Meet the 7 Winners at UNDP Lesotho Hackathon: Innovations for Inclusive Financial Services Lesotho

By Nvulane Nhlapo (@NvulaneNhlapo)

UNDP Lesotho Hackathon
UNDP Lesotho Hackathon Winners

In the beginning there were 17 teams at the UNDP Lesotho Hackathon. The task was to find innovative solutions to address issues of inclusive financial services for the poor and rural populations based on identified market challenges in Lesotho.

After three days of incredibly fierce competition, the judges winnowed the teams down to the following 7 winners:

  • Money Bag
  • Bundle-Up
  • Cashflow
  • InfoCrasp
  • Nova
  • Trio
  • Technify

Each team took home the Hackathon prize of 5000USD. The Money Bag team was singled out for an extra 500USD after being voted for the participants’ winner award.

We caught up with Lehlohonolo Makoti from the MoneyBag team who highlighted that they’re aiming to finish off the solution and deliver it to it’s intended audience.

“Our major first step will be investigating the feasibility of our product MoneyBag – which performs two major functions: phone-less access to mobile financial services and helps semi-literate and visually impaired people get mobile financial services. This we hope to achieve in corporation to our already well established mobile money operators mainly Ecocash and Mpesa. With the successful launch of this product we could see the transformation of the entire mobile money landscape to include all members of our society without any exceptions.”

Commenting on how he felt about the hackathon, Lehlohonolo continued to say, “The hackathon produced a pool of great ideas with a strong competitive edge but we have to maintain our solution which is quite unique and with coordination and resource sharing with teams who may have similar goals we stand a chance to achieve something we as the developers in Lesotho have never done before and that is great relevant products that aim to help every Mosotho better their lifestyle.”

Most promising is the fact various discussion forums were held in order to equip the participants on how their solutions can be sustainable beyond the kick-start funding period. Participants also had an opportunity  to  interact  with  experts  in  the  financial  services,  private  sector, business  development  and  civil  society.

“It was a great pleasure to participate in the competition and we’re grateful to all the stakeholders who took part in making the hackathon a reality especially UNDP and FinMark.” Lehlohonolo concluded.