Throughout 16 Days of Activism, UN Women reached out to the youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina, asking them to generate ideas for technology solutions that would help prevention of violence against women and girls.
At two ideation processes, Ideathons, young men and women suggested 17 ideas that included tech tools such as mobile apps, web platforms, interactive chats, QR technology, wearable gadgets and mobile games that would tackle this widespread problem. The 6 most potent ideas were chosen to be further developed at a 48-hour Hackathon under the guidance of IT and gender equality experts.
35 young women and men of various ages from different parts of the country arrived at the capital on 7 December, excited to contribute to the Hackathon with their skills and knowledge.
The very first day of the Hackathon, 17-year old Almedin Beganović from Tuzla raised his hand and said: “I wanted to participate in the Hackathon with my team because I’m a feminist and believe we should all be feminists working together to make our society a better place.” With this spirit and the idea which brought his team to Hackathon, they developed #TraceBrace – a prototype of a bracelet that allows the person wearing it to send his or her location to an emergency contact while in a crisis or threatening situation.
“Sretna zona” (Happy Zone), a team from Sarajevo high school, was led by Nialda Hasanhodžić, who previously participated in one of the coding camps organized by IT Girls initiative. Hasanhodžić inspired her classmates and their teacher and together they suggested a safety map of city zones that helps the user to make informed decisions about their movement based on the safety score of an area.
“We enjoyed learning and working at Hackathon. The cooperation with mentors and the other teams has further motivated us to focus more on IT solutions. This is an experience we would recommend to everyone,” said 18-year old Hasanhodžić.
Sara Lerota, Project Manager and StartUp Coach at SPARK Mostar, was one of the mentors at the Hackathon. “It was a great pleasure for me to be a part of the Hackathon and contribute to this wonderful initiative by mentoring the teams. Hackathons and events of this type support proactive people who would like to create change in their societies. This initiative made development of innovative IT solutions look fun, created excellent socializing and networking opportunities and introduced new ideas as potential solutions for the future,” said Lerota.
The other ideas included a quiz that familiarizes the user about various forms of violence and how to recognize the signs of abuse and where to seek help; an electronic matrix to report peer violence in high schools, a mobile application to support online counselling through real time chat and a web platform for reporting sexual harassment through social media.
The apps were judged based on impact, quality of the product, sustainability, and presentation. Although all ideas were highly competitive, “TraceBrace” and “Sretna zona” won the first prize.
The teams that won the first prize will receive support from UN Women to develop their ideas. The other teams expressed their wish to continue working on their solutions with mentorship from the IT sector.
The campaign which brought together people of various ages and backgrounds, who were all inspired by activism and altruism, proved that the youth, civil society and business sector can work together to generate new ideas and solution to combat violence against women and girls.