Hack The Mara Hackathon
Build decentralised finance solutions that can serve anyone, anywhere, and empower communities in the Maasai Mara
$100 000 USD
Ended 8 months ago
756 enrolled
Financial Services

In the Maasai Mara, landowners, wildlife, and tourism depend on one another for survival. The impact of COVID-19 has brought tourism to a standstill, jeopardising the revenue previously realised, and threatening to bring the ecosystem down.

The Maasai people lease their land to conservancies to earn an income, which preserves the land for wildlife conservation. The land is in turn licensed to tourism operators who generate revenue through eco-tourism. In the face of lost and uncertain lease income, individual conservancy landowners may be forced to sell and/or convert their parcels of land to agriculture, effectively destroying one of the most promising and innovative conservation strategies in Africa.

An international program of support for this delicate ecosystem has been established with international organisations providing funds to ease the stress lost income in the ecosystem. Donors are however worried that the funds disbursed might not get to the intended beneficiaries.

In this competition, you are invited to submit proposals for a DeFi application that can serve as a payment system for the Maasai Mara tourism sector. The top 8 proposals will be invited to a physical hackathon in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, and the overall winners will receive prizes, as well as access to funding, startup accelerator programmes, mentorship and other resources to build out their solution.

Please note this is not a machine learning hackathon, it is the first phase of a larger hackathon hosted by Mara.

What to build

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications are built on top of blockchain platforms, and aim to provide financial services that are typically provided by centralised institutions such as banks, lenders, or insurance companies. You should build applications that ensure parties in the Maasai Mara ecosystem can have visibility into the disbursement process and ensure the intended beneficiaries are credited.

Your solution should be able to serve anyone, anywhere, no matter how remote. This includes serving areas of low internet penetration and low smartphone adoption. The solution must:

  1. Offer transparency to all relevant stakeholders
  2. Use low-tech payment confirmation technology like USSD, MPESA and Identity
  3. Must adhere to best practices including KYC/AML policies
  4. Use the blockchain of your choice

About Mara

Mara, through its foundation, is the port of entry for blockchain capacity building in Africa. Crypto, Web 3, and blockchain education are at the heart of everything we do at the Mara foundation. We want to impact one billion lives in five years.

We focus on the return on impact by empowering organizations, youth, communities, marginalized populations, and problem-solvers to build blockchain solutions to promote long-term beneficial social and environmental change in Africa.


Note that there are no leaderboard scores for this competition, as evaluations will be completed by a panel of judges.

Judging Criteria

  • Originality - 20 %
  • Innovation - 25 %
  • Analytical Skills - 10 %
  • Strategic Thinking - 15 %
  • Practical Implementation - 30 %
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners stand a chance to win both cash and in-kind prizes
  • $100,000 in prizes (cash in USDC, and in-kind)
  • Acceptance into Antler's Nairobi incubation program
  • Access to follow-up funding from Mara and partners
  • Mentorship from Mara and partners

Other benefits include:

  1. Developer Badges for everyone that completes a successfully submitted app or web service
  2. Access to partner companies looking to hire developers
  3. Access to partner companies with project managers with experience building or managing blockchain applications.

Please note that the first four stages must all be completed before the 5th of August for your team to be eligible for the fifth and final stage to be held in the Mara.

Stage 1

Join the Mara Discord and Telegram channels to start engaging with fellow builders and creators.

Stage 2

Register the team on Zindi. Participation in the hackathon is dependent on completing Stage 1. Only registered members of Discord & Telegram can participate in the hackathon. Each individual must fill out this Google Form to participate.


  • Interested individuals form a team of three persons and select a team lead. One of the members must be a woman.
  • All team members are expected to join Discord & Telegram if they are yet to do so (Stage 1).

Stage 3

Every team that has successfully registered will be required to take a short practical test on HackerRank for the first level of shortlisting.


  • The link to take the test will be on the Zindi discussion forum after you have joined the competition
  • The nominated member of the team proceeds to take the Hackarank Test on behalf of the team
  • Team scores are added up and the top teams are contacted to proceed to the next stage

Stage 4

The shortlisted teams will be required to send in their ideas for the hackathon. This is a team effort and will ensure that the team discusses the hackathon and think of innovative solutions to be built during the hackathon. This is the second stage of shortlisting.


