Techfugees France Hackathon: 10-12 March in Paris

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Date: Friday, 10/03/2017 – Sunday, 12/03/2017

Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Paris time

Location: Liberty Living Lab, Paris, France

To register for the event online go to Eventbrite


The challenges

Techfugees France is coming back with a hackathon in Paris to find tech & innovative solutions to challenges faced by refugees.

Three main challenges will be presented on Friday, to be solved by the end of the weekend, with the possibility for more participants to come up with their own challenges to pitch. Find out about the challenges on the event page.


Schedule & Tools

A jury of leading figures from the local tech community will decide on the winners of incubation & sponsor prizes for the main three challenges on Sunday night while a “coup de coeur” prize will be provided to any pitch out of the three that will positively surprise the jury.

Former refugees and asylum seekers who have already settled in France will participate in the event to help teams understand challenges faced by new settlers and co-design solutions.

Talents from the tech community will mentor teams through the weekend.


More information & questions?

Ask us on the Facebook event page.

The event will be hosted at Liberty Living Lab in Paris and sleeping options have been worked out for you to stay over night: but bring your sleeping bag!

Looking for inspiration on what to work on over the weekend? Check out the Techfugees Hackpad for projects that need help!

PS: We want our event to be accessible to all and have reserved free tickets for the ones of you for whom the ticket price range is too high. Email us + with the title: HELP SW SPECIAL TICKET and we will work out a special ticket for you.

Techfugees Brisbane Hackathon: 17-19 March 2017

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Date: Friday, 17/03/2017 – Sunday, 19/03/2017

Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST)

Location: RiverCity Labs, Level 2, TCBeirne Building, 315 Brunswick St, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia – View Map

To register for the event online go to Eventbrite

Following the success of the Techfugees hackathon in Melbourne and Sydney, it’s Brisbane’s turn!

TechfugeesBNE Hackathon will bring together developers, designers, entrepreneurs and community members to develop creative tech solutions to help refugee and settle into the Queensland community.

Former refugees and asylum seekers who have already settled in Australia will participate in the event to help teams deeply understand opportunities and challenges faced by new settlers and co-design solutions.

Leaders from the tech community will mentor teams through the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, teams will pitch their solutions to a judges panel of tech and community leaders.

The event will be hosted by our sponsors at RiverCity Labs in partnership with Marist180, MDA Ltd, Access Community Services, Multilink, Australian Red Cross, Welcome to Australia and Urban Informatics Research Lab @ QUT Design Lab.

Come make a difference, have some fun, learn a lot and help to welcome refugees to the Queensland community!

Looking for inspiration on what to work on over the weekend? Check out the Techfugees Hackpad for projects that need help!

Follow us on social media to keep in touch and find out more:

Like us on Facebook @Techfugees Australia

Follow us on Twitter @TechFugeesBNE


To find out more about eligibility please visit DevPost

We are also looking for volunteers to help facilitate the event. If you would like to volunteer during the hackathon, register as a volunteer.

Techfugees Adelaide Hackathon: 26-28 May 2017

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Date: Friday, 26/05/2017 – Sunday, 28/05/2017

Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST)

Location: TBC, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

To register for the event online go to Eventbrite

Following the success of the Techfugees Australia Hackathons in Sydney and Melbourne in 2015 and 2016, it’s finally time for Adelaide to take part in this global initiative!

The Techfugees Adelaide Hackathon will bring together developers, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers, business minds and community members to develop creative tech solutions that focus on improving the lives of refugee families in Australia.

Former refugees who have already settled in Australia will be participating in this event to help teams deeply understand the problems and challenges faced by new settlers. The format of the Hackathon will draw strongly on co-design principals and practices.

Leaders from Adelaide’s burgeoning Tech community will mentor teams through the weekend.

We launch and form teams on Friday evening and work together on solutions throughout the weekend until pitch time on Sunday afternoon.

We will continue to update this event page as more details are confirmed including venue, sponsorship and prize information.

Please also keep up to date through our social media pages (Twitter & Facebook) and DevPost profile.

