Robotechs wins the Bayer SA Rise for Women hackathon
A group of young South Africans won first place in a two-day Rise for Women hackathon held by healthcare firm Bayer to discover tech solutions to promote women's health awareness.
Bayer held the hackathon in collaboration with the Empire Partner Foundation, a Johannesburg-based tech non-profit organisation.
The participating teams were charged with developing software solutions to help raise awareness of women's health, sexual and reproductive education, and other issues.
According to the United Nations, despite accounting for half of the world's population, women and girls are regularly ignored and have their rights abused, Bayer and Empire Foundation said in a joint statement.
Both organisations say as a result, women and girls may be less empowered to make decisions about their own health, sexuality, and reproductive health, making them more prone to abuse, unhealthy behaviors, and preventable maternal deaths.
"1 in 4 women in South Africa have an unintended pregnancy before the age of 20, participants had to think creatively and come up with ways that will break barriers and bridge knowledge gaps around fertility, menstruation, and safe use of various contraception methods," said Dr Ntlotleng Mabena, technical specialist, GBV Response Program.
Mabena added: “When discussing health-related concerns, it is vital to include young people's perspectives since they have unique and fresh ideas that can help create the future.”
"It is critical to include the opinions of young people when discussing health-related issues because they have innovative and fresh ideas that can help shape the future of women's health
“The RISE for Women hackathon provided an opportunity for young people to collaborate on significant health concerns, as well as for young women to share their views on issues affecting women's health. This is consistent with Bayer's commitment to empowering women worldwide."
The hackathon drew 233 young people, 157 of whom were female and 76 of whom were male. Following the screening process, 76 females and 31 males were selected and assigned to one of 14 groups.
Robotechs emerged victorious, with Thando Madiba, Precious Mabena, Phumelele Peter, Ricardo Mudinyane, and Sindisiwe Mbhele receiving $1126 (R20 000).
Tech Titans (Nombali Mafa, Tshegofatso Malesa, Hailey Muparuri, Michelle Tyutu) and 404 Error Not Found (Refilwe Mashile, Comfort Ngwenya, Zandile Masilela, Sam Mlanzeli, Gugu Mokwena) were the other two groups to make the top three.