GirlCode to host Inaugural Virtual Hackathon to overcome COVID-19 challenges



Zandile Mkwanazi

The global pandemic COVID-19’s impact on the vulnerable populations of our Country is unprecedented, reminding us that the only thing that is constant is change. This year more than ever, we realise the importance of technology in our lives. With various lockdown restrictions imposed, technology was and still is relevant to allow us to work, transact and to keep us connected.

For GirlCode, the new normal presented a unique opportunity to provide innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide, hence the seventh instalment of the GirlCode Annual Hackathon, dubbed “Hack from Home” will be a virtual hackathon to overcome the COVID-19 challenges. The event will be held in August to coincide with the Women’s Month celebration.

The objective being to entrench and elevate interest in coding and in turn, afford tertiary students eager to join to the software industry with an opportunity to develop practical skills needed to enter the corporate environment.

GirlCode anticipates hosting participants from all over South Africa who will stand a chance to win prizes ranging from laptops to tablets and a grand prize of R10 000. Individuals may enter the hackathon as part of a group of two and a maximum four per group.

Registration will be opened from 1 July and close on 24 July 2020 and all interested can use this link to register.

“We are thrilled to host our inaugural virtual hackathon. I encourage participants to think about local solutions that relate to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the context of a COVID-19 period. To build solutions that connect people and drive better productivity.

This can be a solution about local deliveries, small businesses serving their communities, women in rural areas selling their beaded work online, the sky is the limit”, encourages GirlCode Chairwoman. Ms Zandile Mkwanazi. 


About GirlCode Hackathon Sponsors

This year’s hackathon Gold Sponsors encompass three partners Synthesis, Mint and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

We have worked with AWS for the past three years to help bridge the digital skills in South Africa. An organisation that believes in building strong communities, encourages innovation and fosters inclusion and diversity within the ICT industry. They offer young women studying towards their IT qualification, who are in the hackathon programme the opportunity to be recruited into their 3-month Graduate programme giving them a platform to learn various traits, says Mkwanazi.

We are honoured to be part of the hackathon initiative. Synthesis always strives to encourage innovation and ‘out of the box’ thinking. GirlCode fits well with all that Synthesis would like to achieve and develop within the youth market.  It has created an outstanding platform to collaborate and support individuals who are truly passionate about becoming a part of the next technological revolution.

The 24hours of the hackathon will have true creative juices flowing coupled with fun attempts on new edge technology and I am excited to see the outcome, said the Machine Learning Engineer, Ms Archana Arakkal.

Mint has also sponsored the GirlCode Hackathon for the third consecutive year. An organisation that have prioritised diversity and inclusion to ensure more young women, especially those from disadvantaged background have information and access to the multitude of opportunities that this industry presents.

Mint is passionate about having more women in the technology space given the career possibilities that could enable girls and young women to carve out a successful future for themselves and their families. Mint sees tremendous value in partnering with GirlCode and supporting their annual hackathon, and we look forward to the 2020 event and seeing the calibre of skills demonstrated by all the participants says Lauren Clark, Head of People.

Amongst the sponsors, we will also have Royal HaskoningDHV an independent, international engineering and project management consultancy with more than 137 years who will be our Silver Sponsor while South Africa's leading software engineering and solutions company established in 2001 will be our Bronze Sponsor. We at GirlCode are grateful for committing to help us empower and reach more girls, especially now in a time of uncertainty, concluded Mkwanazi.