Global Hackathon Targets Covid-19 Crisis

A global hackathon is uniting participants around the world to find and create solutions for the socio-economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus epidemic.

The brainchild of Accelerate Estonia, Garage48 and Guaana, more than 40 regional hacks have already taken place across 15 time zones, generating over 30 ideas, eight of which are already in use. The first hack took place in Estonia from 13 to 15 March, attracting more than 1,300 participants.

Estonia has a thriving tech scene. Despite having a population of just 1.3 million, the country has generated four Unicorns, including Skype. The Estonian government, nicknamed “e-Estonia,” is a pioneer of all things digital.

Teams in Estonia found various solutions to the crisis over 48 hours, for example, Zelos, a platform to connect vulnerable, at-risk people with volunteers via a call center and a dispatch app to combat isolation and loneliness.

One group designed a “Corona-tracker” which could offer real-time data to individuals and governments, enabling them to better monitor the situation. A project, Share Force One, was created to allow companies to exchange their workforce, to help those who need more employees and those that are struggling.

Another global hackathon will take place from 9 - 12 April and is looking for participants. Teams will develop ideas for urgent solutions to the current crisis, as well as working to build resilience post-pandemic.

Organizers are expecting over one million people to participate in the Global Hack. “It will be the biggest hackathon held, uniting humanity with purpose online at a time when we are being separated physically,” noted Thomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia, adding that almost half of the world is now under lockdown.

“This is a unique time when the whole world is fighting the same problem together. If we move fast, the Global Hack can relieve a lot of immediate pain people are suffering as well as offer sustained social and economic benefits.”

The hackathon has attracted global attention from the likes of Forbes, Silicon Republic, and GovInsider, as well as support from prominent figures. Prominent Silicon Valley techie Steve Jurvetson and the Head of TED Chris Anderson will mentor participants.

The hackathon encourages participants to base their ideas around the UN sustainability goals that cover future challenges. They can choose from arts and creativity, crisis response, economy, education, empowerment, environment, governance, health and wellness, media and entertainment, mental health, and work.

“The entire world is looking for solutions to the same looming problems at the same time, and if we move fast enough, the global hack could have a social and economic impact beyond our imagination,” reads the event page.

Teams from Georgia and around the world have already signed up to the Global Hack to put their minds towards tackling the crisis. Head to to take part yourself.

By Amy Jones

02 April 2020 21:28