Hackathon participants after the event

ISLAMABAD - Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, was the Chief Guest at the concluding Award Ceremony here on Sunday, 8 December, for the SDG Hackathon 2019, organized by Code for Pakistan, Jazz and OPEN Islamabad, held at the National Incubation Center (NIC) Islamabad, 6-8 December, as well as the Women SDG Challenge Cup 2019, held on 8 December.

"It has been inspiring to hear from the SDG Hackathon participants who are leveraging technology, design thinking and open-source hacking to pave the way for achieving Sustainable Development Goals," said Dr Nishtar. "Ehsaas is determined to engage with private sector partners, social enterprises, civil society and incubators to develop innovative technology solutions for addressing chronic development issues across Pakistan in a cost-efficient manner."

Dr Nishtar, on behalf of the government of Pakistan extended a hand of partnership, friendship, and collaboration, to the private sector, social enterprises, civil society and incubators, to explore the unanswered set of questions in the framework of Ehsaas, which is the government's new welfare program aimed at embracing innovation and helping the marginalized segments of the country.

Mr Saif Chi, CEO Huawei Pakistan was also present as a Guest of Honour, and generously provided giveaways for the winning teams. "We truly believe that Pakistan has great talent, a glimpse of which we witnessed today through the amazing ideas that came forth in the hackathon. We have strong confidence that with continued support of Jazz, we can explore more opportunities to support the activities around SDGs and work towards achieving these goals together,” said Mr Chi.

"Such Hackathons are a great way of generating amazing ideas to support the government in attaining SDGs. By ensuring participants utilize Jazz's digital services, we are providing an enabling environment to young entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to civic and social problems," said Syed Ali Naseer, Chief Corporate and Enterprise Officer at Jazz. All winning teams will now be provided an opportunity to be a part of the Jazz xlr8 program at the NIC in the upcoming cohort.

The two-and-a-half day event brought together over 150 participants; a mix of technologists, designers, urban planners, social scientists, NGOs and CSOs, and government representatives to develop innovative solutions aimed to address five particular UN Sustainable Development Goals using technology, data and digital tools.

These included but were not limited to:

  • Goal #3 Good Health and Well-Being
  • Goal #4 Quality Education
  • Goal #5 Gender Equality
  • Goal #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Goal #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

The Women SDG Challenge Cup 2019 was held alongside the hackathon, where women entrepreneurs pitched their startups with a mission to create civic and social impact.

The teams worked on their ideas and solutions through Friday and Saturday under the mentorship of several subject matter experts in their respective fields.

On the third day of the hackathon, teams presented their working solutions to a panel of judges that included

  • Sayyed Ahmad Masud, CEO Change Mechanics (Pvt) Ltd,
  • Owais Anjum, CEO Emumba Private Limited,
  • Shan Rehman, Social Development Specialist at The World Bank,
  • Javeria Masood, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Innovation AccLab, and
  • Salman Tariq, Head of HSE & Security, Jazz.

The top three winning teams and their ideas at the SDG Hackathon were

  • Educarists, an online platform with information about universities and admission details, living expenses and student jobs in a particular city.
  • Second prize went to InnoGeeks for their crowdfunding web portal to connect donors with teachers in underfunded schools and classrooms.
  • The third prize was awarded to Mumta, and their Smart Socks baby monitoring system.

Judges for the Women SDG Challenge Cup included

  • Sophia Salim, CEO The Data Leap,
  • Sadia Khuram, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Jazz,
  • Javeria Rizvi Kabani, Counsellor of Political Affairs, EU Delegation to Pakistan,
  • Saram Bokhari, Project Director, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division and
  • Mian Talha Nasruddin, Head of Product, Growth & Startup Ecosystem, Jazz.

Winning teams for the Challenge Cup were

  • Orendo and their digital learning app Taleemabad for pre-school age children;
  • Kaho Kahaani, a children's content development platform; and
  • The Feeel, a company providing emotional quotient trainings and workshops to promote better mental health.

Participants networked with industry peers and experts during the event.

This was the third civic hackathon organized by Code for Pakistan focusing on the SDGs, and this year was brought together by Jazz, Code for Pakistan, and OPEN Islamabad, held at the National Incubation Center Islamabad.

The SDG Hackathon 2019, a premier tech initiative by Jazz, in collaboration with Code for Pakistan and OPEN Islamabad, brought together a mix of technologists, designers, urban planners, social scientists, NGOs and CSOs, and government, to develop innovative solutions to address social and civic problems, using technology, data and digital tools. The Women SDG Challenge Cup spotlighted powerful and inspiring women who have founded and are leading startups and businesses with a mission to create civic and social impact.

Partners and supporters for the SDG Hackathon and Women SDG Challenge Cup included

ACM NUST, CIRCLE, Epiphany Lab, GDG Cloud Islamabad, GitHub, Huawei, IDG Pakistan, IGDA, Ignite, Impact Dynamics, Invest2Innovate, MoITT, National Incubation Center Islamabad, National Incubation Center Peshawar, NITB, NUST Entrepreneurs Club, Optera, Pakistan Alliance for Math and Science, Startup Guide, Startup Magazine, TeamUp, TiE Islamabad, UNDP Pakistan, WeCreate, WeCON, Women Techmakers, and the World Bank.