Dec 14, 2020 / paula

The EU : Africa The Post Crisis Journey Hackathon & Conference #StrongerTogether

On 10-13th December, we opened the EU : Africa The Post Crisis Journey Program with the fully online 72-hour hackathon and a virtual conference. The weekend ended with an awards ceremony, where the winners of the cross-continental hackathon were announced by the international jury.

EU : Africa The Post Crisis Journey Hackathon program unites communities and organisations from across African Union and European Union to find innovative ideas to tackle the socio-economic challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. 11 challenge areas addressed in this program (listed below) were put together in collaboration with African Union and Smart Africa, and are in line with the Africa-Europe Digital Economy Partnership Report and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Education ⎮ Food security ⎮ Job Security ⎮ Vulnerable Populations ⎮ Health & Wellness ⎮ Financial Services ⎮ Big Data ⎮ Cyber Security ⎮ Digital Economy ⎮ e-Governance⎮ Smart Cities

The hackathon might be over, but this is only the beginning of the journey! The 72-hour hackathon is followed by an extensive follow-up mentoring and matchmaking program for the top 25 teams to turn the prototypes developed during the hackathon into working products.

The program is organized together with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia’s development cooperation fund, African Union, Luxembourg Aid and Development, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Polish Aid, Irish Aid, and supported by Smart Africa, European Investment Bank, German development agency (GIZ), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and 500+ tech communities from across Africa and Europe.


The #euafricathejourney conference


When preparing for the EU : Africa The Post Crisis Journey Hackathon, we decided to extend the hackathon with a free online conference to make the information available for anyone interested and to build more awareness around the socio-economic challenges and opportunities the hackathon was addressing.


We set up 4 days of inspiring LIVE talks and discussions, joined by entrepreneurs, heads of countries, and other absolutely amazing impact-driven people on the topics of education, food security, job security, vulnerable populations, health and wellness, financial services, big data, cybersecurity, digital economy, e-Governance, and smart cities.


At the opening of the hackathon President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid expressed the hope that the first European-African unicorn might come from the event. Tony O. Elumelu, the Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group & Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation was hopeful that the pandemic will help to bridge the digital divide and encouraged the participants to forge lifelong partnerships. Aya Chebbi, Youth Envoy of the African Union reminded those who have access to the internet of their huge responsibility and of the empowerment of the online space for the young generation. You can watch the video here.


"People are ready to embrace the digital revolution. The challenge is to create the digital infrastructure. Technology should be for all. The pandemic will help to bridge the digital divide." – Tony O. Elumelu

All the EU : Africa The Post Crisis Journey Conference videos are available to watch on Facebook.


The Hackathon and the Winners


In just 4 weeks of announcing the program, we received 700 ideas, and 2300 people – from 93 countries – registered to join! 315 selected teams joined us for the 72-hour hackathon to build solutions to the different socio-economic challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and get a chance to win part of the €100 000 prize fund.


By the end of the 72 hours, after long days and nights of hacking, mentoring sessions, and checkpoints, 260 demos were presented for the final pitch. The jury, Antony Rytel (GovTechPolska), Maria Luisa Ferreira (European Investment Bank), Lembit Loo (Europe-Africa D4D Hub and MFA Estonia), Peter Vesterbacka (Founder of Angry Birds), Paul Weber (MFEA Luxembourg) and Mari Hanikat (CEO of Garage48), selected the winners from among the top 20 projects that included ideas and prototypes to solve social, health and educational issues as well as access to financial services and support to farmers and small businesses. The jury members had to consider the strength of the team, examine the prototype development process, the impact of the idea and the sustainability of the business model.



🏆 Top 10


1 - PadShare - a platform developed by a team in Uganda to grant better access to menstrual hygiene products for women in vulnerable situations

2 - Keza 3D Game - a fun app to improve education on reproductive health developed by a team in Rwanda

3 - Ringolo - Creation of a platform to reward users who recycle through the app and facilitate the creation of a network of recycling collection hubs to facilitate recycling across the continent.

4 - TalkAmNaija - a social enterprise to develop democracy and better governance in Nigeria

5 - SafariWallet - a tourism platform for small local businesses developed by a team in Tanzania

6 - Zajka - a hardware and app solution to help small farmers with better water management developed by a team in Poland

7 - Ndovu - a micro-investment platform that provides easy access to financial markets

8 - RABAR - a platform connecting farmers across Africa, allowing them to share knowledge and experiences and broadening their marketplace and mediating the effects caused by the digital divide and the internet.

