Coding for good

Sri Lanka’s tech and civil society community join forces for peace

Over one hundred coders came together in Colombo on 19-20 September for Code for Good Sri Lanka, co-organised by International Alert as part of our #peacehack series.

The hackathon was a joint partnership between Alert and Internews, with support from SLASSCOM, internet.org by Facebook, Google Business Groups Sri Lanka and the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

SriLanka_CodeForGood_1_Sept2015_350x220The event was an opportunity for technologists to come together to ‘hack’ technological solutions to issues facing the country, with 21 teams taking on 13 problems, ranging from gaps in communication and information in agricultural markets, parliamentary accountability, police corruption, psychosocial problems and connecting volunteers.

In the run-up to the event, problems for the teams to tackle were solicited from civil society organisations throughout Sri Lanka. There was an enthusiastic response, with 16 problems presented at the pitching event, where CSOs met and spoke with the ICT community. Thirteen of these problems were then selected by the teams at the hackathon.

SriLanka_CodeForGood_2_Sept2015_350x220The winning team on the day was ‘Breaking Code’, which presented their solution for tackling parliamentary accountability. They, along with two runners-up, were awarded cash prizes and, together with three other teams, will go through an ‘incubation process’, in which they will get the opportunity to work with mentors to further refine their ideas. At the end of this process, there will be a ‘demo day’, in which judging will take place to select three of the six participants for entry into Facebook’s ‘FbStart’ programme.

To find out more about the Code for Good series, you can join their Facebook group here. You can find out more about Alert’s #peacehack series at www.talkingpeacefestival.org/technology.

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