Mobile subscriber growth rate in Africa is expected to double in the next four years, and people in rural East Africa will spend over 15% of their income on mobile technology. Mobile apps not only matter in the developing world, they are life changing. Over half of even the poorest twenty percent of people in Africa have mobile phones in their homes.

On November 20th, the Break Poverty Hackathon will bring developer teams together to build apps (Mobile, Web, SMS, and hardware) for people in developing countries. These apps will help people in rural and impoverished areas around the world, whose only access to technology, communication, and knowledge is through their mobile phone.


Attend our post-hackathon event, held on November 24th, bringing together individuals in technology and international development for an inspired panel discussion, a chance to see the incredible hard work of the BreakPoverty Hackathon finalists, hear the winning team announcement - and even vote for the people's choice award! All ticket sale proceeds will be fundraised for a donation to Free The Children.


Rangle PivotalTracker

iHub TheDevSchool

GAdventures GitHub Oziel

WealthSimple Lakes TopTal


Who can participate?

Anyone with a background in development, hardware or software, who wants to learn new technologies, build awesome stuff and work with smart people in Toronto and Kenya. If you are a designer or a tech savvy individual that also wants to get involved, we have tickets for you too.

How big can a team be?

No more than four people, but every team member must register individually. If you don’t have a team when you register, don’t worry! We will help bring everyone together online before the event so you can find a team to work with. We also ensure that at least 1 Canadian is on a Kenyan team, and 1 Kenyan is on a Canadian team. 


What can we hack?

Break Poverty is both a software and hardware hackathon for mobile phones. Given that 55% of the poorest households in East Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa have at least a basic SMS powered phone, we encourage all attendees to incorporate an SMS component in their solution. This will be looked on favourably by the judges.

Hackathon Sponsors


Grand Prize

- The winning app will be test launched by our Charity Partner, Free the Children, in rural Kenya!

- Work with Free the Children as part of their "Adopt a Village Program", to polish and prepare your team's project for local Kenyan staff to test the app and its benefits with the citizens living in rural Kenya. Free the Children will also help guide developers in the right direction regarding what education, health, and small business support people are needing.

- We want developers walking out of the event inspired to build for a better world, with new friendships with Kenyan developers, and an app that works to improve livelihoods.

Other Prizes

- 1 Year Subscription to a GitHub Silver Plan
- Kobo Glo HD eReaders
- Photon Kits

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

What is Break Poverty?

An International Development hackathon that connects developers in Toronto and Nairobi to build applications on web and mobile that benefit individuals living in rural and impoverished areas in East Africa. Hosted at Bitmaker Labs in Toronto, with Kenyan Attendees teleconferencing in from Nairobi's iHub, teams create meaningful projects from scratch in just 28 hours. We enable teams to make something great with our wide array of mentors and sponsors. Come join 200 developers from November 20-22, 2015 in bringing information, technology, and resources to those who need it most.


Timothy Quinn

Timothy Quinn
Director of Technology, Sentinel Project

John Paul

John Paul
UX Research & Community, iHub

Deveney Bazinet

Deveney Bazinet
International Operations, Free the Children

Levi Goertz

Levi Goertz
COO, VOTO Mobile

Aashni Shah

Aashni Shah
Founder, U of T Hacks

Perrin Clark

Perrin Clark
CEO, The Dev School

Judging Criteria

  • Will be Announced
  • Pitch
    The problem you’ve chosen to tackle - How does this problem relate to the case study? - What's your solution? Share the bios of your team - What skills do you bring? - How did your remote teams work together? Demonstrate your solution!
  • Impact
    - How does your solution make impact? - Who is your target market? - What are the costs of making this sustainable?
  • Accessibility
    - How user friendly is your UX? - How can users get access to this solution?
  • Innovation
    - How original or creative is your solution? - How have you used technology creatively? - How unique is the solution to the market problem? - How innovative is the way the team went about solving the problem

Tell your friends

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.