First ever virtual Hackathon combating COVID-19 corruption in Kenya

Written by: Caroline Giathi and Johanna Ejderstedt.

Hem/Nyheter/First ever virtual Hackathon combating COVID-19 corruption in Kenya

The first ever COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon took place in Kenya in mid-February. A group of young creative Kenyan techies competed to develop the best way to visualise data on the COVID-19 Aid Tracker. The Aid Tracker is developed to track corruption of funds meant for activities combatting the effects of COVID-19.

Five teams of young techies participated in the Hackathon to develop the best way to visualise data on the COVID-19 Aid Tracker. A hackathon is an event where computer programmers and software developers create user friendly and visually attractive software or hardware. The five teams had three members each, with a mixture of male and female participants. The team names were: Robstanne; Masters Of JS; The 3 Musketeers; Kiboko Bytes; and Wakadinali.

“Good visualisation of data make information accessible to more people. We especially want journalists to use the COVID-19 Aid Tracker to reveal corruption”, explains Titus Gitonga from the Media-Tech Hub and one of the organisers of the Hackathon.

The winning team

A judging panel consisting of software developers from Africa Voices Foundation, Magamba Network, the COVID-19 Aid Tracker developer and project lead from TI-Kenya reviewed the pitching made by the teams and awarded points.

“The judges were impressed by the level of creativity and innovation demonstrated by the competing teams ”, says Titus Gitonga.

The 3 Musketeers emerged as the winners for the 254 COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon having made a very compelling pitch with clear and simplified visualizations.

“The winning team covered all aspects of the Aid Tracker including clear categorization between different sources, expenditure tracking, and good illustrations of the different types of in-kind support given”, continues Titus Gitonga.

The winners received a grant worth 200,000 Kenyan Shillings (SEK 20 000) and will be part of implementing the winning solution on the COVID-19 Aid Tracker. All participants will also receive awards and opportunities to be part of future social change software events to support transparency and accountability initiatives. The next event will focus on how to crowd source and present COVID-19 corruption cases. In addition to a regional collaboration between TI-Kenya and Magamba Network to have a hackathon to further develop the FollowCOVIDMoney site

“It has been amazing to participate and see what other groups have done. We really have learnt a lot!” says Dawn Chemoiwa, developer from Kiboko Bytes Team.

Linking Tech to Investigative Journalism

The project team will soon hold a 2-day webinar for investigative journalists in collaboration with Magamba Network from Zimbabwe. The main objective is to give journalists opportunities to pitch stories they find on the different COVID-19 data platforms.

“There are very important stories revealed on the COVID-19 data platforms that media should pick-up in order to create awareness and expose accountability issues in the use of COVID-19 resources”, says Titus Gitonga.

The Aid tracker is developed under the Action for Transparency project, which is financed by the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi. Through engaging software developers under the Media-Tech Hub, it will further be enhanced in order to track corruption cases on funds meant for activities concerning COVID-19. Media-Tech Hub is a 1-year project financed by Swedish Institute Creative Force and the Consortium for Human Rights and Media in Africa (CHARM). Fojo Media Institute together with Kenyan partner organisation TI-Kenya are establishing the online platform Media-Tech Hub to provide support, training and mentorship to Kenyan journalists to increase knowledge of investigative journalism focused on corruption.

The Hackathon was organised by TI-Kenya and Fojo together with five other regional organisations: Magamba Network (Zimbabawe); Africa’s Voices FoundationTechnosol Africa; Innovation for Change (I4C) Africa Hub; and IREX Kenya.

Keep your eyes open for more activities and hackathons – the regional cooperation continues!

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