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Call for entries: African Youth encouraged to participate on Anti-Corruption Hackathon

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The emergence of new technologies is presenting opportunities for progressive young people in five African countries to help build smarter governments that are able to use technology to curb fraud and corruption.

In this regard, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is calling young people who are more tech-savvy to showcase their skills and ideas on how technology can help fight corruption, advance peace, justice and strong institutions.

Young people aged 18-35 in South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal are eligible to enter the virtual four-week long African Youth Anti-Corruption Hackathon technology challenge.

The objectives of the Hackathon is to promote the usage of information and communications technologies (ICT) to prevent, combat corruption in Africa and also aimed at affording a platform for young developers to come up with their own ideas on how to counter corruption through technologies. In South Africa, the UNODC is collaborating with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as well as the private sector.

The Hackathon challenge will also promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) through enhancing public-private partnerships in the development of sustainable ICT-based anti-corruption solutions.

The challenge also seek to promote youth engagement; employment, innovation and technology, and is anticipated that it will also increase efficiency and effectiveness in public administration and service delivery.

DPSA’s Deputy Director for Oversight and Interventions in the Public Administration- Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEIDTAU), Mr Thabang Molobela, said in all the five participating countries, the Hackathon is expected to increase transparency, accountability, accessibility to state and public services.

“The Hackathon would be held virtually on Untap-Compete.com and Microsoft Teams, registered participants will receive confirmation of their successful application by 27 September 2021.

“The Hackathon will officially commence on October 4, 2021 and subsequently participants will be engaged in one week of ideation and team formation, two weeks of coding with the final submissions being made by October 27 2021.

“During the course of the hackathon, mentorship, product development, ideation and technical webinars will be organised for the participants. The winners will be announced on October, 31 2021.” he said.

What the UNODC is looking for

The hackathon is open to young creative people who have basic coding skills and some experience with one or more development technologies; are nationals of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa; have knowledge of Java, JavaScript, C++, Python; are proficient in English; and are passionate about using their tech skills to design digitally innovative solutions to promote integrity and tackle corruption in their respective countries.

Thematic Areas

Participants will be challenged to develop an ICT-based idea or solution that address one or more of the following themes:

·         Transparency in public administration, for instance non-cash-based payments and traceability;

·         Safe and reliable reporting of corruption (whistle-blowing promotion and protection);

·         Transparency in public procurement and the administration of public finances, with a focus on the health sector;

·         Financial investigation solutions ; and

·         Other areas relevant to UNCAC.

Teams and tracks

While the application form allows participants to apply either individually or as a team, the individual applicants will be grouped in teams during the first week of the Hackathon. Therefore, participants will be grouped in teams of four members. Each team will work in one of the following tracks based on the type of technology that the team will create:

Track 1: Blockchain Dapp developing

Track 2: AI developing

Track 3: Web2 developing 

The award

The winning teams will be invited to present their projects and ideas to the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (COSP), to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in December this year.

The COSP will bring together anti-corruption experts from more than 180 countries and will serve as a great opportunity for the winning teams to promote and seek further support for the development of their ICT-based solutions.  

UNODC will cover the travel and accommodation for the winning teams in accordance with the UN travel regulations.

All those who are interested including female candidates are encouraged to apply for the Hackathon on www.coding4integrity.com before September 20, 2021.