What happens to a tech4refugees project after a Techfugees’ Hackathon ?

Since 2015, Techfugees’ Chapters of volunteers have been organising 35+ hackathons in 25 countries. But what next ? At Techfugees we’ve been catching-up with the projects which got ideated, improved, or accelerated during one of its hackathons across the globe. Here is what comes out of it.

In 2019, our local Chapters and amazing volunteers have organised 25+ events (hackathons, meetups, conferences…) bringing together 600+ hackers, technologists, humanitarians, academics, entrepreneurs and curious minds together in more than 10 countries. One in four participants in those networking and creation spaces had a refugee background. 

Hackathon Techfugees Barcelona – May 2019 / Credits: © John Andrew Carter



Hackathons are a first step … 

Each Techfugees Chapter is relying on a network of strong local partners (among which Google Copenhagen, ITU, Cisco France, Makesense or Singa France) to ensure each project gets access to long term support post hackathon. The 48-or-52h event in itself, enables the first spark, through education content, sensibilisation, networking opportunities to create a team to answer an pre-identified need, that’s why we still hack. It is a first step to a broader innovation cycle. 



Staying in touch with our alumni as they go through this innovation cycle is essential for us to understand if and how the projects have evolved to make sure we introduce them efficiently to the right people and organisation in our community to grow and share their expertise, and can promote them with up to date data. 

What comes next ?

Annual rounds of catch up with #tech4refugees projects which took part in our events since our early days back in 2015, enabled us to gather a first set of data about their needs over time and realize this preliminary overview infographics. 

From the data gathered, the most interesting insight was to see how much support to the winning teams of the hackathons made their 1-year survival rate higher, from 16% up to 33% demonstrating that Techfugees’ support post-hack is impactful.


How we’ll keep supporting the emergence of #tech4refugees projects /// What’s next for Techfugees? //// Tools & rooms for improvement …


Hackathons are only part of the Global toolkit. New formats of events are tested every year by our community of volunteers and we are improving ourselves daily on structuring and improving methodologies to disseminate worldwide. 

This year, covid-19 is not going to stop us from exciting news. We’re moving online and everyone is welcome to join – that’s the advantage of organising virtual events, you don’t need a visa or a long commute.  

This situation of lockdown in the West is, in some weird way, intensifying and making our mission to promote and support projects using tech to empower refugees even more crucial.

That’s the case with our collaborative data collection project that we started last month with volunteers across the world when it became clear that the world was coming to a lockdown and the most vulnerable were not part of this equation yet. In less than a week after launching a document online, contributors from more than 10+ countries came together to help us pull data on how covid is – directly or indirectly – affecting refugee communities and how tech can support them in those troubled times. We’re also happy to announce Basefugees (very soft) soft launch. It will enable us to facilitate this link with the innovators of our community, showcase concretely their needs during this time of crisis as well as the solutions that exist. 

Because we don’t need just hackathons, do we? 😉 


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