Belgium Campus iTversity students, Otshepeng Mashele and Ronald Qobolo, teamed up with Expotech Industries Founder, Joël Tiogo, to participate in the WRC Symposium Hackathon last month. Students were tasked to come up with innovative technological solutions to the water and sanitation challenges facing the African continent. According to UN-Water, “Half of the people who drink water from unsafe sources live in Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, only 24% of the population have access to safe drinking water.”
The 36-hour hackathon, hosted by Geekulcha, took place on the 11th and 12th of September at the Sandton Convention Centre. 30 young techies with backgrounds in computer science, programming and engineering took part, innovating for a common cause. Our students, along with Tiogo (under the team name BCMusketeers), came up with an IoT solution termed Breaking Barriers aimed at decreasing water wastage while improving service delivery by bridging the communication gap between the government and the community. “During our research we found that many consumers are unable to report or get updates regarding the water issues in their area, so we came up with a system to solve this,” Qobolo commented. “In South Africa, 37% of the country's water gets wasted through leakages and bridging which is why this project is so important to us," Tiogo added.
The system uses sensors to detect irregular water flow in pipes, updates the relevant government about the issue so that action can be taken and integrates with an instant messaging system that informs residents of the affected location. “The hope is that the system will provide the municipality with more accurate data and a better understanding of the common water related problems in the community, as well as deepen customer trust by providing them with readily accessible, accurate information at any time and from anywhere,” Qobolo commented.
“It was an amazing networking and learning opportunity! I can’t thank Geekulcha and HERE Technologies enough for hosting and mentoring us, as well as Belgium Campus for ensuring that we arrived at the venue safely,” said Mashele, who received some awesome HERE Technologies merchandise and was named Best Female Star for helping to bridge the gender gap through her contribution to technology.