For more information on the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit the South African Government’s official website.

VIRTUAL EVENT  |  JULY 10 – 11 2020

Join us for a COVID-19 Water and Sanitation virtual hackathon.
This 48-hour event aims to find digital and technology solutions to
water and sanitation problems in a time of COVID-19.

Registrations to attend the Hackathon are now open.

Click here to register

48 Hours | 2 Challenges

 

The first challenge will involve solving a COVID-19 water and sanitation challenge using machine learning and data science.

 

The second challenge requires the use of technology to enhance communication and drive behaviour change.

 

Focus Areas:
Knowledge Dissemination
Behaviour Change
Design and Communication
Health and Safety

PROBLEM STATEMENT ONE – Water Research Commission (WRC)

 

The current Coronavirus pandemic has had a transformational impact on everyday life as we know it. It has catapulted the globe into an era of transformation that has personified the adage “adapt or die”. The vulnerabilities in our global health system have never been more stark, while international effort has been centered on curbing the transmission and spread of the virus, it has become evident that the transmission rates of the virus far outpace the measures of intervention.

 

Key mitigation measures against the spread of the disease include regularly washing or sanitizing hands and contact surfaces, covering sneezes/coughs and also practicing social (and physical) distancing, Some of the key elements of this strategy are at times out of reach for the most vulnerable amongst our population, especially those on the African continent in rural, dense and informal settlements where there is no or inadequate or access to shared water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.  Promoting a culture of social (and physical) distancing and human behavior change in such communities requires the implementation of innovative solutions to limit contact and exposure to the disease during service collection and distribution.

 

The challenge:
To solve this challenge, participants are called to ideate and develop appropriate, innovative and COVID-19 compliant information, communication and technology (ICT) solutions for rural and peri-urban communities to prevent these areas becoming hotspots for COVID-19 transmission and spread while accessing the shared WASH services. Solutions need to address the any one or more of the below listed areas

  • Scheduling, alerting and notification to manage communities’ access to WASH services while ensuring compliance to COVID-19 protocols and regulations
  • Distribution and management of WASH services provision by service providers
  • Tracking of WASH services provision by regulators
  • Peer to peer information sharing as means of incentivizing human behaviour change

 

The solutions should take into consideration the constraints around access to information and mobile technology in these communities. Specifically, the solutions should broadly take the following into consideration:

  • Cost of data
  • Language issue
  • Digital literacy
  • Availability of appropriate devices and platforms for information display, sharing and consumption

PROBLEM STATEMENT TWO – WaterNet Water challenge: Hackathon idea

 

Human Water Footprint Tracker
Humans are partly responsible for the pressure on water resources through diets and lifestyle. This is expected to increase and has been partly attributed to lack of knowledge on how our daily habits are affecting water resources. The challenge is to raise awareness to humans on their daily water footprints and how changes in their lifestyle can save water. On a daily basis humans can input all the activities that they have done that consume water from bathing to food consumed and type of energy used. Based on the method used and on the food consumed it will quantify the water footprint. It will also give the option of how one could have reduced the water foot print and the implications on water resources at different scales (household, country, regional and global).

Registrations to attend the Hackathon are now open.

Click here to register

WHO WILL BE PARTICIPATING?

 

The Hackathon will see a diverse group of youth participants ages 16+ with experience levels in categories such as engineering, design, coding, entrepreneurship and data science to name a few work together in a drive to find digital and technology solutions to the two challenges posed. The multi-disciplinary teams will collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can help address the COVID-19 crisis.

PROGRAMME & SPECIAL SESSIONS

Day 1 of Hackathon: Friday, 10th July 2020
Time Activity Participants
09:30 – 09:35 Introduction Video WRC Facilitator
09:35 – 09:40 Opening, Welcome and Housekeeping Rules Ms Khosi Jonas, Executive Manager: Knowledge Management & Communication (WRC)
09:40 – 09:50 WRC CEO’s Address: Intent of Programme and Message of Encouragement to Participants Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO (WRC)
09:50 – 10:00 Partner Address: Message of Encouragement to Participants Dr Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema, Executive Manager (WaterNet)
10:00 – 10:15 Keynote Address: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Prof T Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal (University of Johannesburg)
10:15 Hackathon Participant Videos
Start of Hackathon: Countdown Clock Indicating When Participants Can Tune in Again
Video
10:15 – 10:45 Master Class: Design Thinking Ms Courtney Gehle, Communications Manager (Global Changemakers) and Ms Katherine, Strategy & Finance Director (Global Changemakers)
10:45 – 10:50 Webinar Short Video with Countdown Clock WRC | Leg Stretch – Get some coffee
10:50 – 11:00 Interview: Feedback on Briefing session and what the participants can expect.
Behind the Scenes: Sneak Previews
GeeKulcha/WRC
11:00 – 11:45 Dialogue: Youth and Unemployment in the

