The Oyo State government and development partners have concluded plans to explore Information Technology to tackle mounting difficulties in waste collection and billing system, indiscriminate refuse disposal and other environmental challenges confronting the country.
The Special Adviser to the state governor on Education, Dr. Bisi Akin-Alabi, disclosed this during a joint press conference by the state and its partners on the project, including leading waste collection company, West Africa ENGR Limited (WAEL), at the Technical University, Ibadan, on Wednesday.
To accomplish the task, Akin-Alabi said that the state had concluded arrangements with the partners to organize the first ever hackathon in Nigeria to address environmental issues besetting the country, which, she said, would be held at the university.
Also at Wednesday’s parley was the Managing Director of WAEL, Mr. Paul O’Callaghan, who disclosed that over 250 participants had already signified intention to participate in the competition.
According to Wikipedia, hackathon, also known as hack day, hackfest or codefest is a design sprint-like or marathon event in which computer programmers, software developers, graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, as well as experts on a subject matter brainstorm to develop software or application to solve a particular problem.
Tagged the ‘OYOMESI Festival of learning,’ she said that the weeklong event was opened to students of tertiary institutions, technology enthusiasts and other education stakeholders.
The governor’s aide said that participants would be expected to form clusters and peach based on ideas and tasks that would be assigned to them, which would be presented to a panel of assessors.
Specifically, she said that the hackathon was targeted at development of applications and IT solutions to tackle waste collection, billing and payment system, reporting of illegal dumpsites, city enumeration and management as well as recycling measurements and reporting.
According to her, the ultimate objective was to screen the chosen APPs and subject them to further development in relevant companies in the UK, which could be commercialized for use across Nigeria and other African countries.
Alabi said it was targeted at promoting learning as a lifelong activity necessary for all, as prescribed by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Learning City Status, which was conferred on Ibadan in October 2016.
She said, “This event aims to promote learning as a lifelong activity necessary for all. This is in support of the UNESCO Learning City Status conferred on Ibadan in October 2016. As such, other zones in the state must become Learning Neighborhoods, whilst we strive to achieve the qualifying criteria for a UNESCO Learning City Progress Award.
“The Festival of Learning will allow a wider audience of teachers, educators and businesses to collaborate and network on new approaches to classroom practices. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to be full of ideas to inspire their pupils.
“It is an opportunity to market products and engage with other stakeholders. It will afford participants the opportunity to also attend and participate in various workshops that will take place during the festival. ”
“This event is a high-energy, all-night, problem-solving session to imagine and develop IT solutions that directly respond to a variety of specific environmental management challenges; specifically, waste collection billing and payment system, reporting of illegal dumpsites, city enumeration and management, as well as recycling measurement and reporting.”
She disclosed that the three top ideas from the event would attract the N2m worth of investment, with the top idea attracting N1m investment, while the first and second runners up will benefit from a N.7m and N.3m worth of investment respectively.
In a good will message, the Vice Chancellor of the Technical University, Professor Ayobami Salami, said that it was instructive that the festival of learning in the state coincided with the first anniversary of the university.
He said that the Technical University was established to proffer innovative solutions to human challenges on a daily basis, which, he said, was also the focus of the Hackathon competition.