Hacking Into Sustainable Development Goals: Ignite & Code for Pakistan Collaborate for Hackathon

On August 19-20 Ignite, formerly known as the National ICT R&D Fund – a VC Fund focused on fourth industrial wave tech and on ecosystem development initiatives to fulfill its mission of creating a knowledge economy in Pakistan, is all set to turn 150 people in and around the twin cities, into hackers during their inaugural hackathon, a 36-hour national event that is focused on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow and expand on the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were agreed by the governments in 2001. The SDGs for 2016-2030 as agreed upon include: to eliminate poverty in all its forms, end hunger, ensure good health and well being, ensure quality education, achieve gender equality, ensure availability of clean water and sanitation, access to affordable and clean energy, promote decent work and economic growth, build resilient infrastructure and promote inclusive sustainable industrialization, reduce inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, ensure responsible consumption and production, take urgent action to combat climate change, conserve life below water, protect and restore life on land, promote peaceful and inclusive societies, and global partnerships for the goals.

Speaking to IDG, Ali Iqbal, General Manager SEED at Ignite – National Technology Fund said

Ignite National Technology Fund is focused on promoting the usage of ICTs to solve real world problems. In this context, the SDG weekend 2017 is a key step towards solving the country’s problems and challenges like better healthcare, education for all, industrial growth through innovation and others. The event is targeting to address these challenges using innovative ideas, tools and technologies, and above all our talented human capital, as the SDG weekend 2017 will ignite civic innovation through participating innovators. We are very excited that we have received more than 400 applications from aspiring innovators interested to participate in our drive to meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to transforming the best ideas into reality by taking them to maturity level with the support of our partners including PTA, UNDP, World Bank, ITU, ISOC and others and keep the momentum going.

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The key focus of the two-day event is to generate workable ideas and solutions across different SDGs, and to solve real life problems through technology and innovation. The SDG hackathon will bring together different social innovators to come up with quality solutions for achieving SDGs and addressing greater challenges in a better and smarter way. The best ideas from the event will be matured by using the resources available at Ignite’s National Incubation Centers. In addition to this, prize money will be awarded to top three ideas.

Code for Pakistan has conducted numerous civic hackathons in major cities in Pakistan, and now is partnering with Ignite to co-organize the first hackathon around SDGs.

Asim Ghaffar, President Code for Pakistan, while speaking to IDG said:

“Our hackathons spark civic engagement, bring together software designers, developers, and community organizers to solve their communities’ needs, and show what’s possible using technology. Some ideas later get pre-accelerated by our civic innovation labs so they can be incubated elsewhere. As a takeaway, participants generally become more civic minded and continue to engage in various projects which are in civic in nature”.

Ignite National Technology Fund, Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication are organizing the event in partnership with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Code for Pakistan. IDG is the official Technology Media Partner for the event.

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Code for Pakistan is a non-profit organization that is building a non-partisan civic innovation ecosystem to improve quality of life across Pakistan. They believe that digital technology, when used correctly, can both improve governance and open new channels for citizens to more meaningfully engage in the public sphere and have a positive impact on their communities.

Image source: SDG Hackathon