This story was initially published in the Ecuadorian media Ojo al Dato and later republished and edited by Global Voices. This is the link to the original story.
In Ecuador, a country heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, nongovernmental organizations planned a “hackathon” on April 28 and 29 to find solutions in the period that will come after COVID-19 has reached its peak.
In Latin America, Ecuador is the third country with the highest number of registered cases – at the time of writing, official figures indicated 24,934 infected cases and 900 deceased people. After weeks of a state of emergency and a curfew, the country entered a “new normal” as of May 4, when municipalities will be able to decide on the level of social mobility.
Iván Terceros, activist, developer and sociologist, explained to Ojo al Dato that “it is not being clearly seen what is going to happen the day after the crisis.” That is, when the contamination curve begins to “bend” and, then, another scenario is seen, for example, entering a period of intermittent quarantines. “It may be that those are the most critical moments (for society),” he says.
For this reason, Iván and colleagues from the “MediaLab” of the non-governmental organization CIESPAL, and in alliance with various organizations and business networks, carried out the Post-Crisis Hackathon. The initiative was inspired by similar calls that have occurred in various parts of the world such as Hack the Crisis or Coronavirus Hackathon.
Hackathons are collaborative spaces to find solutions to specific challenges and usually last between two days and a week. These initiatives can be called by individuals and social organizations of various kinds.
“At the moment the curve goes down (in Ecuador) you must think of solutions,” emphasizes Iván. For this reason, this Hackathon that took place between April 29 and 30, opened a range of 8 categories where solutions can be presented: environment, work and employment, daily life and social practices, cultural industries, education, health and well-being, economy and production and government and citizenship.
All people from any field of knowledge were able to participate. To date there have been more than 549 registered from different provinces of the country such as Pichincha, Guayas, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Azuay. There are different ‘challenges’, which are categories where participants can exchange ideas.
The most preferred challenges are economy and production, work and employment, environment and health and well-being. Before the start of the Hackathon, and due to the high demand, two more categories were added: communication and mobility (transport).
The Hackathon days were held online and there were 110 mentors who helped form teams among the participants for planning, problematizing, and presenting solutions, says Ivan.
The goal is that on April 30, “the best ideas can be supported in some way.”
Organizers know that while Ecuador will be with limited resources, organizers hope that the Government has enough initiative to listen to these proposals.