27 teams, 8 problems, 36 hours

We have great memories from our first hackathon, held in December 2015. 120 coding enthusiasts- from undergraduate students to entrepreneurs, comprising a total of 27 teams, competed in the three-day marathon coding session to find new solutions for real social problems.

The competition matches talented programmers with causes that need technical help- from human rights to disaster management.

We had the opportunity recently to catch up with the five winning teams who worked tirelessly to come up with solutions to the most urgent national problems.

Here’s what they had to say about their experiences.

Team BUET Gamechangers

quotemarkWe took up the challenge of crowdsourcing information to improve city roads.

This was a kind of hackathon that we had not experienced before. We were already working on a project for a social cause, and we jumped at the opportunity because it was just the kind of work that we wanted to be involved in.

We received all the support we needed. We were given the user’s perspective, which is sometimes a challenge to understand as a developer.

The experience in the end is invaluable. We found that there is much to learn about handling pressure and working in a team. quotemark-end

Team Technolive

quotemarkWe had attended a lot of hackathons before but they were sometimes frustrating because of poor management and there were even times when winners didn’t get what they were promised.

BRACathon 2015 stood out from other hackathons. The 36 hours were well planned out. The environment was great and so was the energy!

Our challenge was to design an app for BRAC staff to manage their bKash transactions- from savings to handling cash-outs to transferring money. Winning the competition was a great addition for our company, Technolive. We showed our work to potential clients and received a lot of positive feedback. It was a wonderful start for our new company.

BRACathon is a great platform where you can showcase your skills as a coder and at the same time, have the opportunity to test your ideas with guidance from BRAC. quotemark-end

Team Reboot

quotemarkThe 36-hour hackathon was one of the best experiences we had. We had to develop a mobile application to prevent TB, a widespread health problem in our country. We knew that one of its most common causes is a lack of information, and we created our app to help change that.

The best part about it was the management and of course, the unlimited food and coffee that kept us energised. Having the opportunity to pilot our app was another awesome experience. We had all the information that we needed to complete the challenge. Our mentors were also very insightful.

Winning the hackathon gave us the confidence to keep coding. Various media outlets even decided to support us when they came to know about our work. quotemark-end

Team Amitie

quotemarkOur challenge was to develop an organisational knowledge sharing app for BRAC.

What really motivated us to take part was knowing that what we worked on would go on to have a social impact.

The experience was, like we expected, one of a kind. It was inspiring to say the least, to be able to compete and then getting the chance to see our codes put into action.

Winning BRACathon has put immense value in our personal lives and professional career. Our mobile application can substitute face-to-face training of BRAC’s massive staff body spread across Bangladesh. It will save a great deal of time and energy.

We recommend young coders to participate in this platform. Not only will it raise their confidence in their creations but they will also have the advantage of working for real social impact. quotemark-end

Team Miaki

quotemarkWe took up the challenge to design an online platform to connect the BRAC community.

BRACathon came with many perks. What stood out from the rest, we felt, was the additional offer from Facebook: winners will receive free tools worth USD 80,000. My friends and I knew we cannot miss this chance- we had to participate!

It was a real challenge- from competing in the hackathon to piloting with BRAC, but we were glad that we could finish everything within the specified time frame.

Winning this hackathon guarantees exposure to work in similar projects for similar organisations. If working for social change is what motivates you, then this is where you should start proving your skills. quotemark-end