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Hack4Good: Social media to protect child migrants


How to protect children and young migrants along their route through the use of social media? was the theme chosen by Terre des hommes for Hack 4 Good, our very first Hackathon.

Coming from the contraction of “hack” and “marathon”, a hackathon is an event during which teams develop solutions to a given problem in a short period of time. From 13 to 15 April 2018,
13 participants from Syria, Cameroon, Iran and even from Sudan came together for a weekend in Geneva to develop innovative solutions during Open Geneva, an Open Innovation Festival of over 30 Hackathons. A team of four mentors with complementary profiles (design thinking, communication, protection and IT) was also present to support the teams during the ideation process.

“The unfailing motivation of the three teams and their remarkable engagement allowed for the emergence of various ideas that caught the attention of both Terre des hommes and Open Geneva” says Fleure Maricaux, coordinator for the Hackathon. During this weekend, three ideas were developed:

  1. Drawing Bridges, Crafting Common Stories: set up a virtual safe space for artistic expression (drawing, music, song, etc.) between schoolchildren from host communities and migrant children in order to develop empathy and a common narrative.
  2. MOVE! "You're in safe hands": develop an offline mobile application containing downloadable content such as maps, phrasebooks, legal information, and first aid guides to provide information to migrants as an alternative to smugglers’ services.
  3. Migrant 4 Migrant (M4M): create a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on human rights, children's rights, as well as gender equality aiming to promote the empowerment of young migrants and to appeal to influencers from the population of origin to disseminate content through social media.

All the teams distinguished themselves by their work and by the quality of their presentations. Although the choice was difficult to make, the judges selected the M4M team who, as suggested by the challenge, integrated a social media component to their idea. Next steps for the winning team include a market study, weekly sessions with Tdh and participation in a four-day Innovation Bootcamp in Budapest to further develop their idea.

The Drawing Bridges team was selected during the Hackathon by Open Geneva and pitched their idea in Geneva to a wide audience of local and international investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and academia, along with 7 other teams from the Festival.