PSI Pakistan x NIC Karachi Host Pakistan’s First Hackathon on Family Planning

PSI Pakistan x NIC Karachi Host Pakistan’s First Hackathon on Family Planning

The Make Space Hackathon is a collaboration between Population Services International (PSI) Pakistan & National Incubation Center, Karachi. The 48-hour long virtual hackathon took place on Aug 6-8, 2021 and was centered on family planning (FP)/birth spacing. The aim of the hackathon was to engage entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and change-makers in creating solutions and campaigns for four challenge sets centered on Family Planning/Birth Spacing.

Family planning has become a National Emergency and a firm commitment to strong family planning and reproductive health in Pakistan could not only improve the health of the people, but contribute to a wide range of transformational development opportunities, including reduction of poverty and conservation of natural resources. Each participating individual/team was to pick one challenge set to work on and come up with sustainable and unique solutions. This included:

  1. Family Planning Awareness for Newlyweds
  2. Counseling and Accessibility
  3. Advocacy – Negative and Positive Advocates
  4. Male Engagement

The winner is to receive a cash prize of 525,000. All the solutions created were subjected to review by the PSI and NICK teams. Winning teams for the Hackathon are:

  1. Bridge the Gap – PKR 300,000/=
  2. Baithak – PKR 150,000/=
  3. Expert Outreach – PKR 75,000/=

Bridge The Gap’s idea is to launch an authentic, free, and user-friendly mobile application that consists of information on contraceptive methods for both men and women, geo-fencing of free clinics pinned in clinics section, tele-health phone numbers incorporation, and a manual on Life Skills Based Education.

Baithak’s idea is to develop and disseminate content to change the behavior of the masses regarding birth spacing and family planning using three powerful technologies; Ed-tech, Audible knowledge, and broadcasting it via digital and social media.

Expert Outreach’s idea is to build the capacity of the mothers who in turn will be educating the youth of the nation thus develop a self-sustaining, behavioral change communication campaign.

Apart from the top three winning teams, the judging panel came across another team, Team Spirit, who had some amazing ideas but did not win the competition, therefore the team was presented with the ‘Honorable Mention’. As a reward the team won a consolation prize of PKR 50,000/=.

The 3 days of intense planning, creating and pitching by the team of Make Space, started from 6th of August. The Hackathon had 20+ mentors available to guide the participating teams over the last few days, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches and ideas. IDG Pakistan was one of the partners for the Hackathon.

The competition gave a chance to all participants regardless of their age or gender and to any and all sorts of solutions as long as they cater to the chosen challenge set. Whether it is creating an app, website, educational program, YouTube series, workshop or more, the underlining goal should be that the solution adequately addresses the given challenge sets.

Through various workshops and information sessions, the host team shed light on overpopulation which is one of the reasons Pakistan is struggling to grow economically relative to its neighbours, its consequences and how the challenges may be faced. All pre-event session videos are available on the NIC Karachi Facebook Page.