  • Submit a proposal of what solution you would like to build/prototype during the physical hack.
  • The proposal describing the idea you would be working on can be submitted as PDF or Powerpoint presentation.

Stage 5

After the second stage of shortlisting, the top 8 teams will be invited to come to Kenya for the hackathon. The invitation will be sent on the 15th of August, 2022.

  • Venue: Ishara, MasaiMara
  • Date: 17th - 26th September 2022
  • Time: 9 AM - 6 PM Daily

The teams will be required to build solutions on the Mara Testnet as well as using partner APIs and the top 3 solutions based on the following set of criteria will win the prizes;

  • Originality/creativity
  • Innovation
  • Analytical skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Practical implementation

Benefits of participating in the hackathon include;

  1. Developer Badges for everyone that completes a successfully submitted app or web service
  2. Prizes in cash and kind to the tune of $100,000 will be won at the end of the hackathon
  3. Opportunity for follow on funding by Mara Foundation and/or its partners
  4. Access to partner companies looking to hire developers, and project managers with experience building or managing blockchain applications.

We reserve the right to update the contest timeline if necessary.


Note you must fill this Google Form to participate.


Interested members of the public who are resident on the African continent are invited to apply to join the Hackathon. Individuals who apply must be older than 16 years, and must have the required skills and permission to participate. Shortlisted teams would be required to travel down to the Ishara Mara in Kenya, to participate in the one-week physical hackathon.

It is the responsibility of shortlisted participants to apply and get a visa that gets them into Kenya. Mara would provide introductory letters to the Kenyan embassy in whatever country they are joining from.

Mara would cover the cost of the flights, and reimburse successful team members upon arrival in Kenya for the visa processing fees upon providing relevant receipts.

  1. The Hackathon is open to:
  • Individuals who are at least the age of majority where they reside as of the time of entry (“Eligible Individuals”);
  • Teams of Eligible Individuals (“Teams”) - Participants should form their own teams through the Zindi discussion forum; and
  • Organisations (including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organisations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities) that exist and have been organised or incorporated at the time of entry.

(the above are collectively, “Entrants”)

If a Team or Organisation is entering the Hackathon, they must appoint and authorise one individual (the “Representative”) to represent, act, and enter a Submission, on their behalf.

By entering a Submission on behalf of a Team or Organisation you represent and warrant that you are the Representative authorised to act on behalf of your Team or Organisation.

  1. The Hackathon is NOT open to:
  • Individuals who are residents of, or Organisations domiciled in, a country, state, province or territory where the local law prohibits participating or receiving a prize in the Hackathon (including, but not limited to, Brazil, Quebec, Russia, Crimea, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and any other country designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control)
  • Organisations involved with the design, production, paid promotion, execution, or distribution of the Hackathon, including the Sponsor and Administrator (“Promotion Entities”)
  • Employees, representatives and agents** of such Promotion Entities, and all members of their immediate family or household*
  • Any other individual involved with the design, production, promotion, execution, or distribution of the Hackathon, and each member of their immediate family or household*
  • Any Judge (defined below), or company or individual that employs a Judge
  • Any parent company, subsidiary, or other affiliate*** of any organisation described above
  • Any other individual or organisation whose participation in the Hackathon would create, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor and/or Administrator, a real or apparent conflict of interest

*The members of an individual’s immediate family include the individual’s spouse, children and stepchildren, parents and stepparents, and siblings and stepsiblings. The members of an individual’s household include any other person that shares the same residence as the individual for at least three (3) months out of the year.

**Agents include individuals or organizations that in creating a Submission to the Hackathon, are acting on behalf of, and at the direction of, a Promotion Entity through a contractual or similar relationship.

***An affiliate is: (a) an organisation that is under common control, sharing a common majority or controlling owner, or common management; or (b) an organisation that has substantial ownership in, or is substantially owned by the other organisation.