To get a feel for what Techfugees Australia means to the refugee community, here are some links to previous pitch ideas and successful start-ups that came about from Techfugees Australia:

Techfugees Kenya – Blockchain & Refugee Emergency Response: Can Blockchain technology help save the lives of refugees?

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Date: 22nd of February 2017 
Time:  4:30pm – 7:00pm, East Africa Time.
Location: iLab Nairobi, Strath­more University, 4th Floor Stu­dent Centre Build­ing, Keri Road, Madaraka Estate, Nairobi, Kenya 
Capacity is limited. Registration will be confirmed shortly and via email.

Join us for the launch of Techfugees chapter in Kenya!

Blockchain has the potential transform humanitarian responses for refugees and empower refugees themselves to create recognised identities and access essential services that may otherwise be off-limits. This event brings together startups, innovators and humanitarians to explore multiple Blockchain initiatives that have the potential to improve the lives of refugees in East Africa and beyond. Join us for the first Techfugees event in East Africa and help us unlock the power of Blockchain!

The problem

Many refugees, and people in refugee-like situations, across Africa are unable to prove their identity or access essential services. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 80% of the total adult population are unbanked and do not have the necessary documentation to open a bank account, and without necessary documentation, many refugees are unable to access healthcare, seek legal protection, or enrol their children in schools. In response, private enterprises and humanitarian organisations have begun to look into Blockchain technology as a way to independently authenticate and validate exchanges of information, from personal identification to money transfers.
How can Blockchain help?

Blockchain is a cloud-based public ledger that automatically records all transactions and stores them securely for everyone to see. This enables independent entities to rely on the same, secured and auditable source of information without the need of third-party oversight.
Mapping solutions

Blockchain is increasingly being used in refugee emergency response. This event gathers leading researchers in the Blockchain space, Blockchain-based startups, and humanitarian players that have begun implementing Blockchain-based initiatives to share insights from the projects they’re currently working on.
The event will discuss questions like:

  • How can Blockchain technology alleviate challenges faced by refugees by providing identification and financial mobility?
  • Can Blockchain unlock essential services to refugees without government support?
  • Which humanitarian organizations have started to use Blockchain technology in Africa and how?
  • When it comes to refugee response and Blockchain: What are the lessons learned from Africa – and outside of Africa?


At this event, you will be hearing from:

Joséphine Goube, CEO of Techfugees (via Skype)
Benjamin Hounsell and Ida Jeng, Co-chairs of Techfugees Kenya
Komminist Weldemariam, Research Scientist & Manager at IBM Research Africa
Diana Klein, Head of IT, The World Food Programme in Kenya
Joseph Thompson, CEO, Aid:Tech (via Skype)
David Yen, Regional Business Development Manager, BitPesa, East Africa
More speakers to be announced

Sponsored by REFUNITE & Samuel Hall

Register by sending an email to Giulia Balestra: Please include your full name and organization.

Hackathon with Young People: TF Australia inspires with third event

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By Anne-Marie Elias

Find out what happened at the third Techfugees Australia hackathon in November 2016, in which young refugees, entrepreneurs and the tech community came together in the Parramatta district in Sydney to find solutions to the challenges faced by those newly arriving in Australia.

The #Hack4Refugees event kicked off with insights from four young people who talked about their experiences and set the scene.

Then, over the course of a weekend, teams or four or five people worked with refugees to create new businesses, business models and minimum viable products. With intensive mentoring and support, the teams were able to create, validate and pitch their solutions by late Sunday afternoon. There was a focus throughout on doing more than just surviving – a common theme was how to settle into a new country and thrive long term.

The winner of the $15k prize was Art Crew, with their idea of designing murals to proudly and publicly celebrate multiculturalism.

Also in the running were:

See the pitches in full

Get involved with Techfugees Australia

With three events behind them, founders Annie Parker, Nicole Williamson and Anne-Marie Elias are starting to see the positive impact of the Techfugees Australia events, particularly on the younger people.

More information

Follow the Hack4Refugees Storify from day one and day two
See Anne-Marie Elias on Codesigning Solutions to Settlement

Read Serina Gill’s blog post
Read Gavin Heaton’s write-up
See the submissions from Techfugees Australia
Join Techfugees Australia on Facebook

Winners of TC Disrupt Hackathon will help refugees with education, identity and social inclusion

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The TechCrunch Disrupt London Hackathon was the launchpad for three ideas, which will help refugees with social inclusion, access to education, and keeping track of their identity even if essential papers get lost.

