Volunteers Are Holding A Hackathon To Tackle Sexual Violence In Conflict

#EndSVCHack is producing some brilliant ideas.

1. This is a hackathon:

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“A gathering of people (with different skills from diverse backgrounds for a defined time) using technology to transform ideas into reality.”

2. At the hackathon, currently being held at London’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, you’ll find a very diverse group of people.

Alan White / BuzzFeed

Alan White / BuzzFeed


3. They range from coders, developers, diplomats, social entrepreneurs, experts on sexual violence in conflict, sexual violence survivors and NGO representatives.

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“People have come here from as far away as Morocco and Tanzania,” says Faeza Khan from Chayn, a digital volunteer network.

4. This all came about after the Dutch Embassy in the UK approached Chayn and MakeSense. Together they pitched the idea of a hackathon to the British Foreign Office.

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“It normally takes months to make something like this work,” says Hera Hussain from Chayn. “We’ve done it in four weeks, because we had so much amazing crowdsourced support from volunteers around the world.”

5. The participants have been working in start-up style teams to produce ideas like this. They’ll develop them into prototypes and present them to a judging panel on Thursday.

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The coloured stickers on this sheet of paper are used for “voting”: this was how the volunteers reached the final six schemes.

6. The other ideas are:

- A mapping system so that survivors of sexual violence can find out by SMS where there are shelters in their area.

- An unhackable database that will allow displaced victims of conflict and trafficking to find their families again.

- A game that will highlight how survivors of sexual violence suffer stigma within their communities.

- A centralised global sexual violence reporting system that will provide a comprehensive log around the world.

- A tool that will alert villages when militia are approaching.

7. “Many of the people who’ve contributed aren’t here now. They’ve put in hundreds of hours online,” says Khan.

Alan White / BuzzFeed

Alan White / BuzzFeed


8. The place is buzzing with enthusiasm.

9. And two visitors in particular were very impressed by the ideas.

Angelina Jolie and @williamjhague meet the #EndSVCHack team at the @end_svc Summit fringe

— SexualViolenceInWar (@end_svc)

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Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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