Inviting makers, innovators, educators, policy experts, and students across the globe to collaborate and create solutions to address Africa’s most pressing needs in literacy, health, and more!

ABOUT AFRICAN LIBRARY PROJECT

African Library Project changes lives book by book by starting libraries in Africa. Our grassroots approach mobilizes volunteers, young and old, in the United States and Canada to organize book drives and help establish small libraries in rural African communities. Our method makes a concrete and personal difference for children and communities on both continents.

Our volunteers in the United States and Canada organize book drives by rallying their communities to collect gently used children’s books and raise funds for shipping. Thanks to our international network of partners, volunteers, and community supporters, these donated books are transformed into sustainable community-based libraries.

So far we have established 3,086 libraries within 12 countries, shipped over 3.1 million books, and established 1500+ partnerships.

Learn more at: https://www.africanlibraryproject.org/

 

WHY ARE WE HOSTING HACK FOR AFRICA

In Sub-Saharan Africa

  • More than 1 in 3 adults cannot read.
  • 182 million adults are unable to read and write.
  • 48 million youth (ages 15-24) are illiterate.
  • 22% of primary aged children are not in school.
  • That makes 30 million primary aged children who are not in school.

Literacy is an essential human right. A good quality and basic education equip pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning. Literate parents are more likely to keep their children healthy and send their children to school. Literate people are able to better access other education and employment opportunities; and collectively, literate societies are better geared to meet development challenges. Illiteracy is a condition that denies people opportunity. One of the largest barriers to increasing literacy is the lack of books, especially in rural areas. African Library project aims to end the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by

  • Starting libraries - African Library Project establishes partnerships with African-based organizations that specialize in education, library or community development. Together, we change donated books into life-changing libraries.
  • Training local teacher-librarians - Our African partners train local teacher-librarians on effective library management practices and help create a support network for continued learning.
  • HIV/AIDS education - We work in countries that have been hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and where millions of children have been orphaned. To support HIV/AIDS education in local communities, we send additional learning resources to libraries in our partner countries that have some of the highest incidences of HIV such as Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, and Kenya.
  • Promote African Children’s Literature - African Library Project is proud to do its part in expanding access to books in Africa one library at a time. However, we know that tackling this issue requires supporting the growth of local publishing within Africa. 

View full rules

Prizes

$6,420 in prizes

Best Education/Literacy Hack

- Consultation with the African Library Project Team and Microsoft to scale your idea in sub-Saharan Africa
- Fire Tablets (for each Team Member)
- More Microsoft Prizes to be Announced Soon!

Best Health/COVID-19 Hack

- Consultation with the African Library Project Team and Microsoft to scale your idea in sub-Saharan Africa
- Fire Tablets (for each Team Member)
- More Microsoft Prizes to be Announced Soon!

Best Out of the Box Hack

- Consultation with the African Library Project Team and Microsoft to scale your idea in sub-Saharan Africa
- Fire Tablets (for each Team Member)
- More Microsoft Prizes to be Announced Soon!

Runners Up (1 for each track) (3)

- Amazon Gift Card ($100)
- More Microsoft Prizes to be Announced Soon!

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

Eligibility

  • Any participant 13 years or older is eligible to participate. 
  • Teams are welcome to sign up as a group, a maximum of 4 members per team. 
  • Partial teams or individuals are welcome to join and can find teammates on our Discord channel.
  • We encourage participants to seek teammates who can bring diverse viewpoints and contributions to the output.

Requirements

PICK A PATH

  • Literacy & Education
    65% of Africa is literate. While those numbers are continuing to improve, let’s find a way to use technology to bring it to 100%!
  • Health/COVID-19
    Africa has a high number of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria cases. Create a solution that can improve the overall health of those who need it most. Also, can your solution prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Africa?
  • Other
    Do you have a powerful idea that doesn't fit into one of the categories? We welcome any and all ideas that can have an impact in Africa!

YOUR TASK

  • Develop a solution that addresses one or more of the above challenges. We are not telling you what to do, we want you to illustrate your ideas in a way you see fit. Whether that comes from building an app, developing a hardware prototype, or creating a presentation - it is your choice!
  • Pick a team, choose a challenge, and then build your solution for a chance to win $6,420 in prizes from Microsoft. The winning ventures from the hackathon will also be able to consult with the African Library Project Team and Microsoft to scale their idea in sub-Saharan Africa.

Judges

Chris Bradshaw

Chris Bradshaw
Founder at African Library Project

Tatiana Santos

Tatiana Santos
Youth Engagement Program Manager, African Library Project

Laura Hill

Laura Hill
Former Technology Leader at Oracle & Sun Microsystems | Data & Tech Support Volunteer at African Library Project

Christina De Simone

Christina De Simone
Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at UNITY Biotechnology | Board Member at African Library Project

Craig Anderson

Craig Anderson
Former Peace Corp Teahcer and US Foreign Service Officer in Lesotho | Board Member at African Library Project

Marla Williams

Marla Williams
Co-Founder at ACE Kids Golf | Board Member at African Library Project

Judging Criteria

  • Ideation
    Is the idea well thought out? Is the idea original? Will the project idea have an impact? If not, is it useful in some regard?
  • Implementation
    Does the implementation follow the idea? Does the implementation function (i.e. in a demo)? Does the implementation show complexity?
  • Presentation
    Are the presenters professional? Are the presenters confident in their product? Does the presentation show teamwork and collaboration?
  • Scalability & Impact
    Is your product scalable? If given the right resources, can your idea have the ability to impact the billions of people who live on the African continent?