The Estonian organisation, Garage 48, in December 2019 held an Empowering Women hackathon in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
According to Garage48, 1,150 women entrepreneurs have invested in different businesses in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.
“The figures show that investments by women reach more than USD77 million and this investment has provided jobs for more than 77,000 individuals across the country,” the organisation said in a blog post. “According to the statistics, 300 women entrepreneurs have started their businesses last year alone. Many of the female-owned companies have grown out of the country’s borders and are now exporting their products to various parts of the world.”
The project, Empowering Women Kabul, got initiated more than a year ago when Garage48 started to do more thorough research about the local business-ecosystem and found a partner that would provide post-hackathon support to the teams that would like to continue working after the 48-hour prototyping-marathon.
The hackathon received over 400 applications; at the end, the organisation chose 150 that made it to the hackathon.
An app to educate women about menstruation and pregnancy
The winner of the hackathon was Dastyaar, a platform for the freelancers, developers and designers to apply for different kind of freelancing work, both as full-time and part-time professionals.
The second place was awarded to the Gynecology App. The all-female team consisted of developers, designers, gynaecologists and midwives; their aim was to create an app that would educate women about the menstruation cycle, different stages of pregnancy and other important issues. “The awareness about these topics among Afghan women is relatively low and there’s a strong taboo about reaching out for help or booking an appointment with the doctor when something seems off,” Garage48 said.
The third place was won by Plastic Pollution, a team that fought against plastic pollution, which is a big problem in Kabul, according to the hackathon.
To encourage female participation in a male-dominated industry
Within the past six years, Garage48 has organised Empowering Women hackathons all over the Eastern Europe. Garage48 female entrepreneurship-focused hackathons started back in 2014 when its first Women in Tech hackathon kicked off in Pärnu, Estonia.
“The idea behind these female-empowerment hackathons was to create a gender-inclusive environment that would encourage female participation in the very male-dominated IT-industry,” the organisation asserted.
“We also wanted to see more strong girls in the leading positions, such as the inventors, founders, CEOs and managers. We don’t want to discriminate by gender but want to give the girls that simple reminder that they don’t deserve any less than the boys.”
Garage48 is a series of international start-up events for turning ideas into working prototypes in 48 hours.
Cover: Garage48 hackathon in Kabul. Photos courtesy of Garage48.