As shocking as it may sound to some, one of the biggest problems the world is facing at this point is that of violent extremism. Disrupting lives and creating disharmony – violent extremism feeds on vulnerable youth and manipulates them into taking the route against humanity.
While technology and social media have been connecting people across borders, communities and countries to connect, grow, and form allies for a better world, there are groups which have used and still use it for other purposes.
To overturn this and make the world a better place, Facebook and Youth Ki Awaaz came together and conceptualised the Digital Masala Challenge – a series of eight hackathons across the country which would use tech and non-tech solutions to solve the crisis.
In its fourth edition at Guwahati, the challenge saw six teams participate. These teams from the Cotton University, IIM Amritsar, Army Institute of Technology, Pune, Symbiosis College, Pune, Dibrugarh University, and Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Management and Technology.
The students brainstormed for two days to come up with solutions based on human rights education, online campaigns, debunking myths and fake news, and tech solutions to get aid for the vulnerable youth.
The pitch competition was judged by an all-women jury consisting of Kavitha Kuni Kannan, Public Policy Manager, Facebook India, Central Asia and South Asia, Hasina Kharbhih, Founder and MD, Impulse Social Enterprises, Shillong, Srutimala Duara, a renowned author, Sriparna Baruah, Head of Centre for Industrial Extension, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship.
The winners pitched for a tool that will generate filtered heat-maps to NGOs and stakeholders about locations where extremist online content is rising. This will help the stakeholders build a more focussed approach to help people in these areas.
They won Facebook ad credits and $5,000 to execute their idea.