Mobile Developer Challenge

Win an HTC Hero smartphone by taking part in our Mobile Development Challenge

Create an Android application to maintain a task/appointment list for Health Extension Workers on their smartphones to help them manage their maternal care visits.

Closing date: Saturday 18th February 2012


  • Needs to work with Android v2.2 and above.
  • Stores the task data offline, connecting to the server to update the task list regularly. Update [20 Jan 2012]: Just to clarify, following a couple of queries, there is no requirement for the application to submit data back to the server, the task list is generated from information submitted by the HEws using OpenDataKit regarding their patient visits.
  • The task list will require a username and password (as get or post parameters) and will be provided by the server in JSON format. This is an example of the structure of the data that will be returned by the server, you can use this link to test your application – this is the format your application will be judged against.
  • Code must be released under an open source license and made available on a publicly accessible code sharing site (for example Sourceforge, GitHub, Google Code)


  • Your application must meet all the requirements to be eligible for the prize.
  • You must be an Ethiopian national, currently living in Ethiopia, to be eligible to enter.
  • Your mobile application will be judged on:
    • code structure, quality, error handling and commenting
    • user interface design
    • features available (for example: highlighting overdue tasks, grouping by task type etc)
  • All code submitted must be original and your own work.
  • The judges decision is final.

Help to get started:
If you are new to developing applications for Android, here are some links to help get you started:

How to submit your application:
When you have completed your application, email the application package (.apk) file to with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your employment/educational status (where do you work/study)
  • Contact details (email, phone/skype, website, address)
  • Url to where you have published your code.

For more information please contact:

Download a poster for the challenge to display in your organisation.

mQuiz: smartphone based assessment activities

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how we can deliver assessment and quiz activities on smartphones. The main requirements being that users can take the assessment activities offline on their phones, but the results can be submitted back, so we can track progress and results. We now have a prototype system available for anyone to try out: The video below shows the client application in use:

Using mQuiz you can either create a quiz online, or you can import quizzes in the GIFT format. This format is used by Moodle, so if you have an existing quiz in Moodle you can export in GIFT format for importing into mQuiz, it will support multiple choice, multiple select, short answer, matching and numerical question types. Anyone can then take your quiz using their Android smartphone and results can be sent back to the mQuiz website for you to track responses.

We’re looking to create a more generic client application (probably HTML5) to enable running on a wider variety of platforms. All the code (both server and client) is open source, so you can even create your own mQuiz server or adapt the client, for more info see the developer page:

Any feedback welcome 🙂

Recent posting on OpenDataKit Blog

Recent posting on the OpenDataKit blog about our use of ODK to improve maternal care in Ethiopia:

Digital Campus is a not for profit company specializing in technology development in emerging countries. For several years, they have been working with Mekelle University (Ethiopia) and are supporting a PhD programme in public health in conjunction with Alcalá University (Spain) and Maastricht University (Netherlands). One of their projects is researching ways in which mobile technologies can help to improve maternal and child health care in rural areas of Ethiopia.

Read the full post at:

Health Extension Worker technical training

Last week I spent several days visiting the training Araya and Florida are running to show the groups of Health Extension Workers how they can use smartphones for data collection.

We first visited a group in Adi Gudem (about 30km south of Mekelle), they’ve had the phones for several weeks now, so are already familiar with them. The training revolved around them using an updated client application (we’ve also changed the server software to use OpenDataKit, but this ought to be invisible to the end users) and the new ante-natal care protocols that we’ve developed over the last few weeks. For the second group in Wukro (about 40km north of Mekelle), this was their first training session, so they’d not used the phones at all before.

All seemed to go well, we had a couple of technical issues that I need to look at this week – but this is to be expected given that we’re still in the technical feasibility stage, we won’t be starting the intervention study until early next year. One of the issues we’re still finding is the level of English of the HEWs – it seems likely that we’ll need to provide the protocol questions in both English and Tigrinyan.

Some photos from the training sessions (plus a few other pics):

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