Road safety hackathon to raise awareness

People gather at the accident scene. Photo by Joseph Kiggundu.

What you need to know:

The Police’s 2020 annual crime report detailed that the country registered 12,858 road traffic crashes and 13,012 fatalities due to careless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and poor road infrastructure with the majority of these being pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and passengers

The Innovation Village, a start-up and SMEs hub, and the road safety awareness non-profit, Nicole Foundation, have launched a long-running hackathon campaign aimed at promoting road safety through innovation and the use of technology to deliver practical solutions.

The hackathon that launched last week seeks to identify market-ready scalable tech-enabled solutions that will enhance safety on the road.

Speaking at the campaign’s launch in Kampala, the principal safety officer in the Minister of Works, Ms. Judith Karara said the statistics from road traffic crashes are alarming, from the 2020 annual crime report and it is abundantly clear that road safety is a significant public health concern and rapidly growing socio-economic burden in Uganda.

“What if these road traffic crashes are not “accidents” and can be completely preventable with the joint efforts of each one of us. Together, road crashes, injuries, and fatalities can be preventable with proper education on-road usage, strong regulatory policies and enforcement, good road infrastructure, and SMART road technologies.  Let’s make our cars and the streets a safe place for our children because “no child should die or be seriously injured when taking a walk on the streets, traveling with the parents, or cycling to school” Ms. Karara noted.

The Police’s 2020 annual crime report detailed that the country registered 12,858 road traffic crashes and 13,012 fatalities due to careless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and poor road infrastructure with the majority of these being pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and passengers.

The Innovation Village’s lead FutureLab studios, Mr. Arthur Mukembo said the campaign seeks to challenge innovators and tech enthusiasts to come up with solutions that ensure the safety of individuals on the road before they travel, when on the road as a passenger or pedestrian, and when an accident happens.

“The two-day hackathon will identify market-ready scalable tech-enabled solutions that will enhance safety on the road. We hope to bring together the diverse talent of technical developers, business generalists, and road safety experts to envisage practical tech-enabled solutions,” he said.

The winners of the hackathon, Mr. Mukembo said, will be selected on strong alignment to the Nicole Foundation’s Wheel of Offering, the inventiveness of the solution, feasibility and scalability of the idea, and finally the quality and comprehensiveness of the pitch.

“Later, these winners will receive training to build concepts, enroll into the next cohort of Future Lab Studio’s flagship Soar program, and opportunity to pitch to Angel and VC investors on completion of the Soar program.”

The Nicole Foundation, a road safety not-for-profit, started in memory of the late Nicole Ahumuza, who died in a car accident in January 2020 in Kasese district.

Mr. Solomon Rubondo, a member of the council of advisors of the charity said they came up with the Wheel of Offering tailored on eight pillars including Safety before you travel, when with family or relatives, when you are the driver, when you are a passenger, and when an accident happens.


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