m2work South African Hackathon

This past weekend we played host to the South African leg of infoDev’s global m2work Hackathon.

We kicked off the event on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the weekend creating concepts and apps to solve unemployment through creating mobile micro work opportunities. Teams pushed straight through the night to get their presentations and prototypes ready for Sunday afternoon’s demo.

Over ten teams participated and produced solutions, all finding innovative ways of mobilizing an untapped work force to do micro jobs and earn some income.

We are very proud of everyone who participated in this very worthy event to raise awareness about unemployment and Micro Work.

mLab Southern Africa is happy to announce the winners of the #m2work Hackathon 2012:

BEST m2work APPLICATION: this prize is being awarded to two teams for developing the applications that best met the 5 judging criteria.



1) Translate 4 Me from the BlackBerry Apps Lab.

An innovative application and solution that allows anyone who can speak at least 2 of our 11 official languages to register as micro translators. Users can download an application where they can input a phrase or term for translation, select the language and send it out the relevant micro workers for translation. The  solution comes complete with a rating system to improve the translator vetting and allow the best translators to get more work.



2) MediU (Medical Ubuntu)

This solution tries to solve two major issues in South Africa (and possibly Africa): i) Creating work opportunities for qualified but unemployed health workers; ii) streamlining and improving the health services offered by Government that face issues due to the ratio of Doctors : Patients (estimated at 1:1300). The application allows family members, neigbours, community leaders, unemployed health workers etc, who accompany patients to their appointments to capture patient information in digital format, make appointments, receive information, reminders to take medicine and a range of other services while earning small remunerations for  helping build a centralized patient registry.


Both these teams will receive a prize sponsored by Vodacom as well as an offer from mLab to assist them in commercializing their application. In order to receive the funding the teams must have the interest and ability to finalize the application and funds will be paid out on project milestones.



BEST m2work SERVICE: an m2work solution thats not just looking at a mobile application but integrating a broader range of services access for micro workers.


1) Ishmael Makitla: Utilizing services like USSD, IM, SMS, Web and Apps the solution allows users to submit any range of micro jobs and have anyone perform it. The first to successfully perform the micro job receives a pre published and agreed upon remuneration. The service also includes a rating model to ensure that bad payers or micro workers are flagged and filtered out of the system.


The winner will receive a prize sponsored by Microsoft.



MOST IMPACT & TARGETED m2work APP: an application that will make a measurable impact on the lives of a targeted m2work community.


1) Teamov8: Targeting car guards this team set out to increase the productivity and earning potential of a specific community who has a lot of time to do micro work but also needs additional income. The application allows the guards to do random checks on vehicle information by entering registration numbers. The app will interface with the licensing department and provide basic information like make, colour, model etc and ask for confirmation. Should the registration number not match the vehicle they are requested to provide the correct information while the system flags the department to reference potential crimes and warrants related to the vehicle that was geotagged when the registration was searched. Micro workers earn micro remuneration for every 10 checked.


This team will receive a prize sponsored by Nokia.



BEST VIRTUAL HACKER: this hackathon was open to developers to participate virtually.


1) Tanaka Mutakwa participated from Cape Town and created mTesting, a m2work mobile “living lab” solution that allows the creators of digital products such as software and apps to have accurate testing done in the real world by registered micro workers and collect valuable feedback to improve the product before launching it in a market.


The winner will receive a prize sponsored by Qualcomm.



BEST INDIVIDUAL HACKER: developers where encouraged to form teams due to the limited time available to the them, but there were some brave enough to take on the challenge on their own.


1) Blessing Mahlalela, created a web and SMS based service for matching up jobs (both formal and informal) with potential candidates. Unlike a traditional job and cv registry this service employes micro workers to read the SMS job posting or skill submission and interpret it while also allowing them to source and match the best candidate for the job.


The winner will receive a prize sponsored by Qualcomm.


Please visit our flickr account to see some of the awesome photos from the Hackathon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlabsa/sets/72157631556835857/


BIG THANK YOU to all our partners and sponsors for making this hackathon so much fun and to infoDev for providing the resources and sponsorship to execute such an epic event.


Congratulations to the winners in Vietnam, Nepal, Armenia and Kenya! http://m2workhackathon.org