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Women In FinTech Hackathon 21: How MpaMpe Merged in Top 5

Women In FinTech Hackathon 21: How MpaMpe Merged in Top 5

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Ronnie Atuhaire
·Sep 14, 2022·

7 min read

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Table of contents

  • 🌟 What is MpaMpe?
  • 🌟 What is this Hackathon about?
  • 🌟 One-Week Hackathon: My First one
  • 🌟 How MpaMpe Made it!
  • 🌟 The Sleepless Nights
  • 🌟 The Summit
  • 🌟 Top 5
  • 🌟 My Advice
  • 🌟 Conclusion

After almost one year of participating in the Women In FinTech Hackathon, I have decided to write this post to encourage you to involve in Hackathons. These events are really good because you get to code abnormally with intense learning.

I was privileged to be a part of MpaMpe, a group I formed with other three ladies and all University students from Makerere University doing CS and software engineering.

MpaMpe managed to be among the top five even though all odds seemed against us. This is a long but short story about how we managed to be among the winners.

🌟 What is MpaMpe?

MpaMpe is a crowdfunding hybrid startup that will support both fiat and cryptocurrencies and it is tailored to help Ugandans.

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We aim to the reduce financial and digital divide through crowdsourcing funds in form of donations to particular campaigns hence fighting poverty, creating capital for businesses, employment opportunities, increasing health care, etc.

MpaMpe locally means "Give Me", "I Give Out" ♥. This is just a brief intro, I will write more about MpaMpe its own post.

🌟 What is this Hackathon about?

Well, it is all about equipping Women with the skills and the right tools to transform Society. It is a week-long Hackathon that culminates in a grand summit on the final day to present the winners. The winners must have used Mojaloop, which means one-loop; a seemingly interoperable way of money transfer.

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  • 🎈 A team of 2 to 4 developers.
  • 🎈 The team leader must be a woman.
  • 🎈 At least 67 percent of team members must be women.

The hackathon introduces ambitious women in FinTech to trending, innovative tech solutions, and networks such as the Mojaloop OSS Community.

Now, you know how I ended up alone among women. I also love to see women code and do incredible things men do especially in the Tech industry which is mostly dominated by the male gender.

🌟 One-Week Hackathon: My First one

These 17 shortlisted groups from 40 applications were invited to take part for a long haul of a week, learning, sharing, being mentored, challenged, and equipped with necessary skills that will see them deliver an MVP at the end of the session.

There was a different mentor every day that came through the hackathon that took place at Hive Colab in Kamwokya.

It took place between 08➖14 October at Hackathon, Hive Colab and 15 October was the final day of the Summit at Mestil Hotel

🌟 How MpaMpe Made it!

Now you have a basic understanding of what transpired; The question is, how did MpaMpe reach the top 5? Well for me, even though we did not be number one, two, or three... it was a milestone given that it was the kind of my first Hackathon and I have been involved in over 5 Hackathons up to date.

We were told three days before the grand day that we were to implement the Mojaloop API endpoints and produce an MVP on the D-DAY...

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Yes, the panic mode was switched on; this is usually the most interesting part of the Hackathon; I was the only guy and more technical than the rest of my team and I had initially agreed to do all backend development... So all eyes were on me 👀 .

I only knew Python at a time. I had earlier on started learning Javascript and somehow I felt I did not know it (imposter)...

So, after thinking for a while..... I remembered a friend of mine (Paul Jeremiah) who was so good at JavaScript. This good buddy of mine loves JS so much that he eats, drinks, and sleeps on it.

Yes! Always seek help if you don't know..even in the middle of the Hackathon...

🌟 The Sleepless Nights

We jumped around from framework to framework until it dawned on us that for MpaMpe to really come up well, we should go with NodeJS and Express using MongoDB. Now, I had to learn Vanilla JavaScript from Paul and implement MpaMpe in NodeJS with Express since we had the front end already built by one of the team members.

We had two days without sleep, I remember the first day everything failed; Almost what we thought or did was not coming up or making sense of what we were trying to achieve on top of jumping from one language to another... We slept for about 2-3 hours that day.

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On the second day, we slept for just one hour and that was from 6 AM-7 AM. But the interesting thing was that everything started to make sense, had built an MVP from scratch and had written about 600 lines of code in a single night. Yes! This was insane but it was hardening and preparing me for the Hackathon world.

That day was like the last one before the d-day; I remember I received calls from my team members asking me whether I was going to show up; Because, I had barely slept and I was thinking of not showing up since I had the solution working and just wanted to submit on the last day...

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To cut the story short, I showed up but late when everyone had reached and sessions had begun...

So, we had presentations and we had to pitch in front of everyone that same day before the Summit. Up to now, I believe we were the worst presenters since we barely had no slides, and even those that we had were so terrible. I remember one group that presented before us (Belle Beauty Uganda) had smart and professional slides that wowed everyone.

But what we had, was MpaMpe; the only thing we remained with to back us up. Our UI/UX was good and attracted attention from everyone. We were even time barred and stopped in the middle of our presentation for the next team to proceed... At that moment, I felt like that was it; WE ARE OUT!

🌟 The Summit

The d-day is here and everyone has reached Mestil, invited guests, panelists, mentors, and other sector-related people to witness the winners from the verdict and submissions we made the day before. I was still at home, probably I felt there was no point in coming early since we had already failed and I hate failure...

So once again, your boy came in late after lie 2 hours of the session. I missed breakfast, intro sessions and etc...But at least I showed up; As I slipped through the fancy hall, my team automatically recognized me and yelled at me. We were sitting two teams per table (MpaMpe with Hack Girls) and my spot was well reserved.

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🌟 Top 5

The chief panelist started announcing the top six in descending order, and boom! Your MpaMpe was number five; to my surprise, I just looked on as I couldn't believe it! The other team we sat with at the table got the second position. We receive our cash prize, BootCamp sessions, co-space, etc...

Read more about the winners here.

🌟 My Advice

I later raised that my sleepless nights had actually paid off; I became alive again and since then, that has motivated me to be positive and take on challenges. Also, surrounding yourself with winners is a plus.

I love Hackathons because I get to learn a lot in the shortest possible amount of time as I implement stuff. MpaMpe was recently recognized in the top 50 teams globally from 800 submitted applications on the Google Developers Students Challenge.

MpaMpe has also of today been shortlisted in the top 12 in the MoMo API Hackathon and we vigorously building a solution around MoMo APIs. Will update you in the other two posts on how MpaMpe is doing it with a full MpaMpe Post!

Related Posts;
📌 Women In FinTech 2021
📌 Women In FinTech 2021 Hackathon Winners

🌟 Conclusion

Once again, hope you learned something today from my little closet.

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