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 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.
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.
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.