Intellectual Property Rights

All submissions remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organisations that developed them. By submitting an entry, entrants agree that the sponsor will have a fully paid, non-exclusive license to use such entry for judging the entry. Entrants agree that the sponsor and Zindi shall have the right to promote the submission and use the name, likeness, voice and image of all individuals contributing to a submission, in any materials promoting or publicising the Hackathon and its results, during the Hackathon Period and for three years and one year (respectively) thereafter. Some Submission components may be displayed to the public. Other Submission materials may be viewed by the sponsor, Zindi, and judges for screening and evaluation.

By submitting an entry or accepting any prize, entrants represent and warrant that (a) submitted content is not copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless entrant is the owner of such rights or has permission from their rightful owner to post the content; and (b) the content submitted does not contain any viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware or other disabling devices or harmful or malicious code.

Language Requirements

All Submission materials must be in English or, if not in English, the Entrant must provide an English translation of the demonstration video, text description, and testing instructions as well as all other materials submitted.

Team Representation

If a team or organisation is entering the Hackathon, they must appoint and authorize one individual (the “Representative”) to represent, act, and enter a Submission, on their behalf. The Representative must meet the eligibility requirements above. By entering a Submission on the Hackathon Website on behalf of a team or organisation you represent and warrant that you are the Representative authorized to act on behalf of your team or organisation.

Intellectual Property: Your Submission must: (a) be your (or your Team, or Organisation’s) original work product; (b) be solely owned by you, your Team, your Organisation with no other person or entity having any right or interest in it; and (c) not violate the intellectual property rights or other rights including but not limited to the copyright, trademark, patent, contract, and/or privacy rights, of any other person or entity. An Entrant may contract with a third party for technical assistance to create the Submission provided the Submission components are solely the Entrant’s work product and the result of the Entrant’s ideas and creativity, and the Entrant owns all rights to them. An Entrant may submit a Submission that includes the use of open source software or hardware, provided the Entrant complies with applicable open source licenses and, as part of the Submission, creates software that enhances and builds upon the features and functionality included in the underlying open source product. By entering the Hackathon, you represent, warrant, and agree that your Submission meets these requirements.

Financial or Preferential Support: An App must not have been developed, or derived from an App developed, with financial or preferential support from the Sponsor or Administrator. Such Apps include, but are not limited to, those that received funding or investment for their development, were developed under contract, or received a commercial license, from the Sponsor or Administrator any time prior to the end of Hackathon Submission Period. The Sponsor, at their sole discretion, may disqualify an App, if awarding a prize to the App would create a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Entry Conditions and Release.

  1. By entering the Hackathon, you (and, if you are entering on behalf of a Team, Organisation each participating members) agree(s) to the following:
  2. The relationship between you, the Entrant, and the Sponsor and Administrator, is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship.
  3. You will be bound by and comply with these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, Administrator, and/or the Hackathon Judges which are binding and final in all matters relating to the Hackathon.
  4. You release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Promotion Entities, and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies, the Prize suppliers and any other organisations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the Hackathon, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (hereafter the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to a Entrant’s entry, creation of Submission or entry of a Submission, participation in the Hackathon, acceptance or use or misuse of the Prize (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of the Submission as authorized or licensed by these Official Rules.
  5. Without limiting the foregoing, the Released Parties shall have no liability in connection with:
  6. any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by the Sponsor or Administrator’s electronic or printing error, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Hackathon;
  7. technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines, internet connectivity or electronic transmission errors, or network hardware or software or failure of the Hackathon Website;
  8. unauthorised human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Hackathon;
  9. technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Hackathon or the processing of Submissions; or
  10. any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the Entrant’s participation in the Hackathon or receipt or use or misuse of any Prize.

The Released Parties are not responsible for incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, lost, illegible, or incomprehensible Submissions or for address or email address changes of the Entrants. Proof of sending or submitting the aforementioned will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by the Sponsor or Administrator. If for any reason any Entrant’s Submission is determined to have not been received or been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, the Entrant’s sole remedy is to request the opportunity to resubmit its Submission. Such a request must be made promptly after the Entrant knows or should have known there was a problem and will be determined at the sole discretion of the Sponsor.


