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Chamanculo in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, is a peri-urban area with no sewage or drainage system and major problems related to water and sanitation. In previous projects improved sanitation facilities have been built in the area. Despite the efforts to include the beneficiaries in the process, the projects have faced problems with the commitment to the maintenance of the facilities. The approach presented in this report is based on the belief that the best and most sustainable solutions are reached, when beneficiaries are given the opportunity to solve their own problems. Based on our findings and initial hackathon organized in February 2014, a hackathon is a viable and solutionfocused participatory technique to cross societal borders and empower people to solve their own problems. With the presented toolkit to empowering facilitation methods and organizing hackathons, a positive problem-solving atmosphere can be created in a community.

Keywords: Sanitation, empowerment, participatory process, hackathon.

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During this spring, our team has explored ways to contribute to solving water and sanitation challenges of Chamanculo. We have conducted literature research on sanitation solutions, empowerment and participatory processes. We travelled to Mozambique to do research on location in form of interviews and visits, and to organize a pioneer community hackathon with the theme water and sanitation in cooperation with ASSCODECHA, the Ministry of Science and Technology and a local university students’ hacker community.

In the beginning of the field trip we investigated on alternative sanitation solutions and were quite interested in dry sanitation and urban gardening. After all, we decided not to introduce any ready solutions and to focus on empowering locals. We found the ideology behind most of the introduced participatory methods very promising. However, despite the seemingly wide range of variety between these participatory methods, they all had one key feature in common: the methods are used to implement a solution that previously existed outside the target community, or are otherwise heavily guided. 

Commitment of the beneficiaries is a central goal for any development co-operation project and often the most challenging one. We believe that by enhancing the target community’s capacity to create its own ideas and solutions, a greater level of commitment can be achieved. Based on our findings and initial hackathon organized in February 2014, a community hackathon is a viable and solution-focused participatory technique to cross societal borders and empower people to solve their own problems.
We decided to provide means for creating and enhancing the problem solving atmosphere in Chamanculo. These are presented in the form of an ABC guide to community based problem solving, and a more detailed Hackathon map that guides the reader to organize a successful, well-planned community hackathon. The ABC guide and the hackathon map have been produced primarily for the volunteers and staff of ASSCODECHA and the webpage is made in order to make the products available to others that could make use of them. In our work we have focused on providing examples on how to utilize the different problem-solving techniques to tackle sanitation challenges, but the activities can be used to address any kinds of problems.
Thus, we strongly believe that, if the community will adopt hackathons, new business ideas and models can be initiated from motivated and enthusiastic people. To really have an impact, there also needs to be support for the newly hackathon-made entrepreneurs with new sanitation or other business ideas. Steps should be taken towards creating a community of entrepreneurs in Chamanculo. These steps could, e.g., be creating a startup-center, setting up training for entrepreneurs and helping entrepreneurs to find funding.

Extract from our Final report
Yhd -12.390 Sustainable Global Technologies Studio: Facing Local and Global Challenges
Course at Aalto University
Spring 2014

Perttu Karjalainen
Mariko Landström
Mikaela Lindberg
Caroline Moinel
Anja Thiede

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