Deadline: August 5, 2022

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



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.


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.


Click Here To Apply

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