Zoohackathon 2019 Rules and Guidelines


All participants must RSVP for the Zoohackathon through the host site registration webpage located at  https://uganda-zoohackathon-2019.devpost.com/. To find a complete list of upcoming events, visit http://www.zoohackathon.com. Zoohackathon organizers reserve the right to verify eligibility and to adjudicate on any dispute at any time. All teams and individuals should register as private individuals, representing only themselves, and not on behalf of their employers. Only works created between the start and end time of each entrant’s selected event location are eligible for prizes.


The start and end times for your local Zoohackathon will be determined by the host site. All entrants must be registered and have an RSVP with a host site via https://uganda-zoohackathon-2019.devpost.com/. The RSVP page for each host site will be updated periodically and host site organizers will reach out to registrants with details closer to the event dates.


Participants planning to attend the in-person event will register via https://uganda-zoohackathon-2019.devpost.com/. A complete list of 2019 events is available on zoohackathon.com.

All event attendees will also need to create an account on DevPost (https://devpost.com). This is the platform where participants will need to submit and upload their final projects prior to the end of the event. Participants will also need to register for an account with a code sharing platform such as GitHub (https://github.com/) or Bitbucket (https://bitbucket.org) – these platforms can help facilitate collaborative coding and broader sharing and accessibility of codebases. GitHub or similar sites also have ways to track lines of code committed and the amount of subsequent reach of those codebases (e.g. the number of times a code base has been cloned/downloaded).

Throughout the events, participants will work in teams to create solutions that can help solve the problems indicated in the problem statement of their choice.  Teams may be composed of 2-6 individuals unless otherwise specified by the local host site.  Please contact the specific event organizers for more details on this.

Presentations and supporting content should be uploaded prior to the end of the event.  

In fact, the winning team from each host site, identified by the panel of judges is required to upload their Zoohackathon presentation and applicable content online on DevPost and GitHub (or a similar platform), before the end of the event, in order to be eligible for the 2019 global prize. Each entrant/participant listed on a submission must have registered with the selected host city site through Eventbrite and have registered accounts with these platforms.

All submissions must include a 2-5 minute demonstration (e.g. PowerPoint) or other visual digital presentation of the application /prototype/ or solution. 

Additional requirements, terms, and conditions:

  • Submissions must be entirely the original work of the entrant(s) – whether an individual or a team – not including use of open source or other code created for common use.
  • Submissions must not contain any advertisements or solicitation.
  • Submissions must not contain anything that is or may be construed as: (i) threatening, harassing, degrading or hateful; (ii) defamatory; (iii) fraudulent or tortious; (iv) obscene, indecent, or otherwise objectionable; or (v) protected by copyright, trademark, or other proprietary right without the express prior consent of the owner of such right.
  • Submissions must not contain any material that would give rise to criminal or civil liability or that encourages conduct that constitutes a criminal offense.
  • Submissions must otherwise comply in all respects with these Rules and the Guidelines.
  • The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License shall apply to the release of any and all works created during Zoohackathon unless otherwise specified by the creator.
  • Zoohackathon and its organizers will have no responsibility for, and will have the right to refuse at its sole and absolute discretion, any entries that have been altered, tampered with, misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible, whether due to Internet or e-mail server failure or otherwise. Proof of transmission of a submission shall not constitute proof of receipt. Entrants are responsible for keeping their Zoohackathon event organizers informed of any changes to an entrant’s contact or other information during the Zoohackathon.
  • By agreeing to participate in Zoohackathon, each participant agrees to these Rules and  waives and releases the United States from any and all future claims arising out of his or her participation in Zoohackathon and any use by the United States of his or her name, image, or likeness in connection with Zoohackathon and for Federal purposes.

Ownership of Applications or Programs Created at 2019 Zoohackathon

We encourage teams to make their code publicly available on repositories such as GitHub.com because Zoohackathon is supported by public funding, leverages publically-available datasets, and aims to build globally accessible solutions. We encourage teams to make their solutions accessible on these repositories, so their work can be maximized and have a more powerful reach.

Teams or individuals participating in Zoohackathon are permitted to promote their participation or techniques/code developed therein to leverage private funding.

Coding Guidelines

Coders are permitted to code in any language without restriction to develop an application or website.

Platforms: It is recommended that a submitted application run on one of the following platforms:

  • Android device (such as a smartphone, tablet, Google Glass, etc.)
  • iOS device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • SMS
  • Windows Phone device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • Blackberry device
  • Web or mobile web (Ionic, PhoneGap also acceptable)
  • Windows desktop computer
  • Mac desktop computer
  • Kindle
  • Other hardware which includes a software component created by the Maker (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)

Problem Statement Guidelines

Problem statements will be provided to contestants at the start of the competition. From the list of problem statements available to each team, coders will choose one problem statement to work on for the entirety of the hackathon. It is up to each respective team to determine which single problem statement they will work on throughout the event. 

