Over the past 48 hours, a group of over 40 programmers and developers have been on lock down trying to find a way to tackle poverty and social exclusion in Malta by means of mobile technology.
Vodafone Malta hosted its first ‘Hackathon‘ this weekend, a first-of-its-kind event here in Malta. Hackathons are general aimed at solving technological issues, but this one was the first in Malta to try and solve some social issues. In total, 11 teams took part in an attempt to ‘break poverty’.
Back in November 2018, Vodafone held a a workshop with experts as well as members from various local NGOs. Some of these NGOs included YMCA, Caritas, Millennium Chapel, and the St Jeanne Antide Foundation.
Together, the group identified five main topics concerning local poverty and social exclusion
- Hunger and food waste
- Loneliness in the elderly community
- Pairing voluntary help with those who need it
- Recognising early signs of an individual’s situation leading to poverty/social exclusion
When signing up, the teams were asked to identify three areas that were of interest to them. At the start of the hackathon on Friday, they were each given one main area that they were to work on. The first day of the hackathon also saw members from these NGOs address the participants and discuss the main areas of concern in relation to each topic.
After that the teams went into a weekend-long lock down as they worked long and hard to come up with mobile technology solutions (translation: apps and IoT items) to the problems in an attempt to help break the poverty cycle.
The teams then presented their ideas to a panel of judges at the end of the 48 hours
App ideas produced from the hackathon ranged from a social network for the elderly community, volunteer sign-up programmes, and a food-waste market platform.
After a long and gruelling panel discussion the winners were chosen.
Team Codafones came in third place with their app ‘reKindle’; a social platform for volunteering. In second place was team ThreePlusTwo, who tackled homelessness by offering an app that would help YMCA with the offering their services. Team Double Helix came first with their app ‘Jisimni’ – a social network and app that can be used by members of the elderly community, to help them keep in contact with their friends and family, as well as help them find things to do.
The teams placing first, second and third were awarded the prize money of €5,000, €2,000 and €1,000 respectively. The winning proof of concept and/or other proof of concepts resulting from the hackathon could end up being selected for further development and eventual implementation.
Well done to everyone involved!