UNICEF Ghana organises hackathon competition on SDGs

Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Oct 20, GNA –
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has organised a hackathon
competition to develop solutions that employ child-centred approach towards
finding solutions to problems around Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

A hackathon is a
design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in
software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project
managers, and others, often including subject-matter-experts, collaborate
intensively on software projects.

The initiative dubbed:
‘UNICEF Hackathon’, which is being run concurrently in Accra, Kumasi and
Tamale; provides a platform for young people with any technical skills like
website creation, graphic design, engineering and others, to create solutions
using technology.

It highlights on SDG 3
(Health and Welbeing), SDG 4 (Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Water
and Sanitation), SDG 8 (Descent work and Economic Growth), SDG 10 (Reduce inequalities)
and SDG 13 (Climate Change).

According to UNICEF,
by 2030 there would be two billion young women and men seeking opportunities
for a bright future throughout the world.

The UN agency believes
that with education, skills and empowerment, these young people would help
transform economies and nations; but a fast-changing global economy demands
increasingly specialise skills at a time when many education systems are

Speaking at the event,
Mrs Antoinette Gyan, Communication Officer in-charge of Brand and Youth
Engagement at UNICEF Ghana, recounted that ‘Generation Unlimited’ (GU), was
launched at the UN General Assembly in September, 2018.

She said GU was a
global partnership that aims to ensure that every young person was in
education, learning, getting skills and employed by 2030.

Mrs Gyan said UNICEF
realised that young people had lots of potentials and they could transform
nations and economies, but over the years the potentials of young people had
not been tapped.

She said UNICEF was therefore,
seeking partnerships with private sector, academia and all stakeholders to
ensure they tap the potentials of these young people.

She said the winners
of the hackathon would be featured in the upcoming African Youth SDG Summit
slated for November 7th to 9th, to showcase their ideas on effectively
delivering results for children.

Mrs Gyan said, she was
hopeful that young people would come up with solutions that UNICEF technical
team could work with to develop something that could transform the economy and
the world.

“We also hope that we
will find some innovative ideas from young people in Ghana, which they will
pitch to a jury during the Youth SDGs Summit”, she added.

Dr Gordon Kwesi
Adomdza, Founding-lead of Ashesi Design Lab, an innovation hub, described
UNICEF Hackathon 2018 as a preparation towards the African Youth SDG Summit.

He said at Ashesi
Design Lab their methodology was about design thinking, and therefore, helps
students, faculty and staff working on projects by providing a project
consulting role; helping them utilize design thinking for their research.

He said participants
would be taking through a structured design thinking process, and were expected
to have clarity on the SDGs they have chosen.

He said areas such as
education and climate change were broad so there was a need for participants to
move closer to specific areas of focus, adding that “we are also taking them
through research and analysis that will help them explore the areas a lot

Dr Adomdza, who is the
facilitator of the event said, he was hopeful that participants would not only
present interesting ideas but validated ones.

Mr Christian Bagoya, a
participant said, he chose SDG 4, because he believed education was the basic
for a society to develop, however, the education Africa needed had to go with
the pace at which technology was affecting the masses.

He underscored the
need to have a system of education that would inform people to think
critically, particularly in the area of job creation.

The African Youth SDGs
Summit is the largest gathering platform for youth from across the African
continent and beyond to discuss and assess the status of implementation of
continental commitments to the Global Goals but also sharing ideas, critiques,
results and challenge national governments to deliver on their promise.


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