The 22nd till the 24th of April Techfugees Amsterdam-Eindhoven united with Empowerhack and Hack Your Future for a health and education hackathon in Amsterdam at CREA Amsterdam  with an emphasis on the wellbeing of refugee women and girls. Indeed, refugee women and girls represent over half of the refugee population in the world and face specific risks.

For Techfugees this was the first hackathon in the Netherlands.

After previously being involved in Techfugees Italy and several contacts with Techfugees NYC and Turkey, OuiShare connector and Techfugees representative Amanda Jansen collaborated with Techfugees, Empowerhack and the local communities involved to make this happen.

Several hacker communities contributed to the event amongst which Yama Saraj, local connector for the Madlab community in Eindhoven, Vesna Manojlovic representing the Hacking Feminism community in Amsterdam with a strong sense of open source collaboration. Other communities in the world are involved in thinking along and are helping the acceleration strategy after the hackathon: CollabCamp in Paris representing the P2P-community, and via Anna Blume the Impact Journey, Living Bridges Planet and several hacker groups were involved.

Yama Saraj:

“Almost everybody present acknowledged that there are many initiatives for refugees. The question that arose was how to gain economies of scale and scope out of these many initiatives? Han from Empowerhack suggested to organize hackathons on hackathons. This idea is very appealing, because not only we build upon existing initiatives with all the cross pollinations and all, but it triggers also knowledge transfer between organizations and hack spaces. Lets coin the name hackception, from hackathon and inception :)”

Two design challenges were met during the hackathon: the Jamiya-project for education at distance, reuniting Syrian refugees with their fellow students and professors, and a request of Medicins Sans Frontieres for a better communication tool for field workers offering intimacy and privacy for refugees in need of care, but creating openness on what’s needed in the field. During the event several coding refugees or former refugees were involved from Syria and Afghanistan. This gave great focus on the privacy issues and protection needed as well as a clear angle for creating information channels that work.

Outcome of the project was a mock-up and wireframe for an accessible app for sharing concepts, finding your way in a new country and sharing discoveries with fellow students for the Jamiya-project. Difficulty for this project was the language gap and the need to translate difficult concepts that are studied and need to be clarified. Also ways of getting to know new words and learning language in a second language were discussed as well as translation and collaborative learning strategies were involved.

For MSF, a design was made for a mobile app on the phone of fieldworkers with information on health issues for refugees in several languages. The phone can be handed over from the field worker towards the refugee. In this way the privacy of the refugee is guaranteed. Graphic symbols on the most urgent issues of information were developed as well.

Both projects will be taken into the acceleration programs of Empowerhack and Techfugees from here. For Jamiya a workshop will also be held at OuiShare Fest in Paris next month.

Pictures of the event and even more.

Hackpad to the event and challenges.