First Hackathon to Be Held in Haiti

Posted on Feb 1, 2013 in Conferences, Events, Other Companies

Digital Democracy is hosting “From Local Solutions to National Systems,” a gender-based violence Hackathon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. See the following press release and the event page here for more details.

Digital Democracy Hosts the First Hackathon to Take Place in Haiti
Event convenes Haitian & International developers to address gender-based violence

Feb 1, 2013, Port-au-Prince, Haiti: This weekend, NY-based non-profit organization Digital Democracy (Dd) is hosting the first Hackathon to be held in Haiti. Participants – both local and international software developers and designers – are working to build out technical support systems for Haitian women’s organization KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims for
Victims). KOFAVIV runs the #572 call center, Haiti’s first free hotline dedicated to providing emergency support to survivors of gender-based violence.

The call center launched in fall 2011 and expanded to 24-hour service in spring 2012, to date serving more than 5,000 callers in the Port-au-Prince area. The Hackathon will focus on building a map-based platform for call center operators to provide callers with information on emergency services across the country. Hackathon participants will also work to improve the use and visualization of KOFAVIV’s data on instances of rape and sexual violence, supporting the group’s advocacy efforts to increase security for women and girls.

Dd’s partnership with KOFAVIV began following the Haiti earthquake in spring 2010, and the call center was launched as part of Dd’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.

“The technology work with Digital Democracy has truly revolutionized the work of grassroots women in Haiti, particularly here at KOFAVIV,” said Jocie Philistin, KOFAVIV project coordinator. “The 572 Call Center helps victims get life-saving medical support within 72 hours of an attack. With the Hackathon, we hope to fill the urgent need to have a national reference system for gender-based violence service providers. With this system, the call center will be able to refer and support callers from around the country, helping make services accessible to the women who need them the most.”

The Hackathon will be hosted at of ESIH (École Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haïti). Patrick Attie, Director of ESIH said, “The first Hackathon in Haiti represents an amazing opportunity for our students to be placed in a production situation, apply their knowledge to solving real problems and meet other (Haitian and foreign) geeks, as passionate as they are about what technology can do to help improve the harsh conditions of living (in Haiti). A Hackathon is a culture that we absolutely need to be able to promote and perpetuate on our own.”

Although many Hackathons have been hosted for Haiti, this is the first Hackathon to be hosted in Haiti. Attie explained, “After the earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12th, 2010, most hacker events about helping Haiti took place outside of Haiti. The Hackathon brought to us by Digital Democracy should also demonstrate that this type of event can efficiently take place in Haiti.”

The Hackathon is made possible thanks to sponsors Abundance Foundation, UNHCR
Innovations, Arca Foundation, Channel Foundation, Knight-Mozilla Open News & Tropo, and partners KOFAVIV, ESIH, Solutions, Geeks Without Bounds, Openflows, and Openbox,
Digital Democracy is a New York-based non-profit working globally to empower marginalized communities to use technology to fight for their rights. Founded in 2008, Dd collaborates with local partners to build technology solutions that empower them as leaders in their communities.

For the official PDF copy of this press release, please click here.