Time of COVID-19

Facilitator: Ms Khosi Jonas, Executive Manager: Knowledge Management & Communication (WRC)
Panellists: Mr Waseem Carrim, CEO (NYDA), Mr Yamkela Dyantyi, Business Development Director (Green Youth Network) and Mr Mixo Ngoveni, CEO (GeeKulcha)
11:45 – 12:30 Webinar short Video with Countdown Clock WRC | Leg Stretch – Get some coffee
12:30 – 13:30 WRC101 Workshop Dr Manjusha Sunil, Manager: Water Technologies Demonstration Programme (WRC) and Mr Nkateko Kubayi, Project Administrator (WRC)
13:30 – 14:00 WRC and Partner Promo Videos GeeKulcha YECP Symposium
14:00 Hackathon Continues: Countdown Clock Indicating When Participants Can Tune in Again Video

 

 

Day 2 of Hackathon: Saturday, 11th July 2020
Time Activity Participants
10:30 – 11:30 Video Hour Updates: Mentor/s
Participants
Partner/s
Organisers
GeeKulcha/WRC
11:30 Webinar Short Video with Countdown Clock Video
11:30 – 12:00 Master Class: Elevate Your Pitch Mr Weza Matomane, Executive Director (WTG Media House)
12:00 – 12:30 YECP Showcase WRC
12:30 – 13:00 Let’s Talk IP: How Do You Protect Your Ideas Mr Thabo Mthombeni, Technology Transfer Manager (WRC)
13:00 – 15:00 Hackathon Continues: Countdown Clock Indicating When Participants Can Tune in Again Video
15:00 – 15:30 Highlights of Pitches GeeKulcha
15:30 Webinar short vid with countdown Clock WRC | [Leg Stretch – Get some coffee]
15:30 – 16:00 Highlights of Pitches End of Hackathon
16:00 Overview of Two Days [Hackathon] Way Forward Judging GeeKulcha

SPECIAL SESSIONS

 

As part of the 48-hour Hackathon programme, special sessions open to all attendees have been carefully curated in line with the event’s key focus areas. You can “pre-book” your seat to attend any one of the following sessions.

 

Friday, 10th July 2020
TIME NAME DESCRIPTION
10:15 – 10:45 Master Class: Design Thinking Design thinking is a powerful process of problem solving that begins with understanding unmet customer needs or unsolved social, environmental or economic challenges experienced within societies or organisations. From those insights emerges a process for innovation that encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate for innovation improves substantially. This session aims to introduce you to Global Changemakers Design Thinking Toolkit and share with you the salient elements of successful design thinking.
11:00 – 11:45 Youth and Unemployment in the Time of COVID-19 Technology-driven societal changes, like those being experienced through artificial intelligence and automation, always engender concern and fear as they are advancing at such a fast pace that societies around the world are failing to keep up. In South Africa, the issue of youth unemployment has long been a challenge that has plagued the economy and had already been identified as a priority for government prior to the effects of Covid-19 beginning to manifest themselves. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse for young people.

 

To better understand the challenge and how best youth can transcend our current challenges, the WRC is hosting a roundtable virtual discussion on youth and unemployment in the time of Covid-19 in collaboration with key youth organisations in South Africa with the aim to showcase the programmes and initiatives youth organisations have to offer and to highlight critical ways in which technology could be adopted to solve some of the country’s most pressing problems through the integration of human creativity and the scale, speed and innovation potential of technology.

12:30 – 13:30 WRC101 Workshop The WRC conducts WRC 101 Roadshows on an annual basis in response to the research, development and innovation priorities each year as well as to promote transformation and redress of water research and development within the sector. For the year 2020, the annual call for open and directed project proposals is currently open and closes on 31 July 2020 at 23:30.

 

The objectives of the WRC 101 Workshops are as follows:

•       To create awareness of WRC funding priorities and budgets.

•       To create awareness around the WRC proposal cycle, proposal evaluation and project management processes.

•       Share knowledge on how to manage the technical, administrative and financial aspects of WRC projects.

 

 

Saturday, 11th July 2020
TIME NAME DESCRIPTION
11:30 – 12:00 Master Class: Elevate Your Pitch An elevator pitch is like a first impression for your business or solution; when you give it, you want people to like your business or idea and feel confident about it. To do that, you need a pitch that draws in your listener and strikes the right balance of being concise, clear, and emotionally engaging. However, finding your voice and being able to speak with confidence and power from a platform does not always come naturally to everyone. By attending this session, you will learn how to:

·         Elevate your pitch

·         Sway, command and excite a crowd

·         How to improvise and keep a crowd going

12:30 – 13:00 Let’s Talk IP: How Do You Protect Your Ideas Intellectual property (IP) covers any original ideas, designs, discoveries, inventions and creative work produced by an individual or group. It wasn’t a big deal to protect IP in the past. However, with information more accessible and easier to distribute today due to technology, safeguarding your creations and works from infringers, copycats, and thieves has become vital. Intellectual property is an intangible asset that can be treated as if it were fixed property (e.g. a house) results from the creations of the human mind. It includes registerable and non-registerable property. This session aims to teach you how you can protect your ideas and will aim to address any questions you may have around this topic.

