The COVID-19 Global Hackathon 1.0 took place between 7 and 10 April 2020 and Bigger Than ME CEO, Greg Viljoen, was invited to participate in this momentous online global initiative.
Greg was due to co-host a workshop at Global Festival of Action 2020 in Bonn, Germany at the beginning of April, which was naturally postponed due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
He also attended SDG Global Festival of Action 2019 and offered some insightful take-outs from last year’s event. Greg offered a uniquely (South) African perspective to his review of the 2019 event which you can read here.
The COVID-19 Global Hackathon
“Over the past 48 hours, I’ve had the privilege of being part of a global community hackathon – #TheGlobalHack, an initiative by UN SDG Action Campaign and Garage48 and partners to find digital solutions to help people around the world combat, live and work with the COVID-19 disease.”
The COVID-19 Global Hackathon created an opportunity for developers to build software solutions that drive social impact.
The primary aim of the hackathon was to tackle some of the challenges related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Open to all developers across the globe leading technology companies and platforms included AWS, Facebook, Giphy, Microsoft, Pinterest, Salesforce, Slack, TikTok, Twitter and WeChat who shared resources to support participants throughout the submission period.
“The solutions and ingenuity have been inspiring from all corners of the world and it’s been an honour to be a team mentor to all of the teams who we have worked with in the last two days.
“From websites to building applications that connect communities, inspire with positive stories, develop new businesses in the “new world” and help families connect better through technology,” said Greg.
Greg partnered with a Food researcher and consultant from the United Kingdom, Johnny Drain, to evaluate their teams during this process.
“It’s collaborations between countries and nations and more importantly individuals who want to make a difference on a human level that is going to help us beat COVID-19,” Greg lamented after the experience.
These suggested themes for developers and participants to focus on were derived from discussions with partners and the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand some of the key challenge areas that technological innovation could help solve.
- Health: Address and scale a range of health initiatives, including preventative/hygiene behaviours (especially for at-risk countries and populations), supporting frontline health workers, scaling telemedicine, contact tracing/containment strategies, treatment and diagnosis development.
- Vulnerable Populations: Problems faced by the groups of people who are disproportionately affected by the various health, economic, and social issues related to the COVID outbreak around the world, such as those with underlying health conditions or a thin social safety net.
- Businesses: The set of problems that businesses are facing to stay afloat, collaborate effectively and move parts of their business online.
- Community: Promoting connection to friends, family, and neighbours to combat social isolation and the digitizing of public services for local governments.
- Education: Alternative learning environments and tools for students, teachers, and entire school systems.
- Entertainment: Alternatives to traditional forms of entertainment that can keep the talent and audiences safe and healthy.
- Other: The above themes are just suggestions. Feel empowered to get creative
There were over 12,000 participants from more than 100 countries who worked on 500 life changing projects,
The overall winner was SunCrafter.
They created a sustainable and inclusive solution to hygiene methods by providing easy, affordable and barrier-free access to hand disinfection, to help reduce the spread of viruses like corona, both within Europe and abroad.
For a full list of overall winners and winners in various sub categories, click here.
Bigger Than Me is a Creative Social Change Agency with a strong focus on Cause Related Marketing, Social Responsibility, Sustainability Issues and creating Shared Value strategies because we want to change the world and make a positive impact.
Greg’s final words on the COVID-19 Global Hackathon:
“I hope our political systems can do the same and leave their agendas at the door for the greater good of everyone.”
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