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This article was published on November 17, 2021

IBM announces Call for Code 2021 grand prize winner

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IBM announces Call for Code 2021 grand prize winner

IBM and David Clark Cause just announced Saaf Water as this year’s 2021 grand prize winner!

Saaf Water is the first team from India to take the grand prize and their amazing story represents everything that’s good and necessary about the Call for Code challenge.

Per an IBM press release:

Saaf Water will receive $200,000 and support to incubate, test, and deploy their solution from the IBM Service Corpsand expert partners in the Call for Code ecosystem. The India-based team will also receive assistance from The Linux Foundation to open source their application so developers around the world can improve, scale, and use the technology.

This year’s winners join a prestigious lineup of past victors including Project Owl and Promoteo, and Agrolly, whose winning solutions have gone on to inspire future participants and help mitigate the impact of natural disasters, climate change, and other challenges through a combination of open-source and community-driven corporate support.

The Call for Code challenge is an opportunity to be the change you wish to see, only instead of going at it alone, you get the support of the Linux Foundation, David Clarke Cause, and IBM’s technology experts.

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In the case of Saaf Water, a team of young people organized a multimodal technology solution to a problem that’s literally plagued humanity since the inception of civilization. They want to make sure we know whether our water is safe to drink or not.

This is a problem that affects communities of every stripe around the globe. And, for the members of the Saaf Water team, this was a problem that was personal.

Per IBM:

In Bihar, India, nine members of the same family died over the past 20 years due to sicknesses linked to arsenic contamination of groundwater. More have experienced illness, including the mother of one of the Saaf Water team members, who lives in Goa, India.

Saaf Water’s solution is equal parts innovation and education. They developed an interface that handles at-source testing and community notifications. In essence, the team has democratized access to information about water quality in a way that can both help local agents ensure quality and inform the community at-large when they’re at risk.

TNW spoke with the Saaf Water team and, through a pair of representatives, they explained how not only is time precious when contamination sets in, but some water sources experience seasonal contamination. This means a source could go bad in-between test cycles.


Saaf Water’s solution will almost certainly save lives. And the team credits the challenge itself for inspiring them. Many of the group’s members worked with an IBM internship program during their high school years and, after being inspired by the work done by Project Owl, they decided to enter the competition themselves.

We’re overjoyed to extend our heartiest congratulations to Saaf Water. Not only are they joining a prestigious group of past winners, but they’ve clearly demonstrated how valuable the Call for Code challenge truly is.

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