Code For Pakistan Islamabad Civic Hackathon was officially opened on Friday evening at SEECS Seminar Hall, NUST, Islamabad. A group of student volunteers from local student society at SEECS verified over 100 registrants and handed them with color coded identification badges for categories of designers, developers and journalists, a cute GitHub sticker and a wooden key change with “Islamabad Civic Hackathon” embedded on it.
Code for Pakistan Founder, Sheba Najmi, introduced the purpose of civic Hackathon and its benefits along with the timeline of how it started from Code for America Fellowship to a lean startup in Pakistan. She also mentioned that Islamabad Civic Hackathon received over 450 applications out of which 140 were accepted. This Civic Hackathon got an overwhelming response leaving behind all the previous hackathons held at Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. During her presentation, she asked general questions related to Code For Pakistan and the person who gave the best answer was awarded with souvenir.
Civic Hackers traveled long distance from all over Pakistan to attend the event which included cities such as Bannu, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Lahore and more, in addition to the twin cities. We were surprised to see the huge response and considering the fact that Peshawar Fellowship applications are now opened, TechJuice asked Sheba whether there was a chance for Islamabad Fellowship Program. She appreciated the question and told that it all depends on the kind of apps that come out from this Civic Hackathon. However, OPEN Islamabad, a major partner in the event, has collaborated with Code For Pakistan to launch Islamabad Social Innovation Lab, so it is definitely a start. It should also be mentioned here that Women & Tech Initiative was also launched at the event with the aim to design applications for women empowerment.
Sheba also told that the winners from Islamabad Civic Hackathon will be provided incubation and support from P@SHA at NEST I/O and that LUMS center of Entrepreneurship has also extended their incubation cycle applications till this Monday for the sake of the event.
A total of 52 ideas were pitched to the audience in one hour session where each participant was allotted one-minute to explain their ideas, the skills they already have and the skills they require from new team members. The ideas ranged from data-driven apps including visualization and mapping to central databases for Pakistani law to gamified electronic voting system and volunteering system. Both government and private organizations such as Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Alif Ailaan and Code for India also pitched their ideas regarding women empowerment and ranking educational facilities in Pakistan.
During the pitching session, the mood was lightened when a participant said that they don’t need any new members for their team to which one of the organizers replied, “Is this app called ‘We Hate Fun’?” Likewise in another incident, a participant all the way from Bannu shared his idea about making Bannu shopkeepers intelligent in running their businesses through collaboration from businessmen in cities like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. When he was asked the skillsets available on his team, he replied adorably, “I am single” which gave the audience a good 1-2 minute of laugh. After idea pitching, the participants mingled with each other to form a final team of 3-5 members then they discussed their ideas to officially embark the 2-day hackathon journey. A total of 22 teams were formed at Islamabad Civic Hackathon.
These are some of the app ideas that were submitted:
- Know the law: A central full fledged database search engine that stores information about all the laws for access by the general public. This will make the public aware of its rights and responsibilites.
- Blood Donors Directory: Members can sign up as active donors and will get a karma point if they donate blood and lose a karma point if they ask for it. If you need blood, an SMS is sent to 5 donors and they respond using the app. Once the blood is donated and the borrower has confirmed it, the karma points are added to the donor’s profile and subtracted from that of the borrower.
- Find.Fund.Fix.Fun (FFFF): A platform that gels different actors of the civil society into finding, funding and fixing their own problems and having fun while doing so. They aspire to be the biggest portal for completed and new social projects awaiting to be delivered.