Young developers grateful for Hackathon

WINDHOEK, Oct. 22 –  The recently concluded Buy-a-Brick Hackathon proved to be an astounding success as the crème de la crème of the software developing industry came out in numbers to develop an application for the Buy-a-Brick initiative.

The Hackathon was hosted by Standard Bank in collaboration with the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBBI). Participants competed against each other to build a mobile application for the initiative to aid in its fundraising efforts.

The Bank’s flagship Buy-a-Brick initiative was launched in October 2015 with the aim of helping in alleviating the housing shortage in the country for no or low income households who live in shacks through the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN).

The 7 teams of consisting of 43 students blew the judges out of the water as they managed to build fully functional mobile and web applications over a period of three days.

The overall winning team was Code Masters who scooped the grand prize of N$20 000, the 1st Runner Up went to Team Money who won N$15 000 and the 2nd Runner Up was Team Mean Syntax who walked away with N$7 500.

All the students expressed their gratitude to the bank for allowing them to contribute to the Buy-a-Brick initiative in their own way as well as providing them with the platform to challenges their skills and acquire new ones.

Macveren Kapukare of Team Money was visibly elated, even though their team came in second, stressing that the Hackathon was for a great cause so they were all winners in their own right for contributing to the initiative.

“On a personal level I am very happy about being able to participate in the Hackathon because it was a great platform to showcase our skills and challenge our abilities against the best upcoming developers. As a young person who is aware of the housing shortage in Namibia I am very proud that we became part of the solution of this problem through the various applications we developed,” he explained.

Kapukare added that he also learned how to work in a team of individuals with dissenting ideas and came up with new ideas by thinking outside the box which will help them in their future endeavours.

Edward Nangaku of team Mean Syntax concurred with Kapukare, saying that the Hackathon pushed them to think outside the box for a good cause and provided a platform for them to acquire new skills by learning from the various other teams.

“Having been chosen as one of the top three teams I am proud because I feel we have done something that illustrates how the Buy-a-Brick application should work and how it can benefit the initiative… An event like this Hackathon was also important because there were different groups that came up with diverse ideas for the best solution,” he said.

Frampton Damaseb from the winning Code Masters team who is studying Quantity Surveying, said the Buy-a-Brick initiative hit really close to home for him because he comes from an impoverished community were a majority of the people live in shacks.

“I come from Otavi where a majority of the people are shack dwellers who cannot afford decent housing which is disheartening for me. When I heard about the Hackathon and realised that I could lend a helping hand I jumped at the opportunity because everyone deserve to live in a decent house with all the amenities,” he said.

Damaseb explained that he was driven to come up with the winning application because he knew that his community would also benefit from it. The Hackathon also helped him learn a lot of things he previously didn’t know.

“This has been a great process for me personally and professionally as a developer. I have learned to work as a team and to always think outside the box for the best results, but most importantly I have learned how to be more compassionate towards my fellow Namibians and that together we can come up with a solution to the housing shortage in the country,” he concluded. – NDN Staffer