It was an incredible weekend with over 120 participants and mentors diving in on their computer screens to build apps that would make their city a better place to live in. Around 24 teams were formed and everything else came to a halt. It became clear that NUST SEECS that day would become the birthplace of Pakistan’s most promising entrepreneurs.
School Source, built by Fatma Faruq, Hanzala Ali Abbas, Muhammad Ubaid, Asif Ali Khan and Amna Majid, won the first prize at the Islamabad Civic Hackathon. The app, supported by Alif Ailaan, will allow the citizens to give their reviews about the schools in their locality and to report their issues.
The second prize was won by Crime Alert which is an application that gathers all the crime-related data of a region and makes it freely available to the public. This will help the citizens make important decisions like where to build a house and where to set up a business, etc.
E-found came third and aims to give tracking services for stolen objects through QR codes, bar codes and RFID tags. So unless you have lost your mind, you can find back almost anything else.
There were 5 other winning categories, as well as a Special Mention, and you can view all the projects at isbhacks.challengepost.com/submissions.
Sheba Najmi, the founder of Code for Pakistan, stressed upon the need to create apps with sustainability in mind — whether that’s arranging government support for taking action on citizen reports or a revenue model that turns apps into startups. The goal is to create problem solving engines that are creating real, sustainable solutions in public and community services — and not just apps. The participants were told to create apps that not only solve a civic problem but are also sustainable in the long-run.
It was encouraging to see so many women participants showing up and going on to actually win awards in various categories. The hackathon therefore set the perfect preamble for the Women and Tech initiative that Code for Pakistan is launching soon.
It was not about the prizes, as Sheba Najmi emphasized, but a huge achievement to be celebrated that so many working professionals took out the time to come together from all over Pakistan and collaborate with laser focus on creating solutions to their country’s problems. From the testimonials shared over social media by several participants, it was wonderful to see that same spirit absorbed and shared by all of them.
Read a heartwarming account by a first-time participant, Amna Majid, here. (Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Amna!)
We are grateful to our partners OPEN Islamabad, NUST SEECS, Code for America, Alif Ailaan, Convo, P@SHA, The Nest I/O, i2i, LINE Corp, Bentley, Arbisoft, GitHub, Smile SMS, Jumpstart Pakistan, Amazon Web Services, Brightspyre, Cogilent Solutions, SpeechofPak, Open Source Foundation Pakistan, Hacks Hackers Pakistan, Microsoft Pakistan, LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship, International Centre for Journalists, & ORIC for all their support. And to all the mentors, judges, and volunteers who gave a lot of time to make the event meaningful. The civic hackathon would not have been possible without this supportive family.