MENACatalyst launches Humanitarian Hackathon in Partnership with the ICRC
13, Nov 2021
Ramallah. Nov. 11, 2021 – In the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, MENACatalyst partnered with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to launch Palestine’s first-ever Humanitarian Hackathon. The event took place during Palestine’s annual Global Entrepreneurship Week and featured a host of committed stakeholders from across the public and private sectors.
In preparation for this intensive 3-day on-site event, MENACatalyst received over 180 applications from university students and fresh graduates, proving that young Palestinians are embracing the power of digital innovations to develop home-grown solutions to local and regional problems. During the event, participants created technology-driven solutions or creative social interventions that address some of the most pressing humanitarian challenges affecting thousands of Palestinians today. During the hackathon, participants teamed up and identify innovative solutions utilizing cutting-edge Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality technologies.
The event kicked-off with keynote speeches from H.E. Osama Saadawi, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Empowerment, and Roberto Petronio, Deputy Head of ICRC Mission Jerusalem. This was followed by an immersive orientation introducing participants to the critical humanitarian issues affecting Palestinians and how to apply innovative technologies to address them. Participants then teamed up and began work on their humanitarian hacks under the supervision of leading mentors. Breakout sessions were led by ICRC team of experts. Participants were then giving the space to begin the hackathon. To motivate participants, the event will conclude with a high-stakes competition which will have all teams present their projects to a panel of experts with the top three awarded high-tech prizes.
MENACatalyst also recruited 16 mentors and 5 speakers from across the globe to guide and inspire participants throughout the event. Joining the event are ICRC Support Team members: Fahed Wehbeh, ICRC Communications Officer - Nablus; Ashraf Daibes, ICRC Communications & Protection Officer - Ramallah; Bilal Al-Sharif, ICRC Communications Officer - Hebron; and representative from the Palestinian Red Crescent Abdulhalim Ja'afreh, Director of EMS in the West Bank.
MENACatalyst is dedicated to transforming the digital drought plaguing the MENA region by cultivating a new generation of youth empowered with the skills and networks of support needed to become the socially conscious innovators this region so desperately needs.