Project Update #6: Hackathon Day 3
October 22, 2017
Part of the: World Bank & Sexual Violence Research Initiative Project: ‘Combatting Sexual Violence in Kyrgyzstan through Innovative Education and Information Technology (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia)’
Dr Elena Kim, Dr Elena Molchanova, Aigerim Bakubatova, and Dr Frank G. Karioris
We couldn’t be more excited about an update than this one! But, before we get to the excitement, let, its important to talk about the third day and all the work that the team managed and what they were able to accomplish in such a short time.
Sunday was the third and final day of the Hackathon. The fifteen teams involved had been working throughout the building for two days straight, and the energy was clear. Excitement was thick in the air as the third day dawned and moved towards the finale.
Throughout the night between days 2 and 3 the team once again worked throughout the night. By the time the afternoon of the third day rolled around the team had spent almost two full days working only on this project, with limited sleep in between.
That said, the team worked like a well-oiled machine, utilizing each team member’s strength and putting collaboration and collegiality at the forefront of their interactions. Throughout the two days, with limited sleep, the entire team demonstrated a commitment to both the project but more important to each other. In their teamwork they were exemplary.
As the afternoon continued moving forward, the application took on more and more shape. During the night they had laid out the design elements of the application, and had input the crucial information component.
Having worked with the Mentors’ suggestions, the application project that was being undertaken set out to do a number of things. The first component of the application was to provide information for victims of sexual harassment, assault, or gender-based violence. This information covers what rights victims have, the general legal codes in Kyrgyzstan regarding these matters, as well as information for support, crisis, and emergency services. This information is currently only in Russian, but, as the team moves forward, this will be translated into Kyrgyz as well, as it is exceptionally crucial for many people in rural areas who speak primarily Kyrgyz.
The second component is a quick-text system that lets you text specific contacts an emergency message with the click of a button. This is designed to assist people in trouble to send messages to family members or friends. The text message also includes the messenger’s location. This will assist people in vulnerable situations get in touch with trusted contacts quickly, and to get their assistance.
The final component allows individuals to pin a location to a map where they had issues, felt unsafe, or where a crime occurred. The application will collect all of these pins, loading them onto the map that is available in the information part of the application. The aim of this is to provider users the ability to see which areas are unsafe.
Each of these components was designed and created throughout the weekend. That said, the sections were not able to be completed during the weekend, with a large amount of work left to continue with in the coming months.
At 5:30pm each group finalized their project and headed back to the main hall. After a quick break, each group was given the opportunity to present their project and application to the judges and the entire Hackathon audience. Each project was given 4 minutes to present the application that they had built, as well as the reasoning behind it; after which the judges were given 2 minutes to ask questions of the presenters. Dr Elena Kim gave the team’s presentation, laying out the goals of the application and how useful it would be to a wide community.
After each had given its presentations, the judges left to deliberate on their decision and to tally the scores from each of them. During this time the entire Hackathon voted on the ‘Audience Favorite’ project, a separate award.
Returning from deliberations, the organizers and judges began announcing the awards. They gave awards to first, second, and third place. Each award came with a cash prize for the group to put to use continuing to develop the application and to continue their work more broadly.
In an amazing turn of events, our team took First Place for the Hackathon. The award was presented by the director of Open Line, who, prior to announcing the winner, stated that our team had not only won first place but was more than seven points ahead of the competition. She was exceptionally complementary to the project, stating that the judges were all very impressed by both the application as well as the presentation.
This first place prize is largely due to two things. Firstly, the commitment our team gave to the project. Throughout the weekend they were committeed to the project and making it a reality. In particular, it is important to recognize and give the highest commendation to the our team leaders. From putting the team together, managing time and work throughout the weekend, and ensuring the strength of the finished product.
Coming in First in the Hackathon is both a high honor as well as a statement about the strength of the project more broadly. It reaffirms our commitment to addressing and combatting sexual violence in Kyrgyzstan, and emphasizes the way that innovative technology can provide unique and important solutions to these issues.
Further, this victory will drive the project forward, and has provided us with a working and workable application to continue developing. As we move forward we will utilize the work done during the Hackathon to push the project in a variety of ways.
We would like to once again thank all of the judges, mentors, experts, and organizers of the Hackathon. We are thrilled to have been involved and are highly honored to be awarded First Place.