A diverse group of ten innovators are calling on the City of Cape Town to give their technology a chance to solve the region’s toilet problems.
Inflow, a team made up of software developers, journalists, sanitation experts and project managers, took first prize at the weekend long competition held at the Bandwidth Barn, Woodstock.
Their solution to the city’s many broken and unusable toilets is to introduce an SMS application which would allow any citizen to text the authority with the relevant toilet identification number and what the problem is.
Not only would it ensure the information gets to the department quickly and efficiently, but the programme would convert the data into a publicly available and easy-to-use database showing how long it took the city to act on each recorded problem and which areas had the worst facilities.
The Social Justice Coalition (SJC), were part of the inspiration behind the project, and the South African social movement are meeting with City of Cape Town officials on Thursday to discuss the technological solutions.
Thato Motjolopane, a former software developer and now a construction worker for the City of Cape Town, told HumanIPO: “The first thing we need to do is speak to the City and get their buy-in. We have got a very good system which we can integrate with their system.”
Phumeza Mlungwana, a project co-ordinator, said: “They (City of Cape Town) need to transform their system from paper to electricity. At the moment the complainant and the user does not have any power in the current system and there is no transparency to hold the authority to account.”
Linda Daniels, a radio journalist, is also on the Inflow team and said if the city ignored their advances and the technology they would embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to raise awareness of the good practice they were missing out on.
David Schaub-Jones, co-founder of See Saw and host of the Cape Town Sanitation Hackathon, was impressed with how developed the winner’s idea was.
Each entrant is invited to upload their pitches and software to a completion website which will have applicants from around the world. The winners will then begin receiving support from experts including the World Bank.
He said: “The winners are already discussing what is next. If their idea is worth a go then they will get money, support and mentorship.
“The City of Cape Town are more likely to take you seriously when they hear the World Bank is helping you with their time and money.”