First Social Innovation Hackthon Organised in Kurdistan Region

IZMIR — The first Social Innovation Hackathon in Erbil, Kurdistan Region, will take place on the 21st and 22nd of July, organised by Re:Coded, a humanitarian innovation non-profit organisation, the UN International Organisation for Migration  (IOM) said on Friday. 

According to a statement released by IOM, the Social Innovation Hackathon will bring together more than 50 local developers, designers, social entrepreneurs, humanitarians and community residents, in order to develop creative technology solutions that can address the specific challenges faced by refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The solutions will mainly focus on overcoming the existing barriers to education, and the difficulties of accessing the job market, the statement added. 

Hundreds of residents of the Qushtapa refugee camp are expected to participate in the event, together with students from the American University of Iraq based in Sulaymaniyah. All participants will have the opportunity to bring their expertise and collaborate on designing technology-oriented solutions that address the challenges associated with displacement. They will be divided into teams of varying skill sets, in order to "generate project ideas around the creation of learning opportunities, improving access to employment and enhancing social cohesion," IOM explained. The teams will also be provided with technical mentorship by Re:Coded staff members and experienced developers. 

The IOM is sponsoring the event, as part of the Social Cohesion and Innovation project in Iraq, adopted by the humanitarian agency. Since 2014, when the so-called Islamic State (IS) emerged in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes and become displaced. Despite the declared IS defeat, the humanitarian crisis in the country continues, with thousands of families still living in refugee camps around Iraq.