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Regional News of Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Source: MEST

MEST and UNICEF Ghana to launch hackathon

Theme: Solving BIG problems using little technology

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in partnership with UNICEF Ghana will this week launch the MEST-UNICEF Hackathon, a three-day product development competition to find new technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana. Participants will tackle issues ranging from water supply tracking, to access to information, and sanitation.

Over 3 days (from 15th -17th January 2014), participants will work in teams to develop practical web or mobile applications that address a set of problem statements presented by UNICEF Ghana. On 17th January, the teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges from UNICEF Ghana and MTN Ghana, and the top three teams will receive GHC5,000, GHC2,500 and GHC1,000 respectively.

“MEST is dedicated to supporting young and bright Africans to start their own software companies to create wealth and jobs in Africa. Our goal is that by setting this pace we can inspire generations that follow to achieve greatness in the continent.” Ekua Odoom, Managing Director - MEST said.

“We know talent is equally distributed but wealth is not and by creating opportunities like this we are showing the world how inspirational, talented and promising the youth in Africa are. And for this reason we are excited to partner with key development players such as UNICEF Ghana, to pursue this common vision of touching the continent in a phenomenal way- by helping find innovative technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana through this hackathon” Ms. Odoom said.

Over 100 of Ghana’s brightest tech minds will join the competition at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) at East Legon. Participants will be joined by guests from the technology and business communities, as well as members of the general public.

“New ideas and technologies are needed to serve the hardest to reach communities in Ghana. UNICEF aims to co-develop innovations that are driven by and suited to the needs of the most vulnerable,” UNICEF Ghana Country Representative Susan Namondo Ngongi said.

“Partnering with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology gives UNICEF the opportunity to encourage innovations by Ghanaians, for Ghanaians. This partnership will bring different sets of skills, viewpoints and influence to the table.

“Most of the problem statements presented by UNICEF are around how we, working with our partners, improve our ability to target resources and monitor and manage results.

“We believe that this hackathon will come up with innovative concepts that can be further refined to improve the lives of children in Ghana.” Ms Ngongi said. Follow @UNICEFGhana and @MESTGhana on twitter for live updates.

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