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A big social hackathon will be held in Brisbane to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges using tech


A big hackathon will tackle the refugee plight, crisis mapping for natural disasters, financial literacy and fundraising for Oxfam’s Trailwalkers as part of Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) on 26 and 27 November in Brisbane.

Hosted by Brisbane tech business NetEngine, the weekend will see more than 50 developers, programmers, business analysts, engineers, designers and project managers develop tech solutions for charities, not-for-profits and community groups to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

RHoK Brisbane is a not-for-profit local group part of a global movement of social hackers coding for good around the world. Twice a year, altruistic volunteers from the IT community come together to produce practical open-source solutions to problems affecting the world.

This year, hackers will come together to create solutions for the following changemakers:

  • Oxfam Trailwalker will turn to the hackers for ideas to increase registrations and fundraising;
  • Missing Maps Project hope to map the most vulnerable places in the world to enable NGOs and individuals to use maps and data to better respond to crisis affecting the areas;
  • Refugee charity MDA are hoping a tech platform can help connect refugees with mentors to support asylum seekers and improve their work and life prospects in the country;
  • Financial Basics Foundation would like to see a product to help young people better engage with their finance and develop better spending attitudes.

What is the motivation behind this hackathon?

NetEngine and Outfit founder Bruce Stronge, who brought RHoK to Brisbane for the first time in 2013, said he wanted to use technology to make a difference in the world.

“Technology can have an incredible impact on the world and RHoK is there to connect NFPs and great tech talent to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. It’s a chance to leverage our best tech skills for the better, help key organisations make a bigger impact and reduce inequalities,” Mr Stronge said.

“From crowd-sourced crisis mapping of disaster zones and remote communities to web applications helping with the diagnosis of those living with arthritis or osteoporosis, since getting involved in RHoK, the team at NetEngine has worked on projects that have helped change the lives of millions of people worldwide.

“The value of the work delivered from RHoK often runs into many thousands of dollars and would otherwise be out of reach for some of these charities and community groups.”

How did last year’s hackathon go?

One of last year’s changemakers was Spur Projects, who got help from Brisbane’s tech community to create #oldmate. CEO Lee Crockford said the project was to encourage 100,000 Australians to take a pledge to spend one hour per month with an old mate in their life to help reduce isolation and other factors that contribute to poor mental health and suicide amongst older men.

“We originally had an idea for an entirely different project, but through RHoK’s enquiry and feedback process, the final concept and platform was much more relevant, specific and powerful. It was our first taste of a hackathon and we can’t sing RHoK’s praises highly enough. The fantastic experience  lead to not only a great project, but lasting, meaningful connections, too,” Mr Crockford said.

This year, the hackathon will take place in NetEngine and Outfit’s brand new offices at 17 Cordelia St, South Brisbane. Hackers interested in taking part should register here. For more information, please visit rhokbrisbane.org.

The winning team will take home the glory, a couple of movie tickets and a warm and fuzzy feeling. “There’s no big cash prize, it’s not an ultra competitive hackathon, but a chance to get in the one room the brains and skills to tackle big problems,” Mr Stronge concludes.