28 Apr Finding Solutions to Help Fisheries in Lusaka

BongoHive, in partnership with U.S Embassy in Zambia, Yalelo Fisheries, Google Developer Group Lusaka, Hacker’s Guild and the Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia (ADAZ) hosted the first Fishackathon in Lusaka, Zambia.

Fishackathon Lusaka kicked off on Friday 22nd April, 2016 and was officiated by Fisho Mwale, Director & Co Founder of Yalelo Fisheries and Chairman of the Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia (ADAZ). “We are happy to be a part of the first Fishackathon 2016 – Zambia, we support and encourage such ventures that harness the power of technology and apply it to create platforms around issues in the fishing industry in Zambia.”

Executive Director and CoFounder of BongoHive, Lukonga Lindunda gave a few remarks and welcomed all participants to the first Fishackathon Lusaka. “We are glad to be hosting the first Fishackathon in Zambia and also to be one of the three hosts from Africa for this year’s Fishackathon with the hope that in the coming years we can see more participation from within Africa. We understand the objective of Fishackathon and realize the potential of the fishing industry in Zambia and because of that, we are glad to help in the ways we can,” said Lukonga Lindunda. Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Zambia, Vanessa Vidal-Sammoud also spoke during the kickoff event.

The Fishackathon had a total of 20 participants throughout the weekend. Saturday 23rd April – Day 2 of the Fishackathon started with a presentation from Yalelo Fisheries CEO Bryan McCoy on the fishing Business in Zambia and some of its challenges. The participants also got to do some research and familiarize themselves with the statistics of the industry in terms of deficits, production and consuming data. Problem statements were constructed and scrutinized. The participants where then split into 4 teams each tackling different problem statements.

Although Zambia has 40% of the water resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) it imports an estimated 50,000 tonnes of fish annually. Water accounts for 20% of our land mass, but fisheries only accounts for around 1% of Gross Domestic Product GDP. The motivation to host Fishackathon came from this as a way to help (even in a small way) the fishing industry jump some hurdles and grow, produce more ifsh, reduce the deficit and help meet the demand of fish in the country. Although the industry is relatively small in Zambia right now, we realize that fisheries are crucial to Zambia’s economy as a source of income and protein.

The goal during Fishackathon was to create a solution to these problems. The teams began coding and creating the platforms. The fish experts and mentors provided a lot of insight for the developers to understand how the fishing industry works. On day 3, the teams were still working, building their platforms. At the end of day 3 there was a pitch session. Each team got to present their creation and explain why they built it and how it works.

The most exciting parts of fishackathon Lusaka was the kickoff event when our guest of honor Mr Fisho Mwale gave his story of how he got into the fishing industry. People really enjoyed his story and sense of humor, and the insight he gave on how there is so much potential for the fishing industry in Zambia to grow. After endorsing fishackathon he urged all upcoming entrepreneurs to consider possible business ventures in aquaculture. The interaction between the fish experts and developers was also very interesting for both parties coming from very different fields. The fish experts got to learn a lot from the developers and the developers got to know a lot about how the fishing industry works. The pitch session was also a major highlight of the event. It was super cool to see the products created from the problem statements come to life.

We are glad that stakeholders and experts in the fishing industry partnered with us and got involved in Fishackathon. There would be no need to code if it wasn’t for them. We see a situation where these platforms will be tried and tested by the fishing experts and reviews will be brought back on how the platforms are working and if they are indeed helpful or not.

Team AquaSchool created a web/mobile application that has aquaculture and fishing information/resources. Aquaschool is an educational tool that will provide (for a start) the following information: A step by step “how to” manual on starting your own fish farm, Safety tips, do’s and don’t’s, legislative and regulatory information. The tool will work on web browsers (both desktop and mobile) and on android devices running Jellybean (android version 4.1) or higher. This means that anyone with an internet connection or android device can access this tool.

Team Aquaverse created a resource pool/directory housing various players in aquaculture and the Fishing industry from suppliers of cages and nets to aquaculture consultants.

Team Fish.io emerged best fishackathon Lusaka team after creating a USSD smart weather application that sends real time information on weather patterns. Team Fish.io have since entered the global fishackathon challenge and stand a chance to compete for a global cash prize of $10,000.

At the end of the Fishackathon, the judges deliberated and picked the best and most promising team. Team Fish.io was the best team and will represent Zambia globally.  As the local winner, Team Fish.io have submitted their creation on the Fishackathon website. A panel selected by the Fishackathon partners will review and select a final winner out of all the local winners and will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000 USD.


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