Running for a total of 24 hours and taking place in the run-up to the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the hackathon attracted nearly 300 participants. The three winners selected by Techfugees from eleven competing teams used IBM Watson, Twilio and Twitter APIs to develop ideas which will help refugees with social inclusion, gain access to education, and show proof of identity.

Who were the winners?

  • RefuTweet

RefuTweet aims to provide refugees on the move with the help they need by connecting with local individuals sympathetic to their cause.

The messages are parsed through IBM Watson to extract both the location and request. RefuTweet then searches Twitter in a radius of up to 16 miles around the area and identifies all handles which have tweeted about the refugee crisis in the past week.

A personality insight analysis is run on all relevant Twitter profiles to identify specific users in the area who are sympathetic to the refugee cause and exhibit personality traits such as love, harmony, idealism, sympathy, and altruism.

RefuTweet sends out friendly tweets and a link, asking the top three users if they would like to help a refugee in their area who is in need. If the link is clicked and confirmed a message is sent back to the refugee alerting them that someone is willing to help and how to arrange a meeting.

Watch the video and find out more about the team: Harley Katz, Brett DeWoody, Dhaval Patel, George Stefanis, Michael Curtis.

  • ResID

When refugees are in a foreign country they often have very limited papers with text information, papers which can be easily lost or stolen. ResID helps people never lose track of who they are.
Watch the video and find out more about the team: Danil Gontovnik, Andrey Staroseltsev, Jon Miller.

  • Sensei Hub

Sensei Hub provides a simple capture mobile app that photographs and records student test papers.

Computer vision understands the test paper results, and instantly records this against the student and test IDs from the one photograph.

A facial recognition feature is also available where the student doesn’t have their student ID. This is stored locally in the teachers own mobile device until they are within wifi and an upload to the repository can be completed and the test data securely archived.

Watch the video and find out more about the team: Luka Topolovec, Blaz Magdic, Tine Postuvan, Joanna Alpe.


What’s next for the winning teams?

Techfugees has offered to support the three teams in developing their prototype into a working MVP with the help of partners TechHub, AltCity and TheToolBox. They will also support field trips to Calais and Lebanon.

After the winners were announced Josephine Goube, CEO of Techfugees, said:

“The prototypes that have been presented have the potential to provide relief to millions of refugees, because unlike distributing aid, tech solutions scale. We were delighted to see so many teams pitching solutions and so many of them really understanding the potential of AI, chatbots and voice recognition systems, thus saving time for refugees and NGOs by automating many time-consuming tasks. Especially in the domain of education, knowing that one out of two refugees is a child, we can’t stress the importance of the need to create solutions that scale now and can be deployed as soon as possible. A child that does not go to school for years will find it extremely hard to catch up later and may never get another chance.”

As part of the hackathon, Techfugees partner Lebanon-based entrepreneur and AltCity CEO, David Munir Nabti, mentored the hackers taking on the Techfugees challenges.

“It was great to see so much energy at the hackathon from teams working to build scalable solutions for refugees and other marginalized communities. We’re excited to see how we can mobilize some of that great talent and energy to support innovation emerging from refugees themselves. If we can build stronger links between these innovators and entrepreneurs and the refugee communities, we can make great strides towards addressing deep challenges that affect us in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.”

Elizabeth Varley, CEO of TechHub, explained:

“Technology has the ability to transform lives, from everyday experiences to times of crisis. As an advocate of diversity and inclusion in tech, TechHub is delighted to partner with Techfugees in recognising the efforts of entrepreneurs seeking to improve access and opportunities for refugees. We look forward to having the winning team as part of the TechHub community to support them in their awesome work.”

More information

See what else went on at the TechCrunch Disrupt London Hackathon
Find out more about TechCrunch Disrupt

Techfugees at TechCrunch Disrupt Hackahon: donate to win your ticket!

