FOREWARN Bangladesh, in association with Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific, has launched the first-ever disaster hackathon in Bangladesh. The hackathon is committed to bringing innovation to humanitarian challenges, and the selected teams will now compete to develop the best solutions for early warning systems, communication in crises, resilient infrastructure, and other disaster-related problems.
The hackathon attracted over 100 teams from across public, private, and international universities. The top 8 teams were selected based on their innovative ideas and potential to make a real impact on disaster management in Bangladesh.
The hackathon is currently in its second stage, called the CULTIVATE stage. In this stage, the top 15 teams are collaborating with FOREWARN experts and Start Fund Bangladesh members to refine their solutions and make them more feasible.
The hackathon is a major milestone in the efforts to bring innovation to disaster management in Bangladesh. The innovative solutions that emerge from the hackathon have the potential to save lives and reduce the impact of disasters in the country.
Maruf Ahmed and Sharfaraj Khadem Rafi are a dynamic duo pursuing their M. Sc. in Humanitarian Engineering at Institute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. They share a passion for engineering solutions that transform lives and want to use their skills to help communities prepare for disasters. They are participating in the disaster hackathon to develop a solution that will warn communities in the north-eastern region of Bangladesh from pre-monsoon flash floods.
From Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Anonno and Nowma are from the Business & Technology Management department, while Tanmoy, Maman, Labiba, and Prianka are from the Software Engineering department. By joining the disaster hackathon, Team ReliefChain aims to generate life-saving solutions and make a tangible impact on global resilience. The goal of their "ReliefChain" app is to establish transparency and security in fund collection, facilitate equitable distribution of funds, and foster a sense of collaboration between donors and volunteers in humanitarian efforts.
Composed of graduates from Jahangirnagar University with a strong background in Statistics, team Analytical Avengers has the objective to create inventive solutions guided by data analysis in partnership with FOREWARN Bangladesh. The aim for their project is to develop a model that can predict rainfall during tropical cyclones early on to allocate resources faster and more efficiently. By interpreting data related to humanitarian crises, they believe they can provide valuable insights that aid in resource allocation, disaster response, and community resilience.
Team Conqueror advocates social media integration for disaster resilience in Bangladesh. Students of Pabna University of Science and Technology (PUST), they have diverse educational backgrounds ranging from Geography and Environment to Urban and Regional Planning. Through FOREWARN Disaster Hackathon 1.0, they're addressing the pressing challenges of disaster-prone regions. Their innovation centers on seamless social media integration for disaster resilience. The goal is to empower communities with real-time data, link them to local experts, and foster resilience in the digital age.
Team Optimizers consist of Sabbir Islam, Sohel Rana, Saifur Rahman, Abdur Rahman, Sadit Alom, Anika Tabassum and Moriam Islam Tonima, all from the Department of Geography and Environment from Pabna University of Science and Technology. Driven by a simple yet strong will to do something for disaster-stricken people, they are trying to build floating houses out of an interest in such work. They believe FOREWARN Disaster Hackathon 1.0 presented the opportunity to put their ideas into action.
Sharmin Akther, Ayesha Siddiqa, Nusrat Jahan Borna, Arafatujjahara Suma, and Nasir Uddin, all are current Masters students of Department of Statistics, Jahangirnagar University. A humanitarian perspective inspires them to make every physical and mental effort to save lives and give hope to people affected by disasters. Through their project, they want to help the concerned authority lessen the distress of the people of coastal regions. The goal is to improve cyclone risk index, anticipation, and cyclone risk management planning, to minimize damage in coastal areas.
Team Nirvik include Farabi and Trishun from the Institute of Remote Sensing and GIS, Sarafat and Faisal Hasan Geography & Environment, all from Jahangirnagar University, Sefat from Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology, and Shah Nawaz from Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Dhaka University. The primary goal of their project is to develop a groundbreaking web or mobile app that offers informative infographics on flood susceptibility and vulnerability. FOREWARN Disaster Hackathon 1.0 is a platform for them to use data analytics to enhance disaster resilience and mitigation.
Team Thunder is a multidisciplinary group consisting of Joy, Abid, Mehrish, Zijan, and Sumon, all from University of Rajshahi, and Naeem from Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology. They are working to automatically generate early warning alerts for heatwaves and build a heatshelter locator to alleviate the scorching impacts of heatwaves on communities, particularly on the vulnerable: children, elders, and the impoverished. The goals of this team is to mitigate the perils of extreme heat, instill awareness and equip people to conquer challenges autonomously.
As the teams move into the final round, they have exciting opportunities ahead of them:
- Attend a 3-day residential workshop in Dhaka to build their prototypes. This will give them a chance to work with experts and mentors to refine their ideas and develop working prototypes.
- Receive in-person mentorship from disaster and technical experts. This will provide them with valuable guidance and support as they work to bring their solutions to life.
- Interact with Start Network and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. This will give them a chance to learn from and collaborate with leading organizations in the field of disaster risk reduction and response.
- Scale up their projects with the support of FOREWARN and OMH. This will help them to reach more people and make a bigger impact with their solutions.
- Engage in cross-team activities to foster a collaborative spirit. This will give them a chance to learn from each other, share ideas, and build relationships.