Cochabamba hackathon draws out the best in competitors

Members of the winning team work on their project "Alternative Communications Network" or "ACR".

For 41 consecutive hours, competitors developed technological solutions for disasters at the Cochabamba Hackathon for Disasters.

Almost 100 young developers, students, data analysts, and graphic designers competed to develop software and hardware. This software will aid in fighting fires, landslides, floods, accidents and other disasters.

The U.S. Embassy in Bolivia, Jala Foundation and the Bolivian American Center (CBA) organized the hackathon—intensive, sprint-like software and hardware development competition. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the voluntary Search and Rescue Team in Cochabamba (SAR-Cochabamba) joined the activity as partners.

SAR and UNICEF experts provided information on disaster prevention and consequence management.

The US Embassy awarded $ 3,500 to the winning team to optimize and launch its “R.A.C.” application in App Store and Google Play. RAC stands for Alternative Communication Network. Second place (Predator) and third place (Beehive) received electronic devices as prizes.

Academic Director of the Jala Foundation—pioneer in the training of software engineers—Pablo Azero stated that, “The objective of the event was to provide a space for the development of technological solutions to challenges in the responding/handling natural disasters.”

Technology serving the underprivileged

The United States commits to contributing to digital education, promoting access to information and digital tools to promote technological innovation in Bolivia.

Jala Foundation Director Pablo Azero added that, “the objectives are to disseminate applications for their use in different aspects of citizens’ lives, support the use of technology in underprivileged segments, and raise awareness.”

What is a Hackathon?

  • A hackathon is a timed software/hardware development competition.
  • Hackathons seek to develop solutions to specific needs.
  • Hackathons rescue the hacker spirit in its positive sense because it seeks to stimulate innovation, teamwork and learning.