Every three hours a woman is murdered in South Africa, and the country has the fourth highest female interpersonal violence death rate in the world.
South Africa’s rape statistics are amongst the highest globally, with an average of 114 rapes being reported to the police every day.
The theme of gender-based violence will be the focus of the first of four hackathons taking place in Cape Town and Johannesburg over a one-year period as part of an initiative by the US Embassy in South Africa called “Hackathons for South Africa: Digital Solutions for Real World Challenges”.
The inaugural hackathon will be held in the EY premises at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town over the weekend of 23 and 24 November 2019. Emerging software developers, IT professionals, trainers, civil society organisations, students, academics and professionals with expertise relevant to the theme are all invited to attend the event and create innovative digital solutions to the problem of gender-based violence.
During the hackathon, attendees will explore what can be done to make communities safer, investigate how best to respond to threats, and produce tech that could save lives.
The winning team will walk away with R25 000, the runner up will receive R15 000 and there will be R5 000 in spot prizes up for grabs.
Through the implementation partner Silicon Cape, an ecosystem enabler for tech-enabled startups, the winner will be connected with accelerators, mentors and other relevant community members such as developers, angel investors and venture capitalists to help bring their solution to life.
Amazon Web Services will also give the winning team access to the low cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to scale and grow via the AWS Activate programme which includes benefits like $10 000 worth of AWS Promotional Credits, valid for two years; AWS Business Support valued at $5 000 which is valid for up to one year and a solution architect technical whiteboarding session.
Will Stevens, deputy consul general at the US Consulate in Cape Town, says: “The scourge of gender-based violence is something that affects our communities here in South Africa as well as the United States, and we must stand together to stop it. By bringing together South African and American civic activists, coders, and creatives, we believe that this hackathon will offer real solutions to help tackle the problem in both our societies.”
Silicon Cape chairperson Dr Sumarie Roodt adds: “Through these hackathons we hope to bring real solutions to the fore that could help real people to either change their reality or perception for the better. We want to instil hope and would like to upskill all participants with new mental models and frameworks that they could apply to other areas of their working or personal lives. Most importantly, we want to build stronger communities and build a bridge between South Africa and the US.”