, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – Two projects developed by Kenyan-based software developers designed to connect refugees and victims of war have been selected as finalists in the two-day developer session “Hackathon” organized by Refugees United and Ericsson on June 15 and16 in Nairobi.
The two winning projects will now be presented at Kakuma Refugee Camp on June 20 (Thursday) as part of the World Refugee Day celebrations.
Hackathon is an event where approximately 30 developers, programmers and designers join forces to solve a problem.
The two winning projects – one by ‘Team DKK’ (which enables volunteers to collect data offline and synchronizes it with an online server when connection is available) and the other, developed by ‘Team ACID’, an online web registration system called “Ref Unite Plus” that has finer details that makes it easier to locate a refugee.
At the two-day event, dedicated developers had a weekend to solve the challenge – how to connect refugee families separated by war, conflict and disaster – while the projects were judged by a special Ericsson and Refugees United panel.
“Family members lose track of each other mainly during war or famine and we must continue to invent technical solutions to put them back in touch,” Margaret Kositany, Director of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson Kenya office said.
Partnering since 2010, Ericsson and Refugees United seek to help separated families reconnect via mobile technology.
Ericsson supports a mobile and web platform that empowers refugees to take the search for long lost family members into their own hands.
“With more than 43 million forcibly displaced people of the world, there is an urgent need to reconnect families to their missing loved ones. Everyone has the right to know where their family is,” Richard Ngamita, Data Analyst Manager of Refugees United stated.
The Nairobi Hackathon was the last in a series of three hacks taking place in Cairo, Silicon Valley and Nairobi.
Refugees United and Ericsson will announce the three global winners via Google Hangout on World Refugee Day which is celebrated on June 20, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees.
The three winners from Cairo, Nairobi and Silicon Valley will be invited to test their prototypes in a refugee camp in late 2013.Over sixty developers signed up for the Hack for Good event in Kenya.