The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) hosted the first ever civic hackathon in Islamabad on February 20th. The event was co-managed by Open Islamabad and “Code for Pakistan” which aims to bring citizens together to “create innovative open-source web and mobile applications to spark civic engagement and innovation.”
The event kicked off with a welcome speech by Sheba Najmi, the founder of Code for Pakistan, who profusely thanked all the organizers, sponsors and attendees for working together to make the event successful.
At the beginning, all 98 participants of the hackathon were invited to give 60-second pitches of their ideas after which they combined to form teams. A grand total of 22 teams were formed, with each team requiring to have a developer, a designer and a journalist to market the idea.
Interestingly, there was a large turnout of women hackers which resulted in a number of ideas to encourage female participation in Pakistan’s tech ecosphere. One of the most popular ideas was a dedicated online job portal exclusively for women.
Teams worked feverishly throughout the day to develop and fine-tune their ideas. There were a number of innovative solutions that were pitched, from crime reporting softwares, SMS services as well as social collaboration apps. Some of the ideas that stood out were:
- Know the Law: A centralized database that would store information about existing laws and be accessible to the general public as and when needed.
- Blood Donor Directory: A system of connecting blood donors to recipients, with a reward point mechanism that rates donors and recipients alike.
- Find.Fund.Fix.Fun: A platform to connect different actors in civil society in order to find and fix problems that are prevalent in their community.
At the conclusion of the event, first place was awarded to ‘School Source’ which was backed by advocacy NGO Alif Ailaan. Second and third place went to ‘Crime alert’ and ‘E-Found’ respectively. In addition, ‘Quick Disease Early Warning System’ was selected to have the best solution using civic data, while ‘Lighthouse’ was declared to be the best data-driven educational app. The app best suited for women’s needs was ‘Craft Cocktail’, and the audience chose ‘Hull’ as their favourite. Hats off to all the winners!