The IFC (International Finance Corporation, member of the World Bank Group) in partnership with the BHP Foundation, DSTI (Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Science, Innovation and Technology), NMA (Sierra Leone’s National Minerals Agency), Sensi Tech Innovation hub, and other organizations are hosting an innovation exercise and developer competition, called a hackathon, the Mining Community Innovation Challenge”. “Hackathon” is a combination of the words “hack”, to find a positive solution to a real-world challenge by programming in a skilful way, and “marathon”, an endurance contest covering a long distance in a short period of time. A hackathon is an event in which a group of people from various fields and professional backgrounds including computer programmers, students or technologically savvy youth, work together with industry experts to find novel solutions to societal problems surrounding a specific theme. This event will bring bright minds, like you, from across the country, especially in mining communities.

Goals and Desired outcomes

The goal of the program is to crowd-source the ideation, design, prototyping, and deployment of a field-ready information product or service to support the mining community for the purpose of improvement in any of the following areas: knowledge management, quality of life in local communities surrounding the mining industry, public awareness and perception of the industry, social responsibility, environmental impact and protection, etc. The program further intends to empower in the technology sector and mining industry, especially youths, to use their creativity and skill to make a positive impact in any of the above-mentioned areas within the mining sector.

The expected outcomes of the 3-day hackathon are as follows:

  • Raise awareness and strengthen skills relating to the use of data within the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the benefit of Sierra Leone’s mining communities;
  • Catalyze the drive to innovate among sixty (60) youth in the mining community to address social challenges and enact positive change; and,
  • Identify twelve (12) innovative ideas and develop as many prototypes for digital solutions to aid mining communities in Sierra Leone.

We expect to deliver twelve (12) ideas and prototypes, which satisfy the expected outcomes. We further expect to select five (5) for further capacity building,  idea development and potential deployment.

Judging Criteria

 The final phase of the hackathon allows each team to present their work to the judges and to members of the audience. Each team will be given equal time to deliver their value proposition, defend the viability of their plan, and show examples of how their product or solution would be used. Judges will be given time to ask questions and will observe and grade the presentations at the end of the hackathon based on a number of criteria. These typically include relevance, feasibility, potential impact, the likelihood of success, and others. The judges will select five teams as finalists. The five winning teams will be invited to take advantage of a 6-week paid learning program and then have a chance to present their work in a public forum attended by investors, press and media, industry decision-makers, government representatives, and others. The top teams will receive prizes equivalent to $2,000 for the winner and $1,000 for the first runner-up.

Code of conduct

The Mining Community Innovation Challenge is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression,  sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, stature, race, age or religion.

The organizers will not tolerate harassment of hackathon participants in any form. Explicit sexual language and imagery are not appropriate for any hackathon setting, materials or context. This includes the physical venue, online channels or any linked environments where verbal, visual or audio tools would be used or where physical and emotional expressions may be made. Hackathon participants violating these rules may be expelled from the event at the discretion of the organizers and if necessary report to the appropriate authority.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

Verbal comments reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity, expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, stature, race, age or religion. Any of the following behaviours that are done in the real world, through proxies or online:

    • Explicit, sexual or culturally insensitive images in public spaces
    • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following
    • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
    • Unwelcome sexual attention
    • Inappropriate physical contact.
    • Harassing photography or recording.
    • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviours.

Gender Approach                    

There have been many efforts during the past few years to raise awareness of gender gaps and equality in the ICT industry in Sierra Leone. For this hackathon, we will recruit directly from our community to ensure we have a gender-balanced competition. With this project, we will make all communication (emails, websites, social media and other electronic and hard copy promotional materials) gender-friendly. We will avoid words that might be insensitive or intimidating to women, and instead, we will emphasise cross-collaboration and knowledge-sharing to reach women who historically have been underrepresented at competition events. We set out to create a tech event that would be equally attractive to men and women. Being explicit about attracting female talent is expected to boost the number of relevant applicants. In all of our promotional materials and public engagement, we will clearly state that female candidate are encouraged to apply.

We are cognizant of potential biases during the selection phase, where male participants may be emboldened to project more confident and outspoken displays than female participants. Selection panels will balance scoring on final presentations with other parts of the group prototype such as the strength of the idea to resolve problems. Of course, selection panels themselves will be balanced in representation. We will ensure that female mentors provide input to teams and we will seek to increase the visibility of these women that will participate through tailored leadership, personal development and mentorship regardless of cultural context or gender.

Creating more gender balance in this type of project requires a concerted effort by all stakeholders. But as key implementers, we will have to catalyse a change in mindset by leading by example. This is why we prioritise more gender-balanced representation from participating institutions and engage women-focused networks. Overall we will strive for a 50% female participation ratio rate for the project.

Moreover, throughout the events, participants will be reminded to take into account gender during the competition. We will encourage them to find solutions that incorporate mechanisms to address gender inequalities in risk communication.

Application close

The application is closed, you all receive and email or call for confirmation.