At the Sanitation Hackathon in Dhaka 62 teams provided 46 solutions to 13 local and 10 global problem statements. Thirteen local government representatives mentored students on real-world problems in their localities. Donor agencies like Jica, Sida and GiZ were also present.
Almost all of the teams worked throughout the night. At 5 a.m. about 200 coders were still developing their apps.
Team spirit guaranteed that any time some expertise was needed, just an announcement in the microphone would lead to someone offering their help.
Critical to the event’s success was having an IT mentor for every problem statement, devoted to solving that special one. The mentors took great responsibility in capturing all the solutions and in making sure that two teams wouldn’t work on the same solution. The mentors also chose which solutions to present to the audience.
Apps were uploaded to GitHub or similar platforms. Six of the most innovative applications were presented to the highest IT authorities in the country.
One of the favorite apps was a data matchmaking map that cross references the needs of localities with NGO resources. Another favorite was a personal coach, communicating in Bangla, which uses artificial intelligence to learn behavior patterns.
The event gained nationwide media coverage in all major public and private TV and print media, as well as on the most popular radio channels.
For the coders, the hackathon meant being together and working towards a common goal. “Hackathon is a space in which a huge crowd of IT talents can gather their strengths to create something that is really needed,” said one of the coders, Md. Modasser Rahman.