Broken toilet reporting device wins Cape Town’s Sanitation Hackathon

Sanitation experts, software developers, journalists and students were among 60 people trying to tackle Cape Town’s toilet problems at the city’s Sanitation Hackathon at the weekend, which was won by an SMS application for reporting broken toilets.

The event, held at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, was one of 14 events taking place worldwide and was supported by organisations including the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Nokia.

The winning team, Inflow, impressed the judges with their easy-to-use SMS application which would encourage citizens to report a broken or unusable toilet to the authorities, in this case the City of Cape Town.

David Schaub-Jones, co-founder of See Saw who organised the Cape Town event, said he was delighted with the outcome of the weekend.

Speaking to HumanIPO he said: “We ended up with a diversity of ideas being worked on.  A weekend is short space of time so the ideas only go so far, but there was great energy in the barn.”

Six teams came together, with many of their members having never met before, and ended yesterday (Sunday) by producing a five minute presentation to judges on their idea.

Two other teams tackled the same problem as Inflow, while another came up with a way for tourists and citizens to report pollution or fly-tipping in the Liesbeek River. The winning team was rewarded with R20,000 (US$2,260).

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