WHAT IS THE COVID-19 WATER AND SANITATION HACKATHON?

 

The COVID-19 Water and Sanitation Hackathon is a 48-hour hackathon on 10 and 11 July to find digital and technology solutions to water and sanitation problems in a time of COVID-19. During the hackathon, multi-disciplinary teams will collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can help address the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Participants will form teams on Friday, July 10 to hone in on key problems and generate solutions, including proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution. Throughout the two-day period, teams will connect with mentors to refine their solutions.

 

On Saturday, July 11, teams will make their submissions to a panel of expert judges. We are focused on connecting teams with the tools and resources needed to develop solutions that can be implemented post the ideation phase. After the event, winning teams will have the opportunity to bring their solutions to life with the support of our partners.

 

There are two challenges to be solved within the 48-hour period. The first challenge will involve solving a COVID-19 water and sanitation challenge using machine learning and data science. The second challenge requires the use of technology to enhance communication and drive behaviour change.

ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

General Event Information

In which languages is the event held?

English is this event’s primary language. Event-wide presentations will be delivered in English. Participant teams’ final presentations will be delivered in English. Each team will be required to have at least one member who is fluent in English.

 

Where is the challenge taking place?

This is a virtual event. Teams will work together throughout the two-day event using the Zoom platform.

 

When will the challenge take place?

The virtual challenge will take place from Friday, July 10 through Saturday, July 11 2020.

 

How much time do I need to commit?

The Challenge is a 48-hour sprint beginning on Friday morning (July 10) and ending on Saturday afternoon (July 11). Since the goal is to rapidly bring meaningful solutions to life, participants should expect to commit all of Friday including the evening, and Saturday morning/early afternoon to the end of the challenge. Participants do not need to be available 24/7 for the duration of the event but should communicate their availability to team members.

 

What happens after the 48 hours?

After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.

 

What do winning teams get?

Winning teams will receive prizes, organizational support, computing resources, and direct access to key partners to further develop, validate and implement solutions developed.

 

Who owns the product/solutions that the teams create?

In an effort to expedite the development and implementation of solutions developed in this event, all products and solutions developed in this event will be open source. All products and solutions developed during this event will be subject to the terms below:

 

The following terms apply to participation in the COVID-19 Water and Sanitation Hackathon (“Hackathon”). Entrants may create original solutions, prototypes, datasets, scripts, or other content, materials, discoveries or inventions (a “Submission”). The Hackathon is organised by the WRC COVID-19 Water and Sanitation Hackathon Organizing Team.

 

Entrants retain ownership of all intellectual and industrial property rights (including moral rights) in and to Submissions.

 

As a condition of submission, Entrants grant the Hackathon Organiser, its subsidiaries, agents and partner companies, without restrictions, a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, adapt, modify, publish, distribute, publicly perform, create a derivative work from, and publicly display the Submission.

 

Entrants provide Submissions on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Entrant represents and warrants that, to the best of his or her knowledge, any work product is Entrant’s own original work and is not within the intellectual property rights of any third party, including any former or current employers. If you are unsure, you should consult any former or current employment agreement to which you are a party. Under no circumstances will Hackathon Organiser be liable to you or any third party for any damages, direct or otherwise, arising out of use of this hackathon work product.

Participation – What You Need & Process Details

Do I have to have a technical or clinical background to participate?

No! Participants of all academic and professional backgrounds as listed above are welcome! Technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required.

 

Do I have to be a WRC student or a WRC partner affiliated to participate?

No! Participants do not need to be affiliated with the WRC or its partners, just need to be eager to participate! As above, technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required.

 

When will I hear back about my application?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and our review team will try its best to respond to applications within a few days of receiving them. The latest you should hear back by is the afternoon on Friday, July 3.

 

How are applications evaluated?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring a diversity of skill sets and demographics are represented among participants. You will receive an email from the WRC COVID-19 Water and Sanitation Hackathon team with an update regarding your acceptance.

 

How are teams formed?

Participants will work together in teams of 5-7 members. We strongly encourage participants to apply individually, and form teams at the event – this event is designed for both pre-existing teams and individuals seeking to join a team. If registering as a team, please indicate the following information on the application form:

• Application as a team

• Team name

• Names of all team members (NOTE: a maximum of seven (7) team members is allowed)

Support – Becoming a Mentor or Partner

How do I become a mentor?

Application to become a mentor is now closed.

 

What is expected of mentors?

Mentors will work with teams based on their experience and expertise. Mentors do not need to be available for the entire weekend. However, mentors who would like to partner with us for the entire duration of the hackathon are more than welcome to do so. Once mentors have been accepted, they will select shifts that best accommodate their schedule.

 

How does my organisation/company become a partner?

Thank you for your interest! Please email zamaz@wrc.org.za. A member of the organising team will contact you to determine how your organisation’s expertise, resources, and reach can be most effectively utilized as a part of this effort.

WHAT IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ANSWERED?

If you have additional questions or press inquiries, please email Ms Zama Zulu on zamaz@wrc.org.za.

OUR PARTNERS