Six months, seven hackathons – over 30 ideas on countering violent extremism. The eighth and the last edition of the Digital Masala Challenge brought in a lot of excitement and curiosity!
Organised in Kolkata by Facebook and Youth Ki Awaaz, the hackathon saw the coming together of six amazing teams. Their diverse profiles ranged from peace-educators, think-tank researchers, social development professionals, a museum curator to film-makers, students, engineers, content creators, campaigners and budding entrepreneurs.
Over the course of two days, the teams identified the overlap between their areas of work and advocacy – and how they can address the larger issue of extremism. From designing campaigns to coding to creating content and technology – it was interesting to see how, as individuals and communities, we can together solve some of the greatest issues and problems.
On day two, at the final-pitch competition, we had a power-packed jury panel featuring: Samit Patil (Director, Centre for Security, The Gateway House), Archana Kapoor (film-maker, journalist, founder of SMART NGO, launched CR Station – Radio Mewat and is the India head of IAWRT) and Subir Bhaumik (veteran journalist and BBC’s former bureau chief for east and northeast India).
The winning idea? Themed around ‘cleaning the web’, Team Techsols (from the NSS College of Engineering, Kerala) created Tarak. Tarak is a web-browser with an incentive mechanism that rewards users who report violent extremist content. Using blockchain technology to rally a community of fact-checkers, besides using an AI to scrape the internet for extremist content and getting it reported, their solution would help clean the internet, effectually. With the cash prize of US$5000, Team Techsols will build Tarak in the next six months, and get it ready for its implementation in the world.
We couldn’t have ended the year on a better note – with a room full of ideas and passionate people striving to create a peaceful world. Having hosted eight such hackathons in cities across India, and with such amazing solutions emerging from each hackathon, we can’t wait to see how these ideas will shape up in 2018.