Hack the Normal

From Africa for Africa


In order to leave a better world for future generations, we need to keep in mind social progress, economic development, and climate and the environment in all the actions that we take. This kind of social awareness is a requirement for sustainable living; however, we also need to make sure we have the means to organize our lives around sustainability.

In Africa, where hard currencies do not exist, failure to ensure sustainable trade and economic development isolates the peoples of this continent and severs its connection with new technologies. In turn, isolation and inability to benefit from technological advancements makes social progress and economic development, which are the basic requirements of sustainability, impossible. We believe that a kind of solidarity, one that grows organically and helps establish new bonds among individuals, communities, organizations, and earth, will enable us to achieve a sustainable life in all aspects.

Defy offers technological and organizational structures to enable the realization of innovative ideas, in addition to the projects it carries out to realize its digital transformation vision. As we work towards achieving a sustainable life, we aim to adapt to change by developing new strategies and transforming individuals, organizations, and the planet. This hackathon, organized by Defy in partnership with ATÖLYE, aims to initiate this transformation by asking the crucial question: How might we leverage technology to create positive impact towards sustainable living and economic development in Africa?


Hack The Normal Africa focuses on the financial and sustainability problems facing the world and Africa. Under the leadership of Defy, which puts sustainability in its focus by innovating new technologies, people come together and ask how to ensure the sustainability of trade, natural resources, and life in Africa. The hackathon examines the impact of sustainability of energy, water, food, and trade individually, socially, materially, and spiritually. It develops solutions by feeding on different sectors in a digital field where many disciplines such as sociology, design, technology, psychology, human resources, management, and communication will meet.


Teams participating in the hackathon will receive training in different areas such as problem discovery, research, solution development, prototyping and storytelling within the scope of the program curated by ATÖLYE, and will participate in seminars where experts in their fields will participate as speakers.

Participants will have the chance to develop their projects and refine their ideas by getting coaching and mentorship from experts from different disciplines and fields during the hackathon.

After the hackathon, the projects to be selected by the evaluation team will be offered the opportunity to cooperate with Defy, “promotion” support for access to customers through Sub Saharan Africa channels, sales opportunities and investment networks, participation in acceleration and incubation programs, access to users and the ecosystem.


The hackathon accepts applications from both individuals and teams that have ideas or projects that address the hackathon’s challenges (see FAQ section for details). Teams will be accepted after a pre-evaluation process. Applications can be made at www.hackthenormal.com.


All projects participating in the hackathon will be evaluated according to certain criteria regarding impact, applicability and commercialization.

  • What is the commercialization potential of the idea? (30%)
  • Is it a workable idea? (30%)
  • Is it an innovative idea that could make a positive impact? (40%)


The hackathon invites participants to develop new products, services, and business models with commercialization potential in the areas below.


The transformation that Africa has undergone in recent decades has been remarkable. The continent is shaping its own destiny in a march of progress that could be called the “African opportunity.” With the world’s leading brands looking to Africa as a source of growth, it is evident that Africa must prepare itself for a surge of commercial activity with all the supporting services required to trade.

According to the GSMA trade body who represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to outperform other regions when it comes to mobile-money services. It was estimated that there should be over 500 million mobile money users at the end of 2020. This shows that the continent has skipped making use of traditional banking services and is instead opting for more agile and digital user experiences.

Key questions we would like to answer:

  • How might we design new services and products to improve financial inclusion and liquidity in the sub-Saharan region?
  • How might we solve the hard currency problem between countries in African trade?
  • How might we find solutions to the business challenges faced by individuals and companies?‍
  • How might we create shared economic systems between companies and individuals?

Africa’s population being one of the fastest-growing in the world comes with many challenges, specifically around basic nutritional needs, access to drinkable water, and a constant supply of electricity, especially in areas with poor infrastructure.

These challenges make way for ideas that can change the lives of millions of people for the better. It is important that we start finding meaningful solutions to help design a sustainable future.

In trying to find a solution to these problems we would like to address the following questions:

  • How might we design a more sustainable future for the average African household and the planet in general?
  • How might we design a future together to create a sustainable impact in different areas from food waste to energy and water consumption?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made more people conscious of healthier lifestyles with an increased focus on personal care, hygiene, and health. Providing healthy solutions that fit easily in day-to-day lives is key to a healthier and brighter future for the African continent. Working on promoting preemptive health measures can create benefits for an already ailing population.

Key questions we would like to answer:

  • How might we create a positive impact to sustain healthy and good living conditions in African homes?
  • How might we contribute to the health of individuals and families at home, focusing on topics such as nutrition, personal care, sleep, exercise, and personal hygiene?


February 28, 2021
Organizer ATÖLYE
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
EdTech, Financial services, Fintech, Healthcare, HealthTech, ICT, Smart city solutions, Waste management and recycling
SDG (6)
1. No Poverty, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Well-being, 6. Clean Water and Sanitation, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy