human being at the centre of the problem.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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