Participants of the Lahore CIL

At the end of the Lahore Civic Hackathon, we had invited all participants to join the Lahore Brigade, so that we could continue civic hacking as a group, beyond the hackathon. The Lahore Brigade is open to anyone who cares about civic betterment, and new people are also joining it. Code for Pakistan and Technology for the People Initiative (TPI) partnered up to plan the kick-off meetup of the Lahore Brigade, coinciding it with CodeAcross 2014 on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Forty-eight cities all over the world participated in CodeAcross this weekend, and Lahore was excited to be one of them!

The meetup was organized at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the same place where the Lahore Civic Hackathon was held 4 weeks earlier. We saw several new faces as well as many familiar ones from the Lahore Civic Hackathon. The meeting was opened by Asim Fayaz, Director of TPI at LUMS, who described most of the projects TPI is working on with government. He also made an open offer for everyone to join the exciting projects being undertaken by TPI.

Sheba Najmi, the founder of Code for Pakistan, spoke about CodeAcross, explained the purpose of a Brigade, and emphasized that to be a Brigade, the Brigade members should meet on a regular basis to work on projects. You don’t need to be a techie to participate — there are many non-coding aspects to civic innovation.

All the attendees introduced themselves and also proposed potential solutions to civic problems, pertaining to the areas of health, transportation, education, and governance. Some of the participants expressed interest in some of the projects that had been created at the Lahore Civic Hackathon. The ideas were all captured, followed by a rigorous discussion of them. A couple of Brigade Project Mentors were also present and they, like everyone else, expressed their interest in certain ideas. 6 promising project ideas or areas were agreed upon by the group.

For next steps, the Lahore Brigade is planning to meet every 2 weeks. An online discussion forum will be set up as well, and future sessions will involve hands-on work on projects to take them forward. Leadership positions for the Lahore Brigade will be decided after we’ve had a couple of meetings.

We will continue to keep you posted on the Lahore Brigade meetups. Till then, you can check out:

Want to help us take the Lahore Brigade forward? If you’re in Lahore, register as a member (or apply for a leadership position) in the Lahore Brigade!

We hope to see you join this motivated group of civic innovators that are pioneers of the civic innovation movement in Pakistan!