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UNESCOs CodeTheCurve - Hackathon

Updated on Apr 15, 2020 733 views
UNESCOs CodeTheCurve - Hackathon

What’s CodeTheCurve?

The UNESCO CodeTheCurve global virtual hackathon is designed to enable students, educators, teachers, and the research community to build tech skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and professional competencies with a lens on digital creativity and cooperation to mobilize the world.

CodeTheCurve aims to inspire youth with new skills in a virtual, immersive environment in collaboration with other students, experts, and mentors, while creating deployable solutions and digital prototypes prepared by citizen developers, data scientists, and innovators with youth at the center. The CodeTheCurve learning and hackathon journey will be practical, hands-on, and a ton of virtual fun.

Build your skills and help make a difference

Invite young developers, designers and data scientists to join the UNESCO global hackathon to come up with digital solutions to the global pandemic. Together, let's code new curves!

At least 1.5 billion young people are currently at home due to school closures relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred eighty-three countries have been disrupted. Students, parents, and communities continue to cope with social isolation, while exploring how to maintain normal relations and activities in a myriad of online learning content, collaboration tools, and social media platforms available for the world to consume. Those with no or little connectivity are further isolated. Human daily life conversations that once took place face-to-face have now moved virtual.

For students, parents, teachers, educators, and others, home confinement has brought the additional attention and need for an innovative learning paradigm, one centered on practical and real-world digital skills. This is a time that’s especially challenging for the 49% of the global population who lack access to broadband internet. For those who are online, the spread of misinformation and disinformation relating to COVID-19 complicates the situation even further by diminishing confidence in public health guidance by authorities, and has given rise to uncertainty or incorrect health behaviors.

Skills Required

Participating teams should have at least one developer and/or one person with basic data science skills. Programming skills can include Python, Java, HTML, and/or the ability to use App Inventor or Power Apps — along with the other technical skills that you individually bring to the team. And at least one member of the team must have basic Linux and Jupyter Notebook experience.

Thanks to the partners, participants will receive free access to IBM LinuxONE Community Cloud, which will provide participants with open access to an enterprise-grade Linux environment for your development needs — innovation powered by open source technology.


Call for Applications opens on April 6th and closes on April 15th, and the 40 selected teams for the hackathon will be announced on April 20th. Online learning will occur on April 22nd and 23rd, and virtual hackathon activities will on April 24th, 25th, and 26th, and winning teams will be announced on or about April 30th.

Who are the participants?

Anyone is invited to gather a crew of developers, data scientists, and friends from other fields (educators, teachers, and researchers), pull together a gender-inclusive group with no more than six participants, and make sure there’s at least one person under the age of 25 in your team (min. age 16). All teams must have at least one female and one male.

The collaborators from CodeTheCurve will select 40 teams to participate in the immersive learning and hackathon journey.

If a team does not get selected in the top 40, for many there will still be the opportunity to showcase their skills and perhaps get engaged in one of the 40 selected teams. More information on that will be shared later on.

To participate in a hackathon there are different profiles needed: the four Hs of a hackathon: It takes hackers (developers and data scientists), hustlers (program and project managers), hipsters (creative designers and marketers), and humanitarians (industry experts).

Challenge themes

CodeTheCurve includes three themes:

  • Access to learning
  • Information and data management
  • Present and future social and health issues in the post-pandemic

Please note that submissions must be at the idea stage and not already in-market.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Access to learning


    • Distance learning
    • Continued learning opportunities
  • Information and data management
    • Addressing disinformation and/or misinformation
    • Fact checking
    • Business services
    • Data monitoring and/or privacy
  • The present and the future — social and health issues
    • Addressing current and post-COVID-19 crises challenges
    • City, community, regional, academic institution-specific, and/or global infrastructure services
    • Information sharing (healthy behavior, digital skills, language barriers, etc.)
    • Safety and population

Contributions might include (but are not limited to) the following ideas/thought starters:

  • Contributing to fostering empathy and humanitarian behavior within your local community and the community of others
  • Combating the spread of misinformation and disinformation, and promoting digital literacy skills for fact-checking
  • Facilitating access to educational materials and support for teachers, students, parents, and communities
  • Innovating in the field of virtual learning with a lens on empowering your local community and the community of others in local languages that might not be represented online currently
  • Addressing relevant social issues, such as confinement (parenting, virtual activities, etc.)
  • Addressing local city-services and/or business needs
  • Addressing the need for the monitoring, analysis, and utility of relevant information, including adhering to protecting and securing sensitive data, while maintaining privacy requirements when collecting, storing, and/or transmitting sensitive data, including leveraging existing open data and data models
  • Anticipating future changes and needs following the COVID-19 pandemic

Training opportunities for participants

Selected CodeTheCurve teams can expect to land new technical and professional skills, including entrepreneurship and design thinking, media misinformation and disinformation, data analytics, Jupyter Notebook, LinuxONE Community Cloud platform, SAP Analytics, machine learning code patterns, artificial intelligence, ethics in AI, AI for social good, chatbot creation, data protection and privacy, and much more.

Submissions and Judging criteria

Submissions must be in the form of a 2-minute video, and will be rated based on standardized criteria by an expert panel of judges with a focus on the following:

  • Alignment with one of the three CodeTheCurve Themes
  • Problem statement
  • Solution description
  • Feasibility
  • Ability to make an impact
  • Audience demand

The 40 teams that are selected for the hackathon itself will be rated based on standardized criteria by an expert panel of judges, with a focus on the following:

  • Problem statement
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Target market/audience
  • Description of the solution
  • Alignment to the three challenges
  • Technical viability based on source code/technical documentation submitted
  • Pitch deck
  • Deployment strategy and feasibility
  • Business model

Winning teams

All teams that complete the final submission process will receive certificates of participation from the collaborators.

1st place winners from each theme will have 1 year of free access to LinuxONE Community Cloud and quarterly virtual meetups with thought leaders from IBM and/or its collaborators for a one-year period to advance projects further.

1st place winners in each theme will also receive unrestricted access to learning resources on the OpenSAP platform, SAP DKOM or SAPPHIRE attendance to pitch their solutions, and 3-months of business mentoring/coaching by SAP experts and execs.

For data scientists participating in the information and data management using Machine Learning on IBM Z track, the top team will also receive an extra jolt of enterprise-grade machine learning toolset access powered by IBM Z for six months to continue their amazing project, and be empowered to take it to the next level with monthly virtual mentorship meetups with global entrepreneurship and tech thought leaders.

CodeTheCurve is powered by UNESCO, IBM Z, SAP, TruChallenge, Angel Hack, iHackOnline, Internet Society, People Centered Internet, FOSSASIA, Global Accelerator Network, Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, Redds Capital, Village Capital, Queen City Fintech, and you!

Application Link

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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