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Saturday, December 3 at 12:30PM – Sunday, December 4 at 2:00PM

Copper Box Arena

London UK

Techfugees is partnering with TechCrunch Disrupt at one of the most anticipated hackathons of the year – TechCrunch Disrupt London Hackathon 2016! Together with other amazing partners – Twilio, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, etc. – we will present our key challenges and support teams during this 24-hour contest. The contest will be announced on the Hackathon website and on-site during the opening remarks. Techfugees will also provide and present the prize during the award ceremony on Sunday, December 4. 

For a chance to be part of it, make a minimum donation of £25 to our crowdfunding campaign with a TC Disrupt reference by December 1, 2016 – the deadline has been extended!

And if you donate £100 and above with a TC Disrupt Conference reference – you could win one of the 12 tickets to the Disrupt Conference worth £1200 each!!! Please find more information below

Donate by December 1, 2016 and win:

  • Donate £25… enter a draw to win 1 of 10 TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon tickets happening in London this December 2016.
  • Donate £100… enter a draw to win 1 of 12 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference tickets (Face Value £1200) happening in London this December 2016.
  • Donate £500… enter a draw to win 1 of 2 TechCrunch Disrupt VIP Dinner Tickets on Monday 5 December — £2,000/each value, AND be on our thank you wall of donors publicly available on our website and receive exclusive free tickets to all Techfugees events.


About TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon 

Preceding the Disrupt Conference is Hackathon weekend on December 3-4, where  developers and engineers descend from all over the world to take part in a 24-hour hacking endurance test. Teams join forces to build a new product, present it on the Disrupt stage to a panel of expert judges and an audience of tens of thousands and compete for a variety of prizes, including the chance to win free tickets to the Disrupt Conference. Products created at the Disrupt Hackathon have seen great success beyond the event, like GroupMe which was created overnight and ultimately acquired by Skype for $80M.

About TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt is the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups, introducing game-changing technologies, and discussing what’s top of mind for the tech industry’s key innovators. Disrupt gathers the best and brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, and tech fans for on-stage interviews, the Startup Battlefield competition, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, Hardware Alley, and After Parties.

Data for Development workshop focuses on health, agriculture and refugees

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By Michele Tizzoni

Find out what happened at the one-day workshop Data for Development in Milan, the second of three events looking at how data science can support organisations that work to make the world a better place.

The one-day workshop Data for Development was the second of a series of three events looking at how data science can support organisations that work to make the world a better place.

Held at the Cariplo Factory in Milan, about 60 people came along – about 75% were representatives of NGOs working in the international development sector, plus we had lots of people from academia, companies like Vodafone and the IT sector.

What was the thinking behind the workshop?

The workshops were organised by me, Daniela Paolotti and Ciro Cattuto. We are research scientists and we work at ISI Foundation, where Ciro is the scientific director of the Institute. Three Italian foundations are supporting the project: Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione CRT and Compagnia di San Paolo.

Our research is highly interdisciplinary and we have a core expertise in data science. We work on network theory, computational epidemiology, machine learning. With these events, we want to identify issues that are relevant for non-profit organisations and that can be tackled using the power of data science.


Who was speaking?

We had four great speakers:

  • Josephine Goube, Techfugees
  • Giulio Quaggiotto, Nesta UK
  • Erin Akred, DataKind
  • Natalia Adler, UNICEF

You can also download the slides of their presentations and take a look at the Storify of the event to see their highlights!

What did people take away from the event?

After the talks, we organised three working groups on three different topics: Health, Agriculture, Refugees.

The goal of the working groups was to come up with ideas about data-driven projects that could impact the work of the organisations that were present. We ended up with some good ideas and some case studies that will be further discussed in the next weeks.

When’s the next event?

There will be a third workshop in Torino on 15 December 2016 (please note this is a change from the original date of 16 December). And we will keep in touch with the participants through a mailing list, to have more face-to-face meetings and design the pilot studies we initially defined during the event.

How can people contact you?

