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“Hack the Mara” competition now open to African creators and developers to tackle last mile payment challenges



Photo credit: Mary Beth Koeth

In line with its commitment to inspire developers to “build the future of Africa on Web3”, Mara, the Pan-African blockchain platform, is announcing the launch of the  “Hack The Mara” competition which will take place from 17th-26th of September 2022.

The aim of the Mara Hackathon is to engage participants to create decentralised applications that provide sustainable solutions for last mile payment tracking. The solutions prototyped during the hackathon are expected to strengthen the financial sustainability of ongoing conservation projects in the Mara for better livelihoods.

The competition will take place in five stages, starting online with the final stage completed in person in Kenya. In a world first, the top 8 teams will be invited for a physical hack in the Mara where they will be hosted at Ishara. Located in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Ishara is an immersive experience dedicated to preserving the wildlife, the communities and the land of this globally significant conservation area.

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While explaining the importance of the competition, Kate Kallot, Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at Mara said “Blockchain for social impact is at the heart of everything we do at Mara. Through our non-profit foundation, our aim is to empower problem-solvers to build blockchain solutions which promote long term beneficial, social and environmental change in Africa”.


The hackathon in partnership with Circle, the issuer of USD Coin (USDC) and Euro Coin, will challenge developers to use blockchain via USSD and M-Pesa for payment transparency. “Developers are core to what we do at Circle. We hope to see more technical breakthroughs that make financial services more inclusive, efficient and scalable. We are excited to give African innovators an opportunity to build solutions that may change the world and certainly the world of finance” said Sandra Persig, VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Relations and Ecosystem Marketing at Circle.

Global early-stage VC and start-up builder Antler, will offer the winning solution the opportunity to join the Antler Nairobi program to further develop their idea into a business and potentially receive investment. The participants will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on originality, creativity, analytical skills, strategic thinking and practical implementation. The top solutions will also be awarded up to $100,000 in funds and prizes alongside opportunities for follow-on funding by Mara Foundation and or its partners.

“Deployment of these smart technologies is going to be transformative and impactful in many diverse respects, from uplifting and empowering communities to the preservation and conservation of our wildlife and nature. Together with Mara, we are excited to pioneer these efforts. We look forward to welcoming brilliant creators to our camp and enabling them to experience the magic of Ishara and Mara.” Said Azhar Madhani, Co-Founder of Ishara.

Critically, the most promising solutions will have the opportunity to be piloted with local conservancies in the Masai Mara where they can have a real world impact. “We are looking forward to understanding how this technology can make a sustainable use of data and help uncover a sustainable financing solution that can be beneficial to the local communities in addressing environmental challenges,” said Victor Ohuruogu, Senior Africa Regional Manager, at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. “It’s an honour for us to see African technologists coming together in our dear Masai Mara National Reserve to build innovative solutions, powered by data.”


“Blockchain has the potential to take financial services and last mile payment solutions to new heights.  With a direct focus on solving real local challenges, these innovators may create globally relevant solutions and drive the future of finance” said Chi Nnadi, Co-founder and CEO at Mara.

Registration for the ‘Hack The Mara’ competition will close on the 5th of August. Interested innovators and developers from all over the continent are encouraged to register on the Mara Foundation website

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