9 - Ubo - a smart console with educational activities to help the children maintain their treatment at home

10 - The Umbrella Tree - a platform to empower African women in tech developed by a team from Estonia, Rwanda, and Nigeria


🏆 Category Winners


- OHMNI (Education) - a platform for distant learning developed by teachers in Cameroon, to enable learning even if students don’t have access to the internet or electricity

- Grey Armour Web Application Security (Cyber Security) - a real time web applications monitoring and incident response management platform built to offer cost-effective 24/7 cybersecurity surveillance to small businesses in Africa

- PadShare (Vulnerable Populations) - a platform developed by a team in Uganda to grant better access to menstrual hygiene products for women in vulnerable situations

- Zajka (Food Security) - a hardware and app solution to help small farmers with better water management developed by a team in Poland

- Keza 3D Game (Health & Wellness) - a fun app to improve education on reproductive health developed by a team in Rwanda

- Ringolo (Smart Cities) - a platform to encourage and enable recycling and circular economy developed by a team from Ghana and Germany

- TalkAmNaija (e-Governance) - a social enterprise to develop democracy and better governance in Nigeria

- The Umbrella Tree (Job Security) - a platform to empower African women in tech developed by a team from Estonia, Rwanda, and Nigeria

- Kotani Pay (Financial Services) - a middleware technology service that enables users to access the blockchain and cryptocurrencies via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). USSD is the primary mode of the mobile interface for a majority of the population in developing countries,

- GotCash (Digital Economy) - is a goat value chain management system aimed at bringing transparency and fairness in the goat transaction process while improving farmers’ lives and livelihoods developed by a team in Zimbabwe


You can watch both the FINAL DEMOS event and
the AWARDS CEREMONY recorded live HERE.



The overall winner PadShare was also selected as the winner in the category of Vulnerable Populations. Sandra Awilli (on the photo above) has been working on the idea since 2019, and finally, at the hackathon, she was able to find her team of developers and designers to come up with a clickable product. Overwhelmed by the success Awilli said:

“You have no idea how many lives of young girls you have changed! Periods don’t stop at the pandemic. Period poverty is the biggest world solvable problem.”

The project developed by a self-taught digital marketer emerged from personal experience: “In March 2019 I was in a very bad place mentally and financially. I didn't have an income, that week I got my period and I was confined to my house, I canceled two job interviews because I couldn't make it. I wished there was someone I could call to provide what I needed but I was too ashamed to ask and that is when I decided to work on a solution. I have been researching the concept ever since, I just didn't have the resources to start implementing.”

The awarded teams will all continue in the post-hackathon acceleration program.


The Team Behind the Scenes


The journey wouldn’t be complete without all the hard-working and passionate people. “This is what Garage48 hackathons are all about - the people who jump on board without hesitation and change lives with giving their knowledge and help to the teams!” - Merilin Lukk, Project Lead



Lead mentors: David Clark, Skannd Tyagi, Calum Cameron, Mart Virkus, Kai Isand, Megan Riley, Gerardo Garcia Diaz, Kaari Kink, Khalid Belghiti, Meghdut RoyChowdhury


Support mentors: Triin Ilves, Maike Gericke, Michaela Snopkova, Asta Vasiliauskaite, Laura Laasi, Jordan Teasdale, Sayed Masoumi, Rea Fraser, Vahur Singa, Uve Poom, Iracelma Faustino


Project managers: Kadri Kõivik, Siim Eesalu, Iti Tomingas-Oras, Anna Babushkina, Triin Preem


Organizers: Mari Hanikat, Merilin Lukk, Mayri Tiido, Tanel Sepp, Nora Juurmaa, Yusuf Mutamba, Hanae Bezad, Bouya Maalainine, Maris Hellrand, Jaanus Sakkis, Paula Pärnaste, Joao Rei, Iti Tomingas-Oras, Georg Andres Veskioja, Anna Babushkina, Markus Paapsi, Helena Eglit, Anna Hassanova, Nilay Rammul


“This weekend exceeded my expectations in every way. I was amazed by the quality and dedication of the teams and I realized that being a lead mentor is much more than simply guiding the teams through 72h. Instead, I ended up personally cheering and rooting for their progress, and eagerly waiting to see the result, whilst they were solving today’s key societal issues with innovation and collaboration. The community and atmosphere surrounding the entire event were filled with positivity and the desire to make an impact, which created a ground for new friendships and long-term partnerships.” - Kaari Kink, Lead Mentor


This is what happens when you bring people together for a great cause.


Make sure you follow the rest of the journey to see the great ideas and prototypes developed turning into actual solutions. This is only the starting point!

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