The issues coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic are multi-faceted. Every area of our lives has been or will be affected in some way by this global crisis. Though many nations are dealing with the same issues, each country has its unique challenges to focus on right now. To understand the problems facing the people of the West African nation of Togo, the Togolese government recently launched a hackathon to address the many economic, health, and social challenges arising in its country due to the coronavirus.

Launching an online hackathon

The nationwide hackathon called #TousContreCorona (#AllAgainstCorona) was created to empower the people of Togo not only to share what issues are impacting the population right now, but also to harness the collective intelligence of the Togolese people to find solutions to these problems.

At the center of this citizen's initiative are two women, Carina Lange, Advisor at the Vocational Training and Youth Employment Program of the German development corporation implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and independent Project Management Consultant Lisa Gehere. Lange and Gehere realized that in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to react quickly to solve issues that can have short-, medium-, and long-term effects. Togo hasn't been affected as severely as other countries (77 confirmed cases and three deaths as of April 13th, 2020) – yet, this is even more reason to mobilize the minds of its citizens now.

HYPE Innovation is supporting the initiative with our hackathon platform, which enabled the Togolese citizens to contribute and collaborate on ideas via mobile and desktop devices. The platform also provides the team with an easy way to evaluate those ideas and share them with investors.

platform-HYPE-togo-hackathon A screen capture from the hackathon platform.

The initiative, which will take place over 2.5 months, started with the hackathon to identify solutions to challenges within the areas of health, education, culture, economy, food, and mutual aid. The team behind this initiative wanted at least 2,000 people to participate, bringing a diverse set of skills and experiences to the table. Hackathon participants were able to discuss ideas in the platform, collaborating to come up with concrete and feasible projects to implement at the end of the initiative.

Mentors were made available to help moderate, guide idea comments, and spur conversations to ensure ideas become projects in the end. Once the hackathon was over, a jury then evaluated the online submissions and selected the projects to include in an upcoming showcase for investors.

The Government of Togo supports this project, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Posts, Digital Economy and Technological Innovations. The project also benefits from the help of the German Development Cooperation implemented by the GIZ, which supports the project on a technical level (network, best practices, and human resources). All these structures are critical in making this initiative a success, giving it a truly global scope.

Follow the progress and results

HYPE Innovation will share regular updates on the progress of the initiative so you can follow its evolution from ideas submitted to projects funded.

If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can launch an online hackathon, please contact us here.

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Michel Meisterjahn

Michel Meisterjahn

Michel is Director of Marketing at HYPE. He started his career as part of the professional services team at HYPE, where he developed a deep understanding of the numerous different challenges our custo