Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

RHoK3 - Join us on the 4th and 5th of June

By Jessica Colaço
iHub
  Published 07 May 2011
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RHoK3 - Join us on the 4th and 5th of June

What is Random Hacks of Kindness?

RHoK brings the ever-growing global hacker community together with experts in climate change and disaster risk management to identify critical global challenges, and develop software to respond to them. A RHoK hackathon event draws on the talents and initiative of the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to respond to real-world problems with solutions that can have an immediate impact on the ground.

How does it work?

RHoK organizes hackathons—intensive hacking competitions events with multiple global locations bringing together developers from all over the world to hack on real-­world problems. At every RHoK hackathon, the problem definitions are shared with the RHoK community, and the developers work their hacking magic to create open source software solutions that respond to those problems, make the world a safer place and save lives.

The Kenyan RHoK story

RHoK1 was held at the iHub in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2010. Developers came in good numbers to hack for a good cause. The projects included:

Res Q:This team picked the Person-Finder problem. They intend to make use of both web and mobile technologies to solve this problem. The web module will be used by rescue teams to locate people, while the mobile module will be used to Register, make reports on the ground, and follow up/monitor people you know

Eneza:This team chose to work on the I Need Help problem. They split themselves into two core teams, web and mobile. The web will be used toreceiveemergency SMS feeds and forward them to SAR Teams. The SMS solution will be used to create distress messages to be sent to the website. A desktop widget will be used to aggregate SAR messages.

WAVE :This team decided to work on the WeHaveWeNeed Application. They decided to work on a web prototype and report on improvements. They subdivided themselves into 3 teams, the We Have Team, the We Need Team, and the Matching team.

KJ&KB: This team decide to work on the browser alerts. Their solution is an SMS based application that will send SMS’s to a particular location incase of a disaster that people need to be notified about. The application will have an input file and phone numbers to send SMS to. It will also be able to generate a URL to pass to the kernel.

AMP:They decided to work on the Haiti AMPs Network. Their solution to this problem was to have Amputee registration via SMS and Web platforms using USSD.

O-Funds: This team decided to work on the The money tracker - where did my money go problem. They worked on a web platform and come up with a virtual payment system.

Res-Q emerged the winners of the hackathon, ENEZA taking 2nd place and 3rd place was the WAVE team. Read more...

RHoK2 was held at the iHub in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2010. Developers came together for 48 hours to hack for humanity. The projects included:

SMS based emergency Assistance routing: The idea here is for a Disaster Assistance Response system that would help disaster victims. In these situations regular communications are down due to the disaster, but SMS should be functioning. Such a system would allow someone to call a number in an SMS Center, report their status (whether they are OK), submit information/recommendations. The Center could also follow up. The final product would be a semi-structured list for first responders within the first 48 hours of a disaster.

Disaster Resource allocators: In times of disaster, there is need to allocate resources fairly to the least/needy areas. In areas where there are many schools and health centers, there is more chances that the area is more developed than other areas where there is low concentration of schools and health centers. Government and NGO’s need to allocate resources to areas that are more vulnerable than others.

NGO collobaration Space: The Tech Camp idea here is to generate cooperation and communication among NGOs, sharing both resources and information in a variety of sectors such as disaster response, or election monitoring, for instance. Currently these organizations lack incentives to make information available online. They all have excellent projects, but few are online.

Virtual Assembly point: Virtual Assembly Point is Crisis Management System that will help the Emergency Response Department to know and evaluate a tragedy before they reach the location of the tragedy.from the Virtual Assembly Point, the rescue team will be able to get manifesto, sort people according to their needs, set priorities according to the ground data, pull individual records for accountability purpose and plan for and manage the available resources properly. People will be able to report their status at anytime and anywhere, and the information will be used by the Emergency Response Department to locate them and rescue them as soon as possible with minimal resources utilized.

Data chart: Tweak the Tweet has shown some of the potential for exchanging structured information over a public network like Twitter, using the existing practice of #hashtag markup to add crisis-related message annotations, and recommending new conventional use to encode some data types near certain tags.

Individual Category went to Bahati Schyns with his Virtual assembly Point Crisis management point app which is currently being implemented at Kenya Red Cross.

Virtual Assembly Point (VAP) is a Crisis Management System for Disaster Emergency Response Departments. Its main goal is to providing ground information about the victims to the Emergency Response Team even before they get to the crisis location. With the information that the application will provide the rescue crew will be able to get manifestos of most if not all victims, sort people according to their needs, set different priorities and plan for and manage their resources properly. From VAP you can also trace involved people and do a follow up on victims if you are family or friend. In a nut-shell VAP is meant to automate all processes done from a physical/normal assembly point and more. It uses different available technologies to gather data and an elaborate dashboard to manage the data.

Join us at the iHub in Nairobi on the 4th and 5th this June 2011 for 48hours to hack for humanity and make the world a better place. REGISTER HERE

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