Border Sessions Hackathon

Last Friday we wrapped up our three day hackathon with some amazing pitches at the Border Sessions festival in the Hague. Four groups worked on cases provided by War Child, Oxfam Novib, World Food Programme and Unicef, aiming to solve a number of difficult challenges, ranging from increasing awareness to stimulating the amount of donations. The participants rose to those challenges and displayed a high level of creativity and expertise in their proposed solutions. Read on for a description of the challenges and the amazing solutions!

  1. World Food Programme posed a complex problem: thousands of refugees in Lebanon are given a credit card containing a monthly budget for groceries, but there is very little information provided about the shops with the lowest prices in town. In order to tackle this problem, the WFP team designed an app combining four factors (location, price, brand and quality of the product) to provide the people with up-to-date information about the best and cheapest stores in town.
  2. Unicef asked the team to increase awareness of their high-tech Norwegian warehouse: for every crisis, Unicef ships whole pallets containing emergency supplies to where they are most needed. However, ensuring the warehouse has enough supply in stock is mostly a financial problem. Therefore, a steady amount of donations is needed to constantly refill those pallets. Team Unicef designed a concept that has a very low threshold for making (small) donations: they pitched a vending machine where you can buy a bottle of water for yourself, and at the same time one (or two, or three, etc.) extra for the emergency pallets in Norway. The vending machine has a display, which will virtually show your extra bottle(s) being transferred to the emergency pallets in the warehouse in Norway.
  3. Oxfam Novib challenged their group to develop an innovative open source, data driven tool for personal or household budget management that facilitates irregular budgets for low-income households in Uganda. The extra challenge was that many of those people in the pilot-case region are illiterate, making it harder to communicate these budgets on a larger platform. The group designed a budgeting app, relying heavily on graphics and visualisations to manage expenses, and using gamification to keep users engaged. This will ensure that even the illiterate people can easily use the app.
  4. Last but not least, the War Child challenge. They had to think about new and innovative ways to engage donors aged between 18 and 30, both physically and financially. The team came up with a very  creative solution: they suggested creating a customised beach ball containing a (GoPro) camera for creating selfies/ selfie movies at festivals, which are automatically shared with the world via social media. Furthermore, there will be a ‘contactless’ PIN application integrated inside of the ball, enabling festival goers  the possibility to support War Child with a small donation.

All in all, the hackathon was a great success as well for the participants as for humanitarian organisations themselves. See our Facebook page for more media, photo and film coverage!