About

In December 2012, civic technologists teame up with subject matter experts in an intensive marathon to find innovative solutions to challenges facing the sanitation sector. The event, born of a global partnership among The World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Random Hacks of Kindness, Eirene, Nokia, Open Cities, and Civic Commons, among others, took place simultaneously in several cities around the world December 1-2.

Linking problems with solutions

The Sanitation Hackathon challenged programmers to develop innovative software solutions that addressed real-world problems in sanitation. During the months leading up to the event, subject matter experts and members of the public created, submitted and voted on problem definitions that highlight specific sanitation challenges that could be mitigated by innovative ICTs. Then, during a weekend-long marathon event, teams of programmers in cities around the world developed innovative solutions to these problem definitions. Learn more about the event »

The Sanitation Hackathon emerges out of the recognition that the rapid increase of penetration, awareness and literacy in information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the developing world can transform water and sanitation management. Mobile phones, the Internet and open data are creating new entry points to make sanitation services more transparent, inclusive and participatory while forging new connections between the government, its citizens and the private sector.

Beyond the hackathon

Developing solutions to critical sector-wide challenges can require support that extends before and after the weekend hackathon event. This includes a deeper understanding of systemic issues related to sanitation and mentorship by subject matter experts (SMEs) and design leaders to guide meaningful and relevant applications. The Sanitation Hackathon featured pre-clinics for SMEs to refine problem definitions, as well as post-event support over a period of several months for teams of developers seeking to prepare their weekend projects for scale and impact.

Building on the Water Hackathon

Hackathons are increasingly used to pair young technologists with development challenges. In order to bring about new technological innovations in the water and sanitation sector, the World Bank along with its many partners and stakeholders initiated a process that culminated in the first-ever Water Hackathon in October 2011. The event featured nearly 1000 registered hackers at ten locations worldwide who developed some 62 new prototypes. The Sanitation Hackathon builds off of the Water Hackathon’s successful experience of building communities of civic technologists dedicated to innovation in public service delivery. Watch a video »