The Eko Innovation Center hosted innovators and green energy advocates at an event in Lagos. The highlight of the event is the launch of Ekoclimathon 1.0, a hackathon designed to inspire tech innovations and solutions toward mitigating the effect of climate change globally.
The maiden hackathon will be hosted in collaboration with Generation Unlimited 9ja, a youth empowerment initiative focused on supporting adolescents with skills. According to the organisers, the hackathon will help change the narrative around climate change in Nigeria by encouraging innovators to develop ideas and tech innovations that can be developed to build global solutions that will help the world meet its climate goal.
According to Victor Afolabi, the founder, Eko Innovation Centre & Curator, Art of Technology Lagos, Ekoclimathon 1.0 will focus on providing sustainable solutions that will address the problems of climate change in agriculture, food, and waste, Circular Economy, Transportation challenge, Nature-based solutions challenge, and Energy.
Victor noted that the hackathon already has 1034 entries (participants) from about 11 countries. He explained that selected participants will be grouped into teams and made to collaborate, brainstorm and ideate new concepts based on their focus areas for a period of 3 weeks.
Each team gets to pitch their ideas to a Jury of subject matter experts. Then, the top 10 teams with the most viable concepts will go head-to-head at the finale which will hold on the 5th of August for a chance to win a $7,500 prize pool. They will also have an opportunity to join an acceleration program that will help prepare their products for the market.
The organisers announced that there is a line-up of industry leaders who will act as mentors, and judges at the hackathon.
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Thoughts at the event
Industry executives, presenters, mentors, innovators, and participants were present at the launch in Lagos to speak about the challenges of climate change and spoke on how technology can be instrumental in solving them.
Given that Nigeria’s biggest employer of labour and the highest contributor to the Nigerian economy is agriculture, Victor Afolabi mentioned that there was a need to preserve nature as well as ensure that concrete steps maintain an environment where green life would thrive.
“We are heavily dependent on agriculture. Forestry, and all the things that we do contributes to the impacts of climate change that we see today. The Lake Chad is drying up, people can no longer do fishing. Some of them are displaced. The herders don’t have where to live. In the long run, it will affect everyone.”Victor Afolabi, CEO and Founder Eko Innovation Centre
He said in order to combat the issue of climate change, it was crucial to begin utilizing the creativity and talents of young Africans who are passionate about technology.
On technology solutions addressing the problem of climate change, Afolabi said there are 5 areas of digital solutions that will be hacked – foundational technologies, cloud technologies, decision-making technologies, sense and control technologies (Internet of Things), and blockchain technologies.
He also noted that Nigeria is among the top 50 countries in the world that contribute to the problem of climate change due to the dependency on natural resources and emission of greenhouse gases.
Note that in 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change demonstrating his administration’s commitment to a global effort to reverse the effects of the negative trend.
Speaking at the launch, Celine Lafoucriere, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, and Generation Unlimited Lead expressed excitement about the Eko Innovation Center’s project and promised to keep an eye on the hackathon’s development.
On the impact of the Generation Unlimited program on Nigerian youths, Celine said:
“Our mandate is to make sure that no one is left behind. So we are looking at the very most vulnerable and we are looking at the mind-blowing number of population of young people under the age of 30.”Celine Lafoucriere, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria
Eko Innovation Centre is one of the leading tech hubs in Nigeria, curating events like Art of Technology Lagos, and The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon amongst others with Eko Carbon, and Commodity, the foremost climate mitigation and carbon management company.
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