World Bank Announces 3 Winners Of ‘Sanitation Hackathon And App Challenge’
“Last week [the World Bank] announced three prize-winners of the Sanitation Hackathon and App Challenge, described as a yearlong project to recognize innovative and locally relevant [smartphone applications (apps)] that address sanitation challenges,” Inter Press Service reports. The news service highlights the three winners — “Manobi, a mobile and internet services firm based in Dakar, Senegal,” which developed a text messaging service to monitor school sanitation facilities; a team of students at the University of Indonesia who developed Sun-Clean, an app “designed to teach children good sanitation and hygiene practices”; and a team of developers from England, Germany, the U.S., and Tanzania who developed Taarifa, an app “that enables public officials to tag and respond to citizen complaints about the delivery of sanitation services” (Deen, 4/25). “The competition attracted more than 180 apps, including everything from games to teach children about good hygiene to programs that track exactly how much a household spends on sanitation,” BBC News notes (Kalan, 4/24).
“Speaking of the widespread sanitation crisis, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson was quick to produce staggering numbers: of the world’s seven billion people, about six billion have mobile phones but only about 4.5 billion have access to toilets,” the news service writes (4/25). “As the largest multilateral financier of water and sanitation development, the World Bank is renewing its commitment to a worldwide effort to expand access to sanitation,” the group writes in an article on its webpage, noting, “The economic losses that stem from this lack of access to proper sanitation amount to an estimated $260 billion annually, more than the entire gross domestic product of Chile” and, “[i]In some countries, economic losses from the lack of sanitation are equivalent to up to seven percent of GDP” (4/25). In a separate article, the World Bank provides video footage of an “online conversation with key global decision makers about the economics and politics of sanitation,” held on April 19 (4/19).