Learner safety app wins big at the second Tech for Safety Summit

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This year’s summit was aimed at coming up with plans to tackle some of Africa’s most pressing safety-related concerns, which have been complicated and exacerbated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Sthembiso Lebuso/ City Press
This year’s summit was aimed at coming up with plans to tackle some of Africa’s most pressing safety-related concerns, which have been complicated and exacerbated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Sthembiso Lebuso/ City Press

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Two youngsters have developed an app that helps parents monitor who picks up their children from school.

PasswordKid, an app by 21-year-old Keletso Lekwakwe and 24-year-old Ntokozo Hlomuka, came out tops in the second instalment of the Tech for Safety Summit that took place in Sandton on Thursday, under strict lockdown regulations.

Lekwakwe said he came up with the idea for the app when he was growing up Rustenburg in the North West.

“Growing up as a soccer player, there would be days where I would come back late from practice. I would bump into my mother, who is a domestic worker, at the gate and we would both start asking questions about my younger brother’s whereabouts.

“I noticed that this was happening because we’d both assumed that the other would be picking up my brother from school. This meant my brother would be left stranded with friends and anyone would be able to pick him up. I knew something needed to be done to deal with situations like that,” said Lekwakwe, who went on to study IT.

This year’s summit was aimed at coming up with plans to tackle some of Africa’s most pressing safety-related concerns, which have been complicated and exacerbated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

He then worked on his idea to create an app that would help parents have peace of mind knowing that their kids have been picked up from school.

“We started working on the app in 2016, after noticing that unauthorised child pickups were an issue in the country,” he said.

In 2017 they launched the app on the Android store. With the app, parents delegate who gets to pick up their kids from early childhood development centres and from primary school.

How it works

Users punch in the ID number of whoever they want to pick up their child(ren) from school. The person who has been delegated will then use the app to scan their ID and be accepted as a designated party with access to the child. When the delegated party gets to the school, they present their ID and the school will scan their ID to confirm the pickup.

Once the ID has been confirmed, the person will be required to provide a one-time-pin that has been generated and sent to them by the app to confirm that they have been authorised to pick up the child.

The app also works for transport providers, who in many cases are the ones who collect kids from school.

Read: Using micro-transport to address some of SA’s transport challenges

“The parent can change their mind on whom they authorise to pick up their child at any point, something many of our competitors can’t do,” Lekwakwe said.

He said the one thing that was important for him was that the authorisation happens each time the child needs to be picked up.

“I feel like this helps ensure the safety of the child.”

A global focus on safety

This year’s summit was aimed at coming up with plans to tackle some of Africa’s most pressing safety-related concerns, which have been complicated and exacerbated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Nduduzo Nyanda, the manager for Uber SA, said the company had in the past three years seen an increasing need to focus on safety in South Africa and around the world.

“This is not an issue that is only prevalent in South Africa, it is all over the world,” Nyanda said.

He said the company realised that it comes up with innovations around safety but has done little to ensure that people know about the innovations that exist to help them be safe.

“This is just one of those ways we want to let everyone know of the strides that we are making in trying to create a safer platform,” he said.

We started working on the app in 2016, after noticing that unauthorised child pickups were an issue in the country
Keletso Lekwakwe

He also said they didn’t want to make the summit all about Uber.

“We want to make it about the communities that we operate in,” he said, adding that they had partnered with Innovate Durban, a non-profit company aimed at stimulating innovation, to find a way to plough back into the tech industry nationally.

Lekwakwe beat out two other start-ups that pitched their safety innovations to a panel of judges at the summit to win an iPad and a year of incubation with Innovate Durban.

He said he was looking forward to learning from those who had made a difference in the tech industry.

“I know [that through] working with Innovate Durban I will be able to develop my app further and bring them to more platforms, including Apple’s App Store,” Lekwakwe said.


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Sthembiso Lebuso 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Sthembiso.Lebuso@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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