By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
In a bid to help countries in fostering youth innovation and employing new technologies in the fight against corruption, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, has kicked off a month-long hackathon in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa with over 1700 application entries from Nigeria.
Newsdiaryonline learnt that hackathon – Coding4Integrity – is one of the ways UNODC is actively working to promote the development of sustainable ICT-based anti-corruption solutions and, ultimately, to advance the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption,UNCAC.
Over 1700 application entries were received from Nigeria – the largest number of entries across all of the five countries participating in the anti-corruption hackathon. Twenty teams (out of the 1700) were selected to participate in the initial round of the Hackathon. Of the 20 teams, 9 teams have advanced to the 2nd phase of the hackathon and pitch their ideas today to a group of local and international jurors.
According to Lanre Olaniyan, a representative of SoftStructures, one of the event’s sponsors, the hackathon will help bridging the digital divide that currently plagues technological development in Nigeria and Africa at large.
“The hackathon provides young and daring developers/software engineers’ opportunities to display their skills, logical thinking, and technology-based approach to contemporary issues affecting humanity.
” It allows the participants to display their talents to other enthusiasts and industry players who may help them develop their skills or the solutions proposed from the hackathon to unprecedented levels. For the 2021 event, we are committed to our promise of One million naira (N1000,000) to top winners and internship opportunities for the top 3 winners”, stated Olaniyan.
Commenting on the importance of the hackathon to youths and the fight against corruption in Nigeria, Kwarsen Shedrack Titus of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations observed: “The innovative idea of these youths will lead many African countries to establish e-government services that would allow the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in connection with government functions and procedures, with the purpose of increasing efficiency, accountability, and transparency in the system”.
“The Hackathon event will really expose the youth to challenges bordering their countries, in other for them to tailor the coding skills towards addressing the exact and pressing needs of their countries or even the entire continent,” said Mr.Akilu Umar, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – EFCC.
Speaking also, Adebayo Komolafe, Ennovate Lab, Ltd, said, “I have always believed in the power of technology to lead transformation across many industries. But this project was surreal for me. Seeing young minds gather to build and “code for integrity” was a delight! I believe the solutions that emerge out of this hackathon are only the beginning. A movement of young people will be birthed who do not just complain but build solutions that matter. We are glad to have partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes on this monumental project.”
The coding4integrity hackathon will be the third justice related hackathon Nigerian youths are participating in with support from UNODC since 2019.