NetSquared Boston Promotes International Development Hackathon

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By Paula Cohen and Kat Friedrich, NetSquared Boston 

ID Hack was a 28-hour hackathon on Feb. 22-23 organized by Harvard Developers for Development and the MIT Global Poverty Initiative. It brought together talented hackers and NGOs from the greater Boston area to work on projects that will make an impact on international development. 

Many of the projects addressed gaps in healthcare access, delivery and information collection in critically underserved rural areas of South America, India and Africa. The project teams offered tools to expand web access, collect and aggregate data, and improve reporting. They also set up resource maps to facilitate information capture and collaboration between organizations.

The applications included smartphone tools to allow doctors to have clinical pathways to treat illnesses, track adverse events and access care plans for post-surgical patients; a maternal health and education platform; a global database of water resources; and many more ingenious solutions to pressing global problems.  

This first ID Hack was a part of the MIT Global Poverty Initiative's Poverty Action Week, which aimed to increase awareness and action about international inequalities through panels, discussions and other events. ID Hack put the "action" into the Poverty Action Week by creating an unique opportunity for individuals to make an impact.

On Friday evening, the event kicked off with 35 project pitches and six APIs addressed to a packed house of technologists, hackers, developers and team supporters. NGOs and other organizations working at the intersection of technology development and international development pitched problem statements.

Then, hackers worked with the NGOs to create solutions in an intensive 28-hour period, fueled by innovation and delicious food. After 20 hours of hard work, 13 teams presented their final projects Saturday afternoon.

NetSquared Boston helped to promote the event. One of our meetup members, Kevin Gleason, created video footage for a local community TV station. (We will post a blog entry with a link to this video later.)

Visit Hackerleague.org to see links to all the ID Hack projects and teams.