Hackathon teams in Kurdistan collaborate to improve future for those in camps

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In Iraq’s first ever Social Innovation Hackathon event, participants worked together to find solutions through creative technology that they hope will improve the lives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

“I was very pleased to see how much participants learned from working as a team – both the good and the bad,” Marcello Bonatto, the Chief Operations Officer of Re:Coded which organized the event said. “But more importantly, I hope the Hackathon showed them that collaboration and diversity are essential when you try to use technology to tackle a challenge.”

The head of the humanitarian innovation non-profit group explained that most of the 54 participants had never been in an event of this type and that teamwork is under-appreciated in this region.

The developers, designers, humanitarians, social entrepreneurs and community members came from across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, with the common goal of creating job opportunities, facilitating relevant and accessible education opportunities to IDPs and refugees as well as providing cultural awareness to host communities.

Each participant at the Erbil Tech Hub/MSelect on Friday and Saturday first gave one-minute pitches and then formed 15 groups to develop their solutions.

“This type of event is rare in Kurdistan. It’s good to meet people and share ideas,” one participant, a humanitarian said.