Nailab’s Kisumu Hackathon Edition

Participant's busy brainstorming on their solutions during the Kisumu Hackathon

Participant’s busy brainstorming on their solutions during the Kisumu Hackathon


It’s our first outreach event for 2014, the month is May, the location is Kisumu. We are both excited and also nervous, not sure what to expect in regards to tech entrepreneurship in the region. With the help of our partners, Lake Hub, Maseno University and ICT Authority, the 2-day hackathon kicks off at 9:00 am on the 16th of May. The hackathon is themed around Health, insecurity and unemployment and a total 62 participants turn-up on th e first day. Their mission: to build viable solutions that can be adopted in the region. This is very exciting for us. Clearly the drive for tech-entrepreneurship is burning in the region. Entrepreneurs come from far and wide and definitely not left behind are guys from Maseno University, Nairobi University and a number of colleges within the region.

Day 1

Kicks off with a general introduction of the judges, mentors and all the participants. Nailab product development manager, Billy Odero, takes the hackers through what is expected of them throughout the two days detailing the guidelines on how the solutions will be evaluated if they are viable.

It’s interesting to note that most of the participants either have a half developed product or already seem to know what they would like to develop. Solutions pitched for development are:

  • Health101
  • Get connected to health centre
  • DV
  • Kisumu Info
  • Health Facility Alert
  • Afya Instant
  • Smart Clinic
  • PataKibarua
  • MailIFo
  • STI-App
  • PoliSearch
  • M-Security
  • Database Future

The hacking sessions officially begin. After half a day of working on their prototypes, the hackers retire by 6 pm, eager to start of the following day with great leads.

Day 2

It’s a warm Saturday morning in Kisumu. 9:00 am and participants start checking in to continue working on their prototypes. It’s clearly going to be a competitive day based on the solutions that have been submitted. Time is not on their side though, with only 4 hours to complete the prototypes, the entrepreneurs quickly get to work.

As the day progresses and submissions are completed, its clearly visible that health is a major problem in the region with more than 70% of the solutions being developed addressing health issues.

At 2:00pm the pitches commence and all 13 solutions are very promising but 3 specific one’s catch everyone’s attention:

  1. STI-App: An android application developed to help self diagnose STI symptoms and know the kind of medication to seek. The application also helps the users learn the extent of their infections, the medication to use for its cure and where to get the said medicine.
  2. M-Security: An application that is tailored to help police search and share information about culprits with colleagues. This is done through the use of an SMS platform to help in distribution of the information and use of GPS to locate the exact place where the culprit is. This will help reduce the insecurity cases in the local community, which have been reported to be on the rise.
  3. “PataKibarua” an App addressing unemployment where the people seeking employment from the informal sector get updates on the jobs available in their local region. PataKibarua will undertake this by sending SMS’s to subscribers based on their location and they will also have a web and mobile based platform listing available jobs per location

All in all it was a productive and educative 2 days in Kisumu and with the promise of another Hackathon by the Kisumu County Director for special projects, Mr. Eric Odida, it was clear that the government is also behind the adoption of the solutions developed by ensuring that they all see the light of day.

A big thank you to the Kisumu tech community, Lake Hub and ICT Authority for making this happen.

For images on the Kisumu Hackathon: Kisumu Hackathon in Pictures