Call for Application: Design-a-thon for Climate Information Application
Development using the Internet of Things

Kick off Workshop : 20th-22nd February 2018

Final Presentation : 20th March 2018


Rwanda is a country highly prone to disaster, including landslides, flash floods, droughts, windstorm, lightning and earthquakes.

Over 157,000 people are vulnerable to drought, 7,431 are vulnerable to
land slide and over 5,000 houses are vulnerable to windstorm, while forest and landscape degradation and climate change increase the risk and severity of disaster affecting most the vulnerable population such as female-headed households and rain dependent farmers with less access to education in rural areas.

Climate data is critical for disaster risk management, early warning and for fast response to disaster, however micro level data is very difficult to collect with traditional meteorological stations. Presently, climate related data is collected and analyzed by Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo) under the Ministry of Environment.

A large part of data collection is done manually, involving volunteer observers, with data being sent monthly by phone
and paper forms. This can delay the early warning mechanism and in the face of large scale disaster, inefficient to provide first-hand scoping information and moreover lead to loss of data.

Kayonza is one of the districts identified as most vulnerable to drought in the National Risk Atlas (MIDIMAR), with 26% of the district land exposed to severe drought and agriculture at high risk.Part of Akagera National Park lies in the district, and it is within the so-called “Cattle Corridor”, an extremely dry area stretching from south to north of the eastern side of the Province. Major challenges related to climate issues identified in the District Plan (2013-2017) are; agriculture based on weather, large number of vulnerable groups (41634 people / 11196 households); limited access to socio-economic infrastructure (eg. Electricity) and environment issues such as drought and soil erosion.

In order to pilot new and innovative methods to effectively collect and disseminate micro-climate data that matches the needs of the people, Meteo, with the support of UNDP has been
implementing the pilot project ‘Internet of Things (IoT) for Water Management and Climate Change’.

The project has been testing an open source Internet of Things (IoT) technology since August 2017.

The project has identified sites and set up 12 sensors (temperature and soil moisture) through multiple workshops and consultation with the local stakeholders in 3 sectors; Murundi, Ndego and Rwinkwavu, which are especially drought prone areas within the district.The sensors are now collecting data every 15 minutes.

As the final stage, UNDP with Rwanda Meteorology Agency and the University of Tokyo will conduct a Design-a-thon that aims to convert this real time data into usable and accessible information through a collective designing process, bringing together national and local stakeholders with young programmers and technology experts.

The Design-a-thon will be in three steps;

1) 3 days workshop,including one day optional field visit

2) 20 days of app development

3) Final presentation and award ceremony.



Final deliverables (Prototypes) are expected to provide solution to the problem: “How can we
build a system to deliver timely climate related information and predictions to address pressing needs of farmers and vulnerable populations in climate disaster prone areas?”


1.Design-a-thon kickoff workshop (3 days)

participants are introduced to the design challenges, formed into teams,and make an initial pitch of the type of app they want to develop.

Up to six winning teams of the pitch competition will receive transport fees worth 200,000 Frw.

The intention is that this money will help cover transport and small costs for the team to continue to meet and seriously develop the app over the next month.

2. App Development (20 days)

-All shortlisted teams have 20 days to flesh out a functional app that addresses the challenges proposed by the stakeholders.

During this time, the Application
Development Manager at IHK will be checking in with teams at regular intervals to see their progress and make sure they are on track with what the stakeholders need. Applicants are also invited to work together at IHK co-working space for free.

3.Final App Selection and Awards

– The final apps will be presented at the partnership workshop with stakeholders on 20th March. Apps will be judged by how well they meet the stakeholder needs and the quality of the code and software architecture and winners will be awarded prizes.


•First Prize- $5,000 (one team)

•Second Prize- $1,000 (one team)

•Inspiration Prizes – $500 (up to four teams)

The award is provided in exchange to the deliverable, which is the prototype of the defined climate information system.

There are no limitation to the usage and its distribution among team members.

The intellectual property of the winning prototypes will stay with the project.


Application is open to individuals, companies, academia, initiative groups and NGOs. Individuals are eligible to apply, although team applications are encouraged.

All Applicants must be able to
physically attend Day1 and afternoon of Day 3 of the workshop and the final Presentation.


Apply by registering with email to no later than Sunday 18th February 11:59PM.

Applicants must submit a simple resume or CV (maximum 2 pages) upon application.

Note that by applying to the Design-a-thon, the applicant will accept the conditions written in the concept note.

Maximum 50 candidate will be invited to the Kick off Workshop, selected based on
the following criteria.

Teams are encouraged to apply together, particularly if they include both
coding and climate science/smallholder farmer experience. If a team wishes to apply together, such that no one on the team is excluded from selection, the CVs of all team members must be attached
to the same email.

However, individuals may also apply, they will be mixed into teams during the Design-a-thon kickoff workshop.

Academic – At least a secondary school degree or TVET certificate related to engineering,ICT, environment, climate change or other related areas.

Experience– Knowledge in programming (mobile apps, systems, data management tools and others), climate science, disaster risk management, or practical hands-on experience working with
smallholder farmers

Knowledge– Knowledge in IoT and/or development issues such as environmental issues, climate change and disaster risk management will be an advantage.

Language– English

For more information,please download Design a thon workshop