#EmpowerHack – Why It’s Our Dream Hackathon

 In Blog, Chayn news, Events, Humanitarian, Refugee & Migrant rights

#EmpowerHack (28-29 November, London) for refugee women and girls was born out of sheer necessity. Female refugees are among the most vulnerable — often facing sexual violence, coercion, forced and early marriage, lack of access to gender-specific health care and education as well as social isolation along their journey. Our aim is to educate and drive change to address the specific challenges faced by women and girls in refugee camps, conflict zones, and settled areas.


Visibility creates change. #EmpowerHack is focusing on refugee women and girls because the issues they are currently facing can go missed or unaddressed by more broad hackathons and aid initiatives. From issues of integration, capital (both financial and social), and access to education and employment opportunities, the #EmpowerHack community recognises that while we start with issues for refugees, we share these challenges as a community.


#EmpowerHack is not just about technology; it’s also about the human experience. Our community, commonalities and perspective that bridges the refugee experience to women in STEM. #EmpowerHack addresses complex issues through concrete design challenges to create practical ways to touch upon larger issues that affect all of us.


Here’s what to expect at #Empowerhack:


Design Challenges: We create an environment for better design through better connection to the hidden issues — so we’re insight and user led, not just technology-led in our approach. At #EmpowerHack, we will present participants with 3 key design challenges to support women and girl refugees, focused on addressing gender-based violence, health, and education to employment.


Practical Support: We enable our teams to create more than just prototypes and blue sky ideas. Team will receive a robust pre-hack research pack to inform and inspire insights for change. To do that, our team is building relationships with NGOs and refugees before and after the hack to partner attendee teams with NGOs and insight leaders in the field where possible and supporting the long chain of development post-hack. While hackathons focus on agility, sustainable change means relationships at a human level.


Inclusive Culture: A part of our mission is to create a more inclusive and open design culture. We focus on not only a really vibrant hackathon, but sharing a design culture that listens better to the world and the women and girls we are designing with and for to understand how our concepts actually work in the real world. Unlocking diverse perspectives helps all of us step outside of our comfort zones to create community and change in adversity.


Building inclusive culture not only concepts is at the center of #EmpowerHack. If we want to design for change, we need to change the way we create and partner — that means taking responsibility and time to embed sustainable change into our design process. From insights to partnerships, we are helping our EmpowerHack community to reflect more, listen more deeply and design better by focusing on three main principles:


  • Design for practicality
  • Design for partnership
  • Design for sustainability


It means not only recognising our desire to contribute, but also the humility of where we need support. This isn’t about starting something entirely new, but building bridges to great work and people out there. In our team, we have such a range of talents and experiences — and intentionally built our team to include the audience we are designing for, so they’re helping to lead change from the inside out. The tech we build that empowers refugee women and girls empowers us all. This is #EmpowerHack.


Applications still open to join #EmpowerHack until all available places have been filled. Apply here: http://empowerhack.com/


Follow the LiveStream on 28–29 November: empowerhack.com / Twitter #EmpowerHack


Spread the word! Contact: empowerhack@gmail.com


#EmpowerHack is supported by Techfugees, CHAYN, Amnesty International, NWSPK House, Automattic, Bristlr, Toptal, 108 Wellness and Newcastle Open Lab.

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