By participating in the Hackathon, Entrant consents to the promotion and display of the Entrant’s Submission, and to the use of personal information about themselves for promotional purposes, by the Sponsor, Administrator, and third parties acting on their behalf. Such personal information includes, but is not limited to, your name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, comments and hometown and country of residence. It may be used in any existing or newly created media, worldwide without further payment or consideration or right of review, unless prohibited by law. Authorised use includes but is not limited to advertising and promotional purposes.

General Conditions

  1. Sponsor and Administrator reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Hackathon, or any part of it, in the event of a technical failure, fraud, or any other factor or event that was not anticipated or is not within their control.
  2. Sponsor and Administrator reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Entrant if it finds to be actually or presenting the appearance of tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Hackathon or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in a manner that is inappropriate, unsportsmanlike, not in the best interests of this Hackathon, or a violation of any applicable law or regulation.
  3. Any attempt by any person to undermine the proper conduct of the Hackathon may be a violation of criminal and civil law. Should the Sponsor or Administrator suspect that such an attempt has been made or is threatened, they reserve the right to take appropriate action including but not limited to requiring an Entrant to cooperate with an investigation and referral to criminal and civil law enforcement authorities.
  4. If there is any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Official Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Hackathon materials, including but not limited to the Hackathon Submission form, Hackathon Website, or advertising, the terms and conditions of the Official Rules shall prevail.
  5. The terms and conditions of the Official Rules are subject to change at any time, including the rights or obligations of the Entrant, the Sponsor and Administrator. The Sponsor and Administrator will post the terms and conditions of the amended Official Rules on the Hackathon Website. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any amendment will become effective at the time specified in the posting of the amended Official Rules or, if no time is specified, the time of posting.
  6. If at any time prior to the deadline, an Entrant or prospective Entrant believes that any term in the Official Rules is or may be ambiguous, they must submit a written request for clarification.
  7. The Sponsor or Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Should any provision of these Official Rules be or become illegal or unenforceable in any jurisdiction whose laws or regulations may apply to Entrant, such illegality or unenforceability shall leave the remainder of these Official Rules, including the Rule affected, to the fullest extent permitted by law, unaffected and valid. The illegal or unenforceable provision shall be replaced by a valid and enforceable provision that comes closest and best reflects the sponsor’s intention in a legal and enforceable manner with respect to the invalid or unenforceable provision.
  8. Excluding Submissions, all intellectual property related to this Hackathon, including but not limited to copyrighted material, trademarks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned or used under license by the Sponsor and/or Administrator. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or intellectual property without the express written consent of its owners is strictly prohibited. Any use in a Submission of Sponsor or Administrator’s intellectual property shall be solely to the extent provided for in these Official Rules.

Limitations of Liability

By entering, all Entrants (including, in the case of a Team or Organization, all participating members) agree to release the Released Parties from any and all liability in connection with the Prizes or Entrant’s participation in the Hackathon. Provided, however, that any liability limitation regarding gross negligence or intentional acts, or events of death or body injury shall not be applicable in jurisdictions where such limitation is not legal.


  1. Except where prohibited by law, as a condition of participating in this Hackathon, Entrant agrees that:
  2. any and all disputes and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Hackathon, or any Prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action lawsuit, and exclusively by final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association and held at the AAA regional office nearest the contestant;
  3. the Federal Arbitration Act shall govern the interpretation, enforcement and all proceedings at such arbitration; and judgment upon such arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction.
  4. Under no circumstances will Entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and Entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than contestant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with entering this Hackathon), and Entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  5. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Entrant and Sponsor in connection with this Hackathon, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of The Government of the Republic of Kenya.


Additional Terms

Please review Mara’s Terms of Service at https://mara.xyz/terms for additional rules that apply to your participation in the Hackathon and more generally your use of the Hackathon Website. Such Terms of Service are incorporated by reference into these Official Rules, including that the term "Poster" in the Terms of Service shall mean the same as "Sponsor" in these Official rules." If there is a conflict between the Terms of Service and these Official Rules, these Official Rules shall control with respect to this Hackathon only.

