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#RHoK4Peace Rallies Vancouver's Tech Talent to Tackle Global Issues

On November 28 and 29, dozens of local technology, communications and marketing professionals came together to donate their time to projects benefitting changemakers and peacebuilders around the world. Featuring projects from Libya, Jordan, Kenya, South Sudan and right here in Vancouver, our #RHoK4Peace hackathon was an unqualified success!

With sponsor Axiom Zen, and support from OpenDataBC, the HiVE and Affinity Bridge, PeaceGeeks provided an opportunity for Vancouverites to put their skills and expertise to use for the benefit of grassroots organizations across the globe.

Some of the weekend’s efforts built on previous projects with PeaceGeeks partners:

  • Increasing the effectiveness of an SMS-based system for reporting incidents of gender based violence in South Sudan. The app is currently being used by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO). The #RHoK4Peace team developed new ways of visualizing the data collected and proposed next steps for the organization to take in leveraging the data they receive.
  • Logo design and development of a new website for the Libyan Youth Movement, a youth-led and youth-focused social media and online-based initiative promoting the views and perspectives of Libyan youth to the global community.
  • Developing a secure system for documenting human rights violations to further the goals of National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K). The team focused on the group’s need for a digitally secure tool that will enable it to produce reports based on data collected and the ability to rapidly access records to support prosecution efforts.
  • Expanding the capabilities of Services Advisor, an app that helps connect refugees in Jordan with humanitarian services in their area. #RHoK4Peace team members worked to upgrade Service Advisor’s capabilities, with the goal of enabling refugees to provide feedback on the services they receive. Services Advisor was developed by PeaceGeeks in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Jordan; PeaceGeeks is now in discussion with organizations in Greece to implement the app’s use in that country as well.

The weekend also saw the launch of two new PeaceGeeks projects. An effort to combat the online messaging and recruiting efforts of the Islamic State (more properly referred to as Daesh) was launched. The team worked on identifying digital presences in the Middle East and North Africa that are producing effective, anti-Daesh messaging via analysis of Twitter hashtags and handles. With an aim of challenging Daesh’s targeting of youth, this project will strengthen the technological capacities of digitally active youth, civil society leaders and other advocates around the world who are best positioned to provide a legitimate response to the threat of Daesh.

The most local project of the weekend was Tea Time, an app developed based on feedback from recent refugees. Many know Vancouver as a ‘lonely or unfriendly city; the struggle to connect is even greater for recently arrived refugees, many of whom face language and culture barriers. Tea Time aims to tackle this issue by providing a platform where new arrivals and Vancouver locals can come together and interact in an easy, friendly way. The app is being developed for iOS, Android and the web, allowing access via smartphone and desktop. The web application is to ensure that newcomers, who may only have internet access via a public computer, can still engage on the platform. The app will be available in multiple languages in order to be accessible to a wide range of new arrivals.

The hackaton got some well-deserved media attention as well. We were featured on Global News, CBC's Early Edition and CKNW!

The #RHoK4Peace was produced in association with Random Hacks of Kindness with sponsorship from Granville Island Brewing and Fresh Bowl.

PeaceGeeks is very proud of the results of this weekend’s hackathon and plans to host several more in 2016. As a volunteer-based organization, we rely on sponsorship and donations to help fund our work. We’re currently in the midst of our #GiveItUp4Peace campaign, an effort to stand in solidarity with refugees who give up everything in the hopes of a better life. From now through December 13, donations to the campaign will be matched by The Black Family Foundation - meaning every dollar goes twice as far. Donations can be made on our campaign site, Your contributions help us develop tools like Services Advisor, host community events like the #RHoK4Peace hackathon and continue to support the work of grassroots peacebuilders and changemakers around the world!

Dec 1, 2015
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