The Ministry of Public Telecommunication says it’s giving women and young people an opportunity to develop software to find solutions to challenges in society.
This was revealed at the official launch of the Fourth Annual 48-Hour Hackathon on Wednesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
The event will be held from March 13 to 15, right at the Conference Centre in Greater Georgetown in collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
Registration is now open for teams to be part of the Hackathon. However, there are some new rules. Teams must include 2-5 persons and at least one team member must be a female and a university student, ideally from the University of Guyana.
Previous winners are not allowed to participate in the competition.
First prize winners will be given a contract to complete the software developed for the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission; second prize is $300,000 and third prize is $200,000.
The Hackathon will be focused specifically on the needs of the mining sector and how technology can help with problems that miners face.
The Head of GGMC, Newell Dennison, said the Hackathon is youth-friendly and everything the organisation stands for.
“We are happy to be championing the development for youth and ideas for a country that will need that as it moves forward in a decade of development,” Dennison said.
GGMC has been in existence from 1979 and has not fully transitioned into the kind of agency that fully utilizes technology.
“There is still a lot of room for us to develop and mould our workflows, deal with our information and all of those things. We are still to fully embrace the use of ICT to give us a full potential,” he said.
Dennisson did not what to speak directly about the issues the sector currently faces as it will be topics for the competition and it will only be released to the teams on the day of competition.
However, he noted that there are challenges with information sharing and access to information by the miners.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes said Hackathons are platforms used to come up with technological solution for challenges. She noted that they are many challenges in several areas in the country where technology can be used to find solutions.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for all the software developers, the persons that are interested in developing applications, for the data processors for anyone involved in the ICT industry to have an opportunity to work on providing a solution,” the Minister said.
Minister Hughes said they are currently testing a farmer’s market app that actually came out Hackathon. This app was first launched at the 2018 Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s (CTU) Roadshow in Guyana and was developed by Innovative Systems, winner of the Hackathon in 2017.
The Minister said Guyanese should be the developers and not only users of technology.
“We realize that farmers needed an opportunity to be able to be contacted by potential buyers in a very simple way and that application came out at a Hackathon.”