ISLAMABAD: The two-day SDG Hackathon 2017 came to a close at the National Incubation Centre on Sunday evening. The event was organized by Ignite (formerly known as the National ICT R&D Fund), the Ministry of IT & Telecom, and Code for Pakistan to encourage participants to develop solutions to address select Sustainable Development Goals.

The hackathon brought together programmers, designers, urban mappers, data analysts, community organizers, researchers, and government information to reboot local services by creating open source web, mobile, and SMS applications. The SDG Hackathon aimed, amongst other things, to address the gap in innovation between the public and private sectors by encouraging citizen engagement to create prototypes that address civic and social problems in line with the SDGs.

The participants focused their projects and solutions towards eight of the 17 SDGs: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world had committed to achieving by 2015. Pakistan was unable to meet any of the MDG targets.

The ideas were judged on the problem statement, the SDG targeted, development work, user experience, innovation, sustainability and scalability. The final pitches were judged by Ather Imran Nawaz from OPEN Islamabad, Kalsoom Lakhani from invest2innovate, Maryam Mohiyuddin of Social Innovation Lab, Owais Zaidi from The Hive and Sayyed Ahmad Masud of TiE Islamabad / Founder Institute.

Subject experts from the technology sector as well as social development sector participated as mentors to advise, encourage and motivate the teams as they worked on their projects.

Saad Hamid, a mentor at the event and CEO of SkillsForce, said, “I have been mentoring at Code for Pakistan Civic Hackathons for quite a few years now and I am so glad to participate this year again. What’s really great about the Hackathon this year is the challenge statements are focused around the SDGs which is a great way to bring civil society together with technology to solve problems.”

He added, “I personally believe that we need a mix of technological and liberal arts education to build sustainable solutions for Pakistan and while we are very far from having this implemented within formal education, I think these Hackathons are a great way to create a prototype of this environment.”

Javeria Masood, Urbanist and Design thinking expert and mentor at the event, said, “This hackathon had brought together tech people and social scientists to enable innovation in the social realm, its more substantial this time with the focus on SDGs. I am encouraged by the productive and collaborative direction of Code for Pakistan. They have managed to get brilliant and diverse stakeholders to hack-together for the whole weekend. I was impressed by some of the participants and their ideas and look forward to seeing them kick start.”

Also part of the Hackathon was the SDG Challenge Cup, where startups already working on ideas in line with the SDGs for good health and well being; quality education; gender equality; decent work and economic growth pitched ideas to the judges for representing Pakistan at international-level ITU events, including ITU TELECOM World 2017 and also to participate in the Young ICT Leaders’ Forum at ITU TELECOM World.

Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Dr. Ismail Shah said, “The PTA sees its role as that of an enabling body, that can provide the right tech environment for innovation and progress, and this includes supporting innovation to address the SDGs.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2017

Opinion

On writing

On writing

There is no ceremony or ritual that marks any person as a writer except the simple yet unimaginably significant act of starting to write.

Editorial

A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
Updated 18 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

Plummeting exports as a ratio of GDP is one of the major reasons driving the current economic slowdown and the balance-of-payments crisis.
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...
Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

Netanyahu is cunningly pretending to talk peace while mercilessly pounding Gaza. What is clear is that a return to pre-Oct 7 status quo is impossible.