The Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe has been chosen to host this year’s Zoohackathon competition that will run from 16-17 November 2019.
Organised by the US Mission in Uganda, Zoohackathon is a wildlife based competition that promotes technology solutions, builds cross-sector collaboration, raises awareness, and empowers communities to combat wildlife trafficking. During 48-hour competitions, teams of university students, software developers, coders, graphic designers, and wildlife enthusiasts use technology to tackle wildlife conservation problems. At each local event — held at zoos, wildlife organizations, technology start-up facilities, and education centers around the world — judges choose a winning solution.
During a media brief on Friday at the Embassy Plaza in Kampala, UWEC Executive Director Dr. James Musinguzi said the grant they have received from the United States Department of State (DOS) is going to help them work hard to deliver a great event where they are going to come up with problem statements regarding wildlife trafficking and float them out to people to develop solutions.
“UWEC did host this same competition last year and it was very successful, in fact the Ugandan team came second overall in the whole world so basing on that the American Embassy found it fit to select the center popularly known as Entebbe Zoo as the same venue to host the event this year,” said Mr Musinguzi.
“We are very privileged to be able to partner with the American Embassy to have this event delivered as planned.” he added.
On his part, Colleen O’ Donnell, the USAID Biodiversity Specialist said wildlife trafficking is a serious transnational crime that threatens security, undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption, robs communities of legitimate economic livelihoods, and pushes species to the brink of extinction.
“We came up with the technological competition to find solutions for the vice as well as support innovative conservation efforts at UWEC and the African continent as large,” added Donell.
The United States is among the top world leaders in the fight against wildlife trafficking. In February 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13773, which highlighted wildlife trafficking as one of four priority areas in the effort to dismantle organized crime syndicates.