To harvest technology, PSI Pakistan organized a 48 hour long virtual hackathon around family planning (FP)/birth spacing, focused on developing ideas and interventions for further implementation. A hackathon (also known as hack day or Hackfest), is a design sprit-like event in which domain experts compete to create prototypes that innovate on a theme or improve upon an existing situation. This hackathon was implemented through the National Incubation Center, Karachi (NICK) as implementing partners. The competition began at 6:00pm PKT on Friday, August 6, 2021, and adjourned at 8:00pm PKT on Sunday, August 8, 2021.
The aim of the competition was to empower people with a passion for impact and change in creating solutions to make family planning/birth spacing more accessible in Pakistan.
The competition gave a chance to all participants to take part in this hackathon regardless of their gender or age and were allowed to develop any solution as long as they address the challenge set. Whether it is creating an app, website, educational program, YouTube series, workshop or more, the underlining goal was to develop a solution that adequately addresses the given challenge sets. NICK, the implementing partners for the Make Space hackathon launched and advertised this hackathon on different social media platforms and carried out recruitment drives across major universities around Pakistan
PARTICIPANTS AND CHALLENGE SETS
Approximately 300 applications were received from all over Pakistan. After initial screening, 45 teams were short-listed to pitch their solutions in second round on one of the four following challenge sets:
Family Planning Awareness for Newlyweds, Counselling and Accessibility, Advocacy Negative and Positive Advocates, Male Engagement.
To improve participants’ understanding around Family Planning and problem areas, six different sessions were conducted virtually by key experts:
MENTORS AND JUDGES
The ideas ranged from developing an application focused on FP awareness, community engagement sessions to making pre-marital counselling compulsory for the couple. After the initial idea pitching phase, 14 teams were selected to present the final pitch and get assessed on the solution of the problem set. Each shortlisted team was assigned a key family planning expert and tech expert as mentor.
These mentors assisted teams in developing creative and context-specific solutions whereas the final intervention ideas presented by the teams were judged by a panel of judges comprising of specialists from FP sector, business, and tech experts.
All the judges scored each team on pre-decided evaluation criterions to determine the winning teams.
The top four winning teams selected by a panel of independent judges have been awarded a seed grant of PKR 575,000. The four winning teams were:
BRIDGE THE GAP PKR 300,000
BAITHAK PKR 150,00
THE EXPERT OUTREACH PKR 75,000
HONORABLE MENTION TEAM SPIRIT PKR 50,000
The first position holder team Bridge the Gap’s idea was 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.
The second position holder team Baithak’s idea was 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.
The third position holder team Expert Outreach’s idea was 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.
The fourth position holder team Spirit’s idea was to create YouTube short video series in an easy and understandable way. The videos will generate dialogue on the topic of family planning and birth spacing among the masses.