Wheres the Comfort Room

SanHack Grand Winner Team Comfort:  Bringing hi-tech solutions to common sanitation problems

Have you ever experienced an urgent need to visit the rest room but didn’t know where to go?  Team Comfort of Davao has discovered a simple but high-tech way of solving this very common but important concern.

Named Nature’s Call, the project uses a mobile app based on android platform that helps people find and locate the nearest and the cleanest available toilet within the area they are currently in using their smartphone.

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Sanitation Hackaton overall winner Corden Naraga (right) of Team Comfort with Andrew de la Serna, Google Developers Group Manager for Davao.

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“Based on my experience, there are times when I need to use the toilet when I’m out of my house.  And finding one is really a challenge especially during emergency situations,” said Corden Naraga, one of the members of Team Comfort which bagged top place in Davao and declared overall winner of the first Philippine Sanitation Hackathon (SanHack) organized by World Bank in partnership with Globe Labs, Globe Telecom, Google Developers Group, Google Business Group, and Blogwatch.

Team Comfort bested over a hundred SanHack participants from six key cities nationwide — Makati, Davao, Cebu, Zamboanga, Baguio, and Bacolod.  Aside from the Philippines, other countries which joined the two-day simultaneous event included Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal, Peru, Finland, UK, USA, and Canada.

SanHack is a worldwide initiative aimed at developing innovative software solutions that could answer real world problems in sanitation such as lack of access to clean toilets, high incidence of water borne diseases, limited database, poor monitoring system, insufficient funding, weak sanitation market, and poor health education.  For this activity, Globe, through Globe Labs, provided internet connectivity necessary for the apps to work as well as the venue for the Makati leg.

“We have a great pool of talented developers in the country and we are lucky that a lot of them took time to be part of this social good hackathon. Activities like this not only showcase their skills but also gather up innovative ideas to help address pressing social issues, in this case, sanitation which remains a challenge in the Philippines,” said Michelle Santos, Developer Relations Manager of Globe Labs. Winning tools developed during the hackathons will be used to overcome these challenges.

Using Google Maps, Nature’s Call is able to supply information on available toilets in the area, not only their location and how to get there, but also if they are free or paid; if they have water, soap, and toilet paper; and if they have separate or common stalls for male and female.

Naraga added that their goal is to create awareness on sanitation and hygiene especially regarding cleanliness and upkeep of public toilets.

“This idea sounds simple but based on my observation many people would find this useful. As I noticed, people are always looking for a rest room when they are in a mall or a park or even when just walking around,” Naraga said.

Other SanHack finalist winners are: SaniStation (Baguio City), TrashIt (Bacolod City), Bomb Squad (Cebu City), sACCESS (Makati City), and SanTrack (Zamboanga City). Globe Telecom Press Release

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Where's the rest room? A high-tech answer. by
PRworksPH team
PRworksPH team
A talent powerhouse headed by PRworks Chief Digital Officer Emmanuel Mongaya, former managing editor of Superbalita and former city editor of Sun.Star Cebu. Team members include Global Voices correspondent and blogger Karlo Mikhail Mongaya, our Online Community Manager Ynna Erika Bisnar, digital marketing consultant Borislav Tatarov, and former Sun.Star Publishing Inc. IT boss Sammy Sumaya.

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