While a team of coders competed in a 48-hour hackathon to develop groundbreaking solutions to promote refugee inclusion, integration, and self-reliance; the Irish chapter of Techfugees was launched.

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Techfugees chapter in Ireland was launched at the Creative Minds hackathon that took place on 14-16 October at the Dublin City University (DCU) Ryan Academy in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and Intel. The event brought together 100 young innovators aged 18 to 25, representing more than 14 different countries.

Like many other Techfugees events, the hackathon was aimed at developing solutions to empower refugees with technology and promote refugee inclusion, integration and self-reliance. Supported by over 20 mentors including NGOs, Startup Grind and the Irish Refugee Council, the 48-hour hackathon resulted in three teams walking away with €15,000 to bring their prototypes to life.

Finalists

The winning projects were:

  • Health Path (@HealthPathIRL), a digital health platform to assist refugees to access health services in their native languages and integrate into the local healthcare system, led by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) student and Washington Ireland Program (WIP) alumna Valerie O’Brien;
  • Isle of Hope (@IsleOfHopeIRL), a program to promote inclusiveness by matching refugee and local families to build friendships and support systems, led by University College Dublin (UCD) graduate student Mark Duffy; and
  • Líonra (@LionraHq), a peer-to-peer platform that facilities refugee integration through skills exchange and knowledge sharing, led by Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow student Sinéad Ní Bhrolcháin.

Three other hacks that earned honorable mentions:

  • Most Disruptive: Identify Refugee(@IDentifyRefugee), a concept to use Blockchain digital identification to help refugees establish and verify their identity with service providers and host countries;
  • Beat Team Dynamic: Future Roots (@futurerootsIE), a project to improve nutrition of refugees and promote integration of refugees into the local community through greenhouse-based agricultural projects at direct provision centers; and
  • Best Pitch: Soul Roots (@SoulRoots_IE), a social enterprise that promotes community and empathy between refugees and host populations through food trucks.

Over the next three months, the winning teams will work with the DCU Ryan Academy and the recently-launched Ireland chapter of Techfugees to bring their prototypes to life.

Mentors and jury panel

UNICEF Ireland Youth Ambassadors Minahil Sarfraz and Natasha Maimba inspired hackathon participants by sharing their first-hand experiences in Ireland’s direct provision system and their remarkable achievements since receiving permanent status in Ireland, such as speaking before the 2016 UN General Assembly.  Daranee Petsod, President of San Francisco-based NGO Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) joined the event to share a U.S. perspective on refugee integration and serve as a hackathon mentor and judge. Nubi Kay, entrepreneur and Business Analyst at Accenture Ireland originally from Nigeria, served as the hackathon facilitator.

The judging panel consisted of Eoghan Stack, CEO of the DCU Ryan Academy; Lye Ogunsanya, Chapter Lead of Techfugees Ireland and Co-Founder of #HouseofAkina Social Enterprise; Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund-Ireland; Daranee Petsod, President of GCIR; and Aleisha Woodward, Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.

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Our local ambassador Lye Ogunsanya, a social entrepreneur and a migrant himself, said: “This hackathon has kick-started the launch of the Ireland chapter of Techfugees, a coalition of volunteers who are coordinating the tech industry response to the needs of refugees.  We look forward to partnering with the DCU Ryan Academy to help incubate the hackathon’s winning solutions into viable platforms for refugee inclusion, while leveraging the global Techfugee network.”

Learn more about the hackathon here.

About Techfugees Ireland