As part of the activities of the 7th UMaT Innovation and Career Fair, the Office of Research, Innovation, and Consultancy organised a Student Hackathon on Disaster Management and Resilience in Ghana on Wednesday, 12th July 2023. The event was hosted at the foyer of the main auditorium of the University. In attendance were officials from Total Energies, Newmont Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti – Obuasi Mine, and AngloGold Iduapriem Mines.
The primary objective of the Hackathon was to provide a platform for student innovators to showcase their problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, creativity, and technical acumen while contributing to a significant societal issue. The focus on Disaster Management and Resilience in Ghana stemmed from the Government’s quest to reduce climate-related hazards, and impacts, including the increase in devastation as a result of floods, droughts, coastal erosion, and landslides in the country. Thus, students sought to address the challenges faced by communities during these emergencies with solutions that are artificial intelligence-based. The Hackathon was open to all students from various disciplines, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and diverse perspectives in addressing the challenge. In all, 50 students formed 10 groups to participate in the event and they were given four hours only to think on their feet to come up with their ideas in meeting the challenge.
The organising committee ensured that the hackathon received ample support from academia and industry experts. The judges for the event were carefully selected to ensure a fair and comprehensive evaluation process. The panel of judges included the CEO of EddyTech Consult, renowned for promoting technological advancements and innovation, and two officials from the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) Ghana, Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly office. Each team had the opportunity to present their solutions to the judges and the audience after the hacking. The presentations were engaging and demonstrated the students’ ingenuity and technical proficiency.
The judgment criteria included:
1. Innovation: How unique and creative is the solution in addressing disaster management challenges?
2. Usability: How user-friendly and accessible is the platform for all stakeholders involved?
3. Scalability: Could the solution be scaled up to cater for larger communities and disasters?
4. Social Impact: What positive impact could the platform have on communities’ disaster response and recovery efforts?
5. Technical Proficiency: How well did the teams utilize technology to develop and implement their solutions? At the end of the hackathon, the following emerged winners in order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions:
1. Team Oracle: The winning team, “Oracle,” developed a user-friendly interface that seamlessly connected volunteers, local organizations, and government agencies. The platform’s advanced data analytics capabilities allow for real-time monitoring of disaster situations and resource allocation. Team Oracle’s emphasis on community engagement and inclusivity set their solution apart, earning them the first position.
2. Team Sentinels: “Sentinels” secured the second position with their unique approach to disaster management. Their solution focused on leveraging AI-powered chatbots and machine learning algorithms to assess disaster risk levels and offer personalized disaster preparedness plans for communities. The judges praised their proactive approach to disaster preparedness.
3. Team Limitless: “Limitless” claimed the third spot with their platform that emphasized community empowerment. Their solution utilized gamification elements to encourage citizens’ active involvement in disaster response and recovery efforts. The other groups were given consolation prizes.
The Student Hackathon 2023 proved to be a resounding success, achieving its objectives of fostering innovation, collaboration and creativity among the student community while addressing a critical societal issue. The event highlighted the potential of young minds to contribute meaningfully to disaster management and resilience in Ghana.