Coders tackle de­vel­op­ment chal­lenges

Lesotho Times - - News - Bereng Mpaki

THE 2016 edi­tion of Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion’s pro­gram­ming com­pe­ti­tion Code 4 de­vel­op­ment Hackathon has un­earthed two out­stand­ing so­lu­tions that have the ca­pac­ity to solve ex­ist­ing real life chal­lenges.

Code 4 de­vel­op­ment Hackathon is an an­nual com­puter pro­gram­ming com­pe­ti­tion where pro­gram­mers, en­trepreneurs, de­sign­ers and hack­ing en­thu­si­asts from all cor­ners of Le­sotho come to­gether to build im­ple­mentable so­lu­tions to prob­lems in busi­ness and var­i­ous ar­eas of so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

It has been held since 2014 when Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion en­tered into a part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho (NUL)’S Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy So­ci­ety.

This year’s event which was held on the 19th and 20th of Novem­ber dur­ing the En­trepreneur­ship Expo, pro­duced among other things, a bank­ing so­lu­tion and a pot­hole de­tec­tion so­lu­tion.

There were three cat­e­gories in­clud­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions where par­tic­i­pants were chal­lenged to de­velop a na­tional em­ploy­ment data­base man­age­ment so­lu­tion for use by gov­ern­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and the gen­eral pub­lic.

There was also a bank­ing cat­e­gory where par­tic­i­pants were chal­lenged to de­velop a so­lu­tion to help banks to “Know Their-cus­tomer” and ver­ify their client’s in­for­ma­tion.

The third was an open cat­e­gory where par­tic­i­pants could build any so­lu­tion of their choice to a prob­lem they iden­ti­fied in so­ci­ety or in busi­ness.

Molefi Mokoebo, who pro­duced the win­ning pot­hole de­tec­tion so­lu­tion, told the Le­sotho Times he ended up de­vel­op­ing the so­lu­tion to a real life prob­lem he had ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand af­ter en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion just to sharpen his pro­gram­ming skills.

Mr Mokoebo said his so­lu­tion was in­spired by an un­pleas­ant in­ci­dent where one of the tyres of his fam­ily car was punc­tured af­ter hit­ting a pot­hole on their way from his grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

He holds a Bach­e­lor of En­gi­neer­ing in Com­puter Sys­tems and Net­works from the NUL.

“That in­ci­dent which turned me into a me­chanic on my grad­u­a­tion day, led me to think about a so­lu­tion for quickly de­tect­ing pot­holes so that they could be fixed be­fore they caused sim­i­lar prob­lems to other mo­torists,” he said.

For her part, Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Thato Mo­chone said her or­gan­i­sa­tion sought to im­prove lives through the use of tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate so­lu­tions to ev­ery­day chal­lenges.

“We have used our tech­nol­ogy in var­i­ous ar­eas to bet­ter the lives of Ba­sotho, through our prod­ucts and ser­vices, or through our tech­nol­ogy in health and ed­u­ca­tion trans­form­ing the way health­care and ed­u­ca­tion is ac­cessed and de­liv­ered in Le­sotho.

“This is yet an­other way to ex­pand the scope and tackle more ar­eas of de­vel­op­ment where tech­nol­ogy can play a key role,” she said.

She said the win­ners would re­ceive sup­port worth M10 000 to en­sure their so­lu­tions were ac­tu­ally used to solve prob­lems in or­der to change the lives of Ba­sotho.

“We want to scale up the im­pact and sus­tain­abil­ity of the win­ning projects to en­sure that they do not just end in the cod­ing room but are ac­tu­ally im­ple­mented for the bet­ter­ment of the peo­ple,” she said.

She said this year’s com­pe­ti­tion fea­tured high school stu­dents for the first time, in ad­di­tion to par­tic­i­pants from the usual lo­cal and South African ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions as well as en­trepreneurs and pro­gram­mers in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries.

a group of four win­ners for the bank­ing so­lu­tion.

molefi mokeobo win­ner of Hackathon open cat­e­gory

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