Hackathon participants explain their invention to the judges.

Annually, the National University of Lesotho through its Innovation Hub hosts the NULISTICE (National University of Lesotho International Science Technology and Innovation Conference and Expo) to expose and encourage Lesotho’s innovations for development. For 2020, the NULISTICE event included a hackathon, expo and gala dinner. In 2020, the National University of Lesotho (NUL) partnered with Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Lesotho to support the NULISTICE 2020 Hackathon challenge and the Expo.

The NULISTICE hackathon was held on the 18th – 19th January 2020, at the NUL campus. The 24-hours programming marathon was attended by 113 innovators - 105 males and 8 females from the different institutions of higher learning and young ICT professionals in the country. The participants formed 34 groups to compete on developing technology-based solutions to six development challenges sponsored by NUL, UNDP and Vodacom.

Six groups that came up with the most intriguing solutions won M50, 00.00 each, and a 6 – month mentorship support to develop their winning ideas into full solutions to the challenges identified.

Speaking at the NULISTICE gala dinner, the UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Betty Wabunoha applauded the NUL for “envisioning the NUL Innovation Hub and the NULISTICE as initiatives to harness innovation and entrepreneurial potentials of this country, especially young Basotho”. The UNDP also supports the Tsa Mahlale - a tv-based magazine programme on innovations, aired on Lesotho TV at 7pm every Tuesday. Ms Wabunoha further indicated that “UNDP is happy to support these programmes, as they have a high potential for enhancing the livelihoods and the creation of better development opportunities for Basotho youth”.  

This is the second hackathon that the UNDP supports, after the 2018 hackathon for promoting inclusive financial products and services.  

Hackathon winners and judges pose for a group photo after the competition.

The winning solutions to the 2020 NULISTICE hackathon challenge were:

UNDP Lesotho:

·         NSDP II Reporting Platform – an integrated system to facilitate planning and reporting for NSDP II, SDGs and related development agenda. The system will collate real-time data to enable monitoring, evaluation and accountability for development results and resources allocated to activities, implemented at the national (ministries) and local levels (district and community councils).

·         Government Development Depository – an online central storage for all national documents including policies, regulatory and legal frameworks to track and monitor trends in public policy and facilitate ease of access by public stakeholders. The system will be a consolidated information platform and knowledge resource to promote information sharing and knowledge culture in the country.

NUL:

·         Student - Industry Project Placement Platform – a platform that will profile skills complement, especially among the youth and facilitate jobs placement by matching to job profiles. The platform will be accessible to both potential employers and job seekers.

·         NUL Innovation Hub Smart E-commerce Website – The smart e-commerce website objective is to provide an online market and platform for crowdsourcing resources and partnerships for the products from the NUL Innovation Hub.  

Vodacom Lesotho Foundation:

·         Crime Fighting Platform – a platform to promote neighborhood watch and mobilise support among community members against criminal incidents and during emergency situations. The platform will send alerts to the community and the nearest police station in real-time.

·         Farmers Mobile App – a platform that will assist farmers to connect easily to the local market centers and potential customers. The app also will provide important information to famers on issues such as diseases, market analysis and weather.

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