The problem statements will be officially presented at each of the opening ceremonies of all of the events.

Coder Presentation Guidelines

Presentations will be given by each team at the end of the hackathons. These presentations help each team develop a sense of camaraderie, disseminate information about the solution that they developed, and allow them to discuss the creative approach they took to develop their solution.

All projects must include a 2-5 minute demonstration (e.g. PowerPoint) or other visual digital presentation of the application or solution.  Presentations should be approximately 5-7 minutes in length. They should be in the same general format and should include:

  • Selected problem statement your product seeks to address
  • Introduction to your product
  • How it works
  • What resources are needed for the implementation of the product
  • Ways in which it can be implemented
  • A real life situation your product will address and the resulting impact on the community/city/country

Teams should be ready for at least 2 minutes of Q&A by the panel of judges and 2 minutes of Q&A by others present at the Zoohackathon. In addition, a series of similar questions will need to be answered on your team’s page on DevPost. This content will be provided to the judges who will choose the 2019 global winner along with your presentation to assist with their selections. Presentations must be uploaded before the event is over.


Judging is a highly subjective process, but Zoohackathon.com encourages each host site’s local panel of judges to use the criteria below as a framework for their discussion. A typical judging panel should be about 3-4 individuals, who collectively possess both wildlife and technology expertise.

Judging Criteria for the Panel:

Quality of Idea/Innovation:

0: The solution is not unique or innovative.

1: The solution provides a better/faster/clearer way to solve the problem.

2: The solution makes use of an innovative approach to address an area of wildlife trafficking that has not been sufficiently addressed by existing technology, and/or will help address a local wildlife trafficking issue.

3: The solution makes use of an innovative approach to address an area of wildlife trafficking that has not been sufficiently addressed by existing technology.  The new technology also helps address a local/national issue, but can also be applied more broadly to the region or beyond.

  1. Impact:

0: The solution is not relevant to combating wildlife trafficking, and/or the solution does not contain a method for measuring or estimating results and/or impacts.

1: The solution addresses a relevant problem for combating wildlife trafficking, but it is difficult to implement or scale and the team does not have a clear plan to move the project forward; and the solution only contains limited methods for measuring or estimating results and/or impacts. 

2: The solution addresses a relevant problem for combating wildlife trafficking, and:

  • The team has a clear plan to move the project forward
  • But, it will be hard to implement or scale this project or idea
  • A means for measuring or estimating results/impacts in a significant manner is provided,

3: The solution has a predictably sustainable lifecycle and:

  • Can easily be implemented and scaled;
  • Contains a robust means for measuring or estimated results in a significant manner.
  1. Interface:

0: Not usable.

1: Usable but it is not intuitive without clear instructions.

2: Usable and clear but requires additional guidance for use that is not provided.

3: Both intuitive and visually appealing, and provides sufficient guidance for user interactions.

The judging panel, selected by each host site, will use the criteria above to select a local winner for their respective event. The solutions that win at the local level will be reviewed by the U.S. committee and the teams will be eligible to win the global prize.

Global Competition

Local Prizes:

  • Only teams that are physically present during the Zoohackathon are eligible for local prizes. They can only receive one prize from the host site in which they participated.
  • Each team should submit one product idea representing one solution. This idea and its supporting content must be included on the DevPost (https://devpost.com/) and GitHub (https://github.com/) or another collaborative code-sharing site. Each team will be asked to do a 2-5 minute presentation of their solution, followed by 2 minutes of Q&A by the panel of judges and 2 minutes of Q&A by others present at the Zoohackathon.

The Global Prize:

The winners of the global prize will be announced in January 2020 by the Washington, D.C. Zoohackathon organizers.

Finalist teams will be judged based on the project content submitted via DevPost. After your project and presentation are created, updated, and uploaded on DevPost and GitHub or similar site (i.e. Bitbucket, etc.) no further steps are need to be taken if you win the local prize: your project will automatically be entered for the global prize.

The 2019 Global Winner will be determined by a U.S. Review Committee that is based in Washington, D.C.  This panel contains members from the U.S. Government, non-governmental organizations, wildlife organizations, and technology companies. They will evaluate each solution based on the materials submitted through the DevPost and GitHub or a similar platform.

Publicity and Promotion

Each Zoohackathon participant agrees that his or her name may be included with Zoohackathon submissions and that his or her name, image, and likeness may be used for publicity and promotional purposes by Zoohackathon team members, Zoohackathon organizers, and U.S. Government agencies involved in Zoohackathon.