Entrant’s Personal Information

Information collected from entrants is subject to Mara’s Privacy Policy, which is available at https://mara.xyz/privacy.


  • Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or political views, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, photography or audio/video recording against reasonable consent, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Photography is encouraged, but other participants must be given a reasonable chance to opt out from being photographed. If they object to the taking of their photograph, comply with their request. It is inappropriate to take photographs in contexts where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy (in bathrooms or where participants are sleeping).
  • Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
  • As this is a hackathon, we like to explicitly note that the hacks created at our hackathon are equally subject to the anti-harassment policy.
  • Sponsors and partners are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, sponsors should not use sexualised images, activities, or other material. Sponsor representatives (including volunteers) should not use sexualised clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualised environment.
  • If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of hackathon staff immediately.
  • Hackathon staff will be happy to help participants contact any local security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the hackathon. We value your attendance.
  • If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the hackathon organisers may take any action they deem appropriate. This includes warning the offender, expulsion from the hackathon with no refund (if applicable), or reporting their behavior to local law enforcement. We expect participants to follow these rules at hackathon and workshop venues and hackathon-related social events.

Submissions and winning

You may make a maximum of 1 submission per day. You may make a maximum of 1 submission for this competition. There is no public/private leaderboard.

You acknowledge and agree that Zindi may, without any obligation to do so, remove or disqualify an individual, team, or account if Zindi believes that such individual, team, or account is in violation of these rules. Entry into this competition constitutes your acceptance of these official competition rules.

Mara reserves the right to disqualify upon Zindi notifying Mara if we believe that you violated the rules or violated the spirit of the competition or the platform in any other way. The disqualifications are irrespective of your position and completely at the discretion of Mara.

Please refer to the FAQs and Terms of Use for additional rules that may apply to this competition. We reserve the right to update these rules at any time.

Consequences of breaking any rules of the competition or submission guidelines:

  • First offence: No prizes for 6 months and 2000 points will be removed from your profile (probation period). If you are caught cheating, all individuals involved in cheating will be disqualified from the challenge(s) you were caught in and you will be disqualified from winning any competitions for the next six months and 2000 points will be removed from your profile. If you have less than 2000 points to your profile your points will be set to 0.
  • Second offence: Banned from the platform. If you are caught for a second time your Zindi account will be disabled and you will be disqualified from winning any competitions or Zindi points using any other account.
  • Teams with individuals who are caught cheating will not be eligible to win prizes or points in the competition in which the cheating occurred, regardless of the individuals’ knowledge of or participation in the offence.
  • Teams with individuals who have previously committed an offence will not be eligible for any prizes for any competitions during the 6-month probation period.


About Circle (circle.com)

We help businesses accept payments and send payouts globally in one unified platform. Move digital money leveraging traditional payment rails and do business in a more global, scalable and efficient way through blockchain infrastructure. Circle seamlessly connects these worlds.

About United Nations Foundations (unfoundation.org)

We act as a strategic partner to help the UN mobilize the ideas, people, and resources it needs to deliver, and grow a diverse and durable constituency for collective action. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage influencers and citizens who seek action. Partnership, and the power of smart and strategic collaboration, is in our DNA. We believe everyone has a part to play, everyone’s voice should be heard, and everyone has a stake.

About Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (data4sdgs.org)

A global network using data to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals—improving lives, fighting inequality, and promoting environmental sustainability.

About Ishara Mara (ishara.ke)

Ishara is an immersive safari experience steeped in African splendour. Uniquely situated in one of the most sought-after locations in the Masai Mara National Reserve, game sightings within the vicinity of the camp—even just outside your tent—are frequent and astonishing.

About Antler (antler.co)

Founded in Singapore in 2017 by a team of experienced entrepreneurs, investors and company builders, Antler is a global early-stage VC enabling and investing in the world’s most exceptional people. With offices across most major startup hubs globally, Antler is passionate about supporting exceptional people to fundamentally improve the world.