Please visit the website

Register for more info here

Techfugees partnered with Startup Weekend Amman and UNICEF Jordan on refugee challenges

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Software developers, designers and entrepreneurs of all ages competed in a 52-hours Startup Weekend event in Amman, Jordan, to develop innovative business solutions. Techfugees worked with UNICEF Jordan & Oasis500 to create a refugee track to the event – for participants to pitch innovative ideas to help refugees

Techfugees Amman Hack Winners Profugees

Techfugees in partnership with the team of Startup Weekend Amman, launched a refugees track to the event which took place on 17th-19th November at ZINC, Zain’s incubator space. Supported by UNICEF Jordan and Oasis500, three teams came to pitch for the track. The winner of the refugee track, ProFugees, a crowd-funding platform for refugees’ stories, won three months of weekly coaching and mentoring from Oasis500’s Chief Coach.

The weekend event brought together young software developers, designers and entrepreneurs, aged between 12 to 30, all from the region – migrants and refugees included.

Eva Kaplan Techfugees Refugee Event

In line with Techfugees’ events, the track aimed at developing local innovative & tech solutions for refugees.The challenge was to provide refugee kids with a voice, as explained by UNICEF Jordan’s Innovation specialist, Eva Kaplan:

“Anywhere in the world, when you pick up a newspaper, you will see a story about refugees.  Most of those stories will be negative. In addition, all over the world, government officials are making decisions that impact the lives of refugees.  The voices of refugees are rarely heard in these conversations.  They do not have the opportunity to tell their own stories, and they do not have the ability to provide their perspective on the issues that impact their lives. How can we use technology to amplify and elevate the voices of refugee children?  How can we make sure that those stories and perspectives are heard?”


The winning team, Profugees, led by Hassan Al-Nouri, presented a prototype of a crowd-funding platform for young refugees. Here is how it works: a young refugee can pitch their story to a content creator (video producer, writer, journalists) and these content producers will create a whole crowd-funding campaign online around the story – this will generate revenue for the refugee and for the content producer. This enables for stories of young refugees and dreams to be more visible and potentially financially supported.

Two other teams pitched projects beyond the initial topic of young refugees’ voices, and found creative ways to provide innovative shelter solutions and education opportunities to refugees.

Techfugees Amman REfugees smart tent

Refugee Smart Tent (R.S.T.) wants to make camp tents that are self-sustained with solar powered energy, insulated against flood and equipped with a smart beacon, that can alert the administrator of the camp about emergency issues.

Study First, is an app that provides online homework content, controlled by local teachers, in arabic – and at the same time shuts down all social media applications on the device – so the student cannot be distracted while studying.

Want to know more about Techfugees’ next event and how to get involved? Check our calendar of events – or simply your city’s Techfugees local chapter.

How Technology Can Empower Local Refugee Communities Webinar with Cities of Migration

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Techfugees joined Cities of Migration online on November 23 for a conversation with Alan Vernon, Project Lead, Connectivity for Refugees, UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency to unpack UNHRC’s latest report, Connecting Refugees: How Internet and Mobile Connectivity Can Improve Refugee Well-Being and Transform Humanitarian Action. 

The webinar discussed the critical role that information and communications technology plays in improving the lives of refugees from city to city.

From the lifeline of mobile connectivity to internet basics for e-registering health and other  services, ICT and online platforms are providing scalable tech solutions that facilitate refugee connection and inclusion and driving enduring social innovation offline.


The webinar started with Alan Vernon presenting UNHCR latest report on connectivity, followed by questions from Josephine, CEO of Techfugees, and a Q&A for the audience to contribute to a wider discussion.

About Alan Vernon, Project Lead, Connectivity for Refugees, UNHCR

Alan Vernon is currently the Project Lead for UNHCR’s new Connectivity for Refugees initiative. Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Vernon was the Deputy-Director of the Division of Information Systems and Telecommunications in UNHCR Headquarters, the UNHCR Representative in Malaysia, and the Director for Organizational Development and Management in UNHCR Headquarters. Mr. Vernon previously served as UNHCR Representative in Sri Lanka as well as field assignments in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Thailand.


Want to know more about Techfugees’ next event and how to get involved? Check our calendar of events – or simply your city’s Techfugees local chapter.

Photo credits: Yemeni refugee shows his son’s picture on a mobile phone. © UNHCR/Oualid Khelifi  – from UNHCR report.