Earlier this month, a women-only hackathon was held in Johannesburg which challenged entrants to come up with innovative ideas, and code a working prototype in just 48 hours.
Four Honours students from UCT won the event with an idea for a website called Amava – isiXhosa for “experience” – that connects volunteers with NGOs. Their prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley in the USA, where they will have the chance to meet some of the industry’s bigwigs, be exposed to new ideas, and do some networking.
The four Honours students are Kungela Mzuku, Lorna Nqodi, Valerie Tshiani, and Fadzai Mupfunya, all from UCT’s Information Systems department.
According to Times Live, team member Lorna Nqodi commented that “Amava is targeted at unemployed millennials and people who want to upskill themselves. It directly links volunteers with roles that are advertised in the workforce. These include posts for accounting‚ engineering and software development that are needed by NGOs that can’t afford to hire these skills.”
The event was run by a non-profit organisation called GirlCode, which aims to promote and support the skills of women in the tech industry. Organisers say they had previously noticed how hackathons were primarily attended by men, and set out to create an event just for women that would allow them to show off and develop their skills.
Vice-chairwoman of GirlCode, Jeanette Theu, said “At most hackathons‚ the main incentives are cash prizes‚ international trips and bragging rates‚ But we believe that women would be more drawn to a more altruistic goal‚ projects that will make a difference to society as a whole.”
The GirlCode hackathon has become an annual event, taking place in the first week of August – Women’s Month. The organisers say it attracts more women each every year, exposing ever-more women to the world of coding.
[Source – Times Live, GirlCode Official Site]