MENACatalyst’s GEW Humanitarian Hackathon Competition in Partnership with the ICRC

15, Nov 2021
MENACatalyst’s GEW Humanitarian Hackathon Competition in Partnership with the ICRC

Ramallah. Nov. 13, 2021 – In partnership with the ICRC, MENACatalyst concluded Palestine’s first-ever 3-day intensive onsite Humanitarian Hackathon which took place during this year’s GEW. With over 180 applications received, only 45 of the most competitive applicants were selected to join the highly anticipated event.


The Humanitarian Hackathon culminated in a high-stakes competition in which the top three teams  out of ten were awarded high-tech prizes. Teams were required to develop innovative digital solutions that addressed one of the hackathon’s priority theme areas, including medical services in conflict, support services in marginalized communities, and communication and information as aid. Delivering keynote speeches to open the event were delegates from MENACatalyst and the ICRC.


On the jury panel were regional and global industry experts with vast sector-specific experience, these were Carol Najarian – ICRC Legal Advisor for Jerusalem and the West Bank; Mohanad Hijawi – CEO of Spark and IT Consultant and Solutions Expert; and Nadia Sabaaneh – Founder and CEO of FINOMENA, and Social & Entrepreneurship Expert. 


Not only did participants learn how to work in teams to develop innovative solutions, but how to utilize research to identify the challenges faced by their communities and how to address them. Winning teams were awarded high-tech prizes and will receive continued support and mentorship from MENACatalyst and the ICRC towards further developing their innovative humanitarian solutions.


For participants the event provided their first entry-point into the fast-paced world of professional digital programming. Ultimately, the most important takeaway from the 3-day Humanitarian Hackathon was the invaluable experience working on real-world digital solutions that address the dire humanitarian needs of Palestinians today. Exposure, mentorship, and long-term connections were also important aspects of the hackathon, providing an entry point for participants to integrate into the Palestinian entrepreneurial ecosystem and learn what it takes to succeed in this ever-evolving arena of innovation, collaboration, and impact.