Estonian hackathon to find solutions for humanitarian problems

A Garage48 hackathon, called “Tech for Humanity”, to be held in Tallinn, Estonia, will be devoted to finding innovative solutions to aid humanitarian catastrophes.

Taking place on 9-11 June and organised by the Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol and Garage48 at the Tehnopol Startup Incubator, the Tech for Humanity hackathon is to focus on three areas: finding new implementations of technology to aid the refugee crisis; natural disasters; and developing countries.

“According to the United Nations, there were 65 million displaced people in the world in 2016 – that is the highest number since the Second World War. Millions more suffered due to hunger and numerous natural disasters. When it comes to helping in such disasters, the effective use of information and technology are nowadays as important as food, water and medicine,” the organisers said in a statement.

Working with UN experts

The hackathon expects around 100 contributors to get involved. In the first stage, the teams will develop a prototype of the product or service that they can then introduce to the sub-committees of the UN such as the Global Humanitarian Lab and the International Committee of the Red Cross. From there on, the product development can continue in collaboration with the Global Humanitarian Lab or the Red Cross and the best solutions will be put to work at the catastrophe areas.

Because of their everyday work at disaster sites, project partners – the Red Cross, the Global Humanitarian Lab, NGO Mondo and the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation – map out the most crucial problems.

“Better solutions in logistics, information gathering and distribution are essential to ensure that help would quickly reach the ones who need it the most. Sustainable solutions in education and psychological help are needful to ensure the normal quality of life for displaced people. These are just a few examples of areas in need of innovation – we await everyone who wants to help to solve these problems in collaboration with UN experts,” the organisers said.

Since 2010, the Tallinn-based Garage48 has been organising hackathons where participants create prototypes to test their business ideas in 48 hours. At a hackathon, everyone can pitch their idea on Friday; the most popular ones attract teams that will start executing them; and on Sunday evening, the teams present their prototypes. So far, over 60 Garage48 events have taken place in 17 countries and four continents.


Images courtesy of Garage48.

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