Using tech to fight the coronavirus in South Africa

The South African Presidency has approached OfferZen to help organise South Africa’s tech community to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.

This comes after University of Pretoria professor Willem Fourie contacted OfferZen co-founder Malan Joubert to help find developers to build a map identifying the communities in South Africa that are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“One week later, the map is already helping the government in their response to the health crisis by using publicly available data to identify vulnerable communities,” Joubert said.

Thanks to the effectiveness of the collaboration on the Vulnerable Communities Map, the Presidency invited OfferZen to the Union Buildings to explain who they are and how they work.

“Based on this conversation, the government realised how critical it will be to collaborate with local tech companies and developers in this time of crisis. They have officially asked OfferZen to mobilise the tech industry to help,” said Joubert.

OfferZen said it was asked to help with the following:

  • Identify suitable projects that can have a material impact on the government’s ability to respond to the crisis and implement an effective post-crisis economic response.
  • Distribute the request from government and the identified projects to the broader tech community to raise awareness and galvanize support.
  • Recruit and coordinate volunteers for these projects.
  • Connect tech community members to relevant government partners as per their identified needs, as is feasible.

Current projects

OfferZen is therefore inviting members of the South African tech community to pitch in and help with projects they have identified.

“We already have a list of projects in the pipeline that you can help with today. We are also working with government and community organisations to identify more initiatives that can make a material difference,” stated Joubert.

“You can volunteer for a project based on the requirements, or simply submit your details as someone who is willing to help.”

Current projects include:

  • COVID-19 tracking and tracing.
  • Rapidly manufactured health equipment (ventilators, masks).

New projects in the pipeline are:

  • Modelling COVID-19 infection patterns and trends.
  • Tracking the economic impact of COVID-19 sectors in real-time.

Now read: Great news for slow Internet in South Africa

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Using tech to fight the coronavirus in South Africa