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SAIS Programme Zambia Innovations Hackathon : Enhancing Productivity through Mobile Apps

Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme Zambia

Friday, 22 February 2013 at 09:00 - Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 20:00

SAIS Programme Zambia Innovations Hackathon :...

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Event Details

Mobile Apps for Sustainable Development 

Zambia has joined the global community in crowd-sourcing knowledge to address social challenges as well as to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Crowd-sourcing through Hackathons has hitherto proved to be the most effective open innovation platform for countries and enterprises to utlilize the immense potential that exist in the community. Motivated by the many social and economic challenges, the SAIS Programme in Zambia is pioneering the use of Hackathons as one of the sustainable approaches to innovation promotion. In this regard, the Programme has planned to hold a  2-day National Hackathon in Lusaka focusing on Mobile Applications from February 21 to 22, 2013.

This very special Mobile Apps Hackathon is the first of the many that  the SAIS Programme  is to support and is designed for both technical & non-technical attendees who will compete for prizes to develop innovative mobile applications for 1) enhancing  efficiency in the use of energy, 2) for increasing local and international trade, and 3) for improving access to quality health services.

Other expected participants will include successful entrepreneurs, university representatives, technology experts, representatives of government agencies, representatives of business incubators, innovation centers, subject matter experts within the three thematic areas of the Hackathon. These will particpate as either the jury, mentors or facilitators, among others.

Selected mobile developers will benefit from intensive knowledge sharing and exposure, great speakers and some awesome prizes to be provided by our sponsors in addition to having prospects for  creating business ventures out of the Hackathon inventions.  

Applications are therefore encouraged from members of the public with potential to develop innovative Mobile Apps in the three proposed thematic areas.

Challenges for the Hackathon

Energy: more effective usage, awareness on clean energy

The Zambian consumer of electricity is currently faced with periodic interruptions in electricity power supply in addition to the widely perceived high cost of the commodity. Against these challenges, it is the wish of Government to provide “universal access to clean, reliable and affordable energy at the lowest total economic, financial, social and environmental cost to all Zambians consistent with national development goals by 2030”.

eCommerce: Reducing Transactions Costs

In spite of graduating into lower-middle income status, the incidence of poverty in Zambia remains at undesirable levels partly due to the relatively high cost of living induced by the high cost of doing business. Industry experts and policy makers have identified low ICT use by way of e-commerce as a contributing factor. Evidence from the developed and emerging economies reveals that e-commerce is a lot more economical especially for an enterprise in a developing country because it reduces logistical problems and transaction costs associated with limited physical infrastructure that characterizes these regions. In this regard, Government has resolved “to increase coverage, access and efficiency in the provision of Information and Communications Technology and meteorological services in order to contribute to sustainable national economic growth”.

Health: Low Access to Healthcare

Reports from the health sector on the status of health for the majority of Zambians point to notable reductions in infant and maternal mortality rates and in the disease burden in general. Reductions have been recorded in the prevalence of malaria, HIV/AIDS infections and TB transmissions, among others. However, these successes appear not to be commensurate with the newly acquired status of a lower middle income country. Further, a concern has arisen that Zambia may not achieve its health targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Policy makers and experts attribute this to a weak health delivery system and are convinced that mainstreaming ICTs in the system could enhance its effectiveness and hence Zambia’s chances of attaining the MDGs.

Events Schedule

The following is a list of the agenda:


  • 9.00-9.30am Thursday Morning-Registration
  •  9.30-10.00 am Thursday Morning- Introduction
  • 10.00 – 11.00am - Thursday Morning- Brainstorming: Participants are invited to present in 2 minutes their ideas and to discuss them with peers and tech/subject matter experts available
  • 11.00-11.15am- Thursday Morning-Coffee-break
  •  11.15 – 13.00pm-Thursday Afternoon- Hacking begins: teams working on prototypes development
  • 13.00-13.30pm-Thursday Afternoon-Lunch
  • 13.30 – 19.30pm-Thursday Afternoon-Hacking continues: teams working on prototypes development
  • 19.30-20.00pm-Thursday Evening-Next day agenda presentation, questions.


  •  9.00- 11.00am- Friday Morning- Finalization of prototype development and presentations
  •  11.00 – 11.15am- Friday Morning-Coffee-break
  • 11.15 – 13.00am- Friday Morning- Pitching ideas in front of jury panel
  • 13.00 - 13.30pm- Friday Morning- Lunch
  • 13.30 – 16.00pm- Friday Morning- Pitching ideas in front of jury panel
  • 16.00 - 17.00pm- Friday Morning- Close discussion of jury panel, evaluation and selection of winners
  • 17.00 - 18.30pm- Friday Morning- Closing ceremony, awards, reception


The following prizes are experiential and geared towards accelerating you towards a successful business as well as expanding your network and industry knowledge:

1st Prize:

  • A Return Trip for the Team to a Mobile Apps Hub or Innovation Summit
  • One Laptop
  • Three Smart Phones
  • One Year 4G Broadband Subscription

2nd Prize:

  • One Laptop
  • One Smart Phone
  • One Year 4G Broadband Subscription

3rd Prize

  • One Laptop
  • Six Months 4G Broadband Subscription

Judging Criteria

Apps will be judged based on the criteria below and weighted accordingly.  

*Please see official rules for full details

  •  20% Weight- Potential development impact: What is significance of the problem/development topic and app's ability/potential to address the problem (on a large scale)?
  •  20% Weight- Novelty and innovation: Is it fresh idea, or a new approach to an old problem, or an improvement to existing approach?
  • 20% Weight- Feasibility- Can the prototype be turned into a successful product (mobile application) and into profitable/sustainable startup in the future.
  • 20% Weight- Clarity of presentation: How well the team covered and presented all aspects of their prototype and its confidence in the idea
  • 20% Weight- Team: Is team capable of further development of the idea/prototype?

Overall objective is to mobilize local tech communities and to help mobile apps developers to learn, develop and bring their ideas to the next stage by providing the environment and resources needed to succeed.

The Hackathon is planned for 2 days and is team-based, i.e. participants are expected to apply and to work in small groups of up to three people and to come up with a prototype at the end of the Hackathon.

Mobile Innovation Hackathon has no any restrictions in terms of mobile application development platform to be used; each team will be free to choose any platform to work on (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, mobile web).

To participate, please register by submitting your idea(s) on this website or contact  the organiser for enquiries. 





Do you have questions about SAIS Programme Zambia Innovations Hackathon : Enhancing Productivity through Mobile Apps? Contact Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme Zambia

When & Where

Mpulungu Road
Lusaka, Lusaka

Friday, 22 February 2013 at 09:00 - Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 20:00

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Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme Zambia

The Southern Africa innovation Support (SAIS) programme aims at supporting a regional innovation system in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). 

Implementation of the pilot programme is anchored by four Partner Institutions, namely Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), Gaborone, Mozambique ICT Institute (MICTI), Maputo, Namibia Business Innovation Centre (NBIC), Windhoek and National Technology Business Centre, Lusaka, Zambia and SADC as the regional coordination mechanism, as well as with South Africa as the SAIS knowledge sharing partner.

  Contact the Organiser
SAIS Programme Zambia Innovations Hackathon : Enhancing Productivity through Mobile Apps
Lusaka Events Course

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