During the first few days of this December, over 1,000 civic technologists collaborated around the world during the Sanitation Hackathon. The Hackathon’s mission was simple in words, but immense in potential impact: “to tackle leading sanitation challenges.” Teams of developers joined to tackle various problem statements that threaten basic livelihood across the globe. Problem statements fell into one or more of seven categories (i.e. governance, handwashing, open defecation, rural, toilets, urban, and waste water).
The Sanitation Hackathon developed out a partnership among leaders in global development (i.e. The World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Random Hacks of Kindness, Eirene, Nokia, Open Cities, and Civic Commons). After numerous awards were designated to leading thinkers, teams of developers embark on the next step in the mission: the Sanitation App Challenge. The Sanitation App Challenge builds on the Sanitation Hackathon’s mission:
“Every day, 2.5 billion people wake up without access to adequate sanitation: a problem that has become a life or death issue in many of the world’s developing regions. How can we help them by using apps to raise awareness and provide local solutions to this global problem? That’s the challenge.”
Developers choose from the problem statements identified during the hackathon, team with colleagues and app challenge experts, and submit apps by the end of February. Those interested can visit the Sanitation App Challenge home page and peruse apps already in progress. Before thinking your individual work cannot benefit a global problem, remember: “big problems need small solutions – a lot of them!”