From one locally-led Hackathon to another

agenda November 26, 2020

You may have seen it come across: our Food Hackathon. As the innovation platform of Partos, The Spindle organised this Hackathon last October. This Hackathon seemed to have inspired one of the participants that much, that he started his own hackathon!

The Food Hackathon
A project that started with two so-called LinkingPins in Uganda; two people living in the regions of Lira and Jinja. The process started by identifying the support needs of smallholder farmers and existing support of Partos member organisations and by exploring ways to better connect support available in a locally-led way.
In several meetings prior to the actual hackathon, the two LinkingPins, together with 10 smallholder farmer groups in their regions, identified 5 key food issues. Two examples are soil degradation and the fact that most farmers grow cash-crops, meaning that there is little food for the farmer communities. 

Subsequently, different groups came together at the actual Hackathon day: the LinkingPins, the representatives of the 10 smallholder farmer groups, various digital experts deriving from the Digital 100 and other organisations such as Worth Internet Systems, representatives of the Partos member organisations active in these regions: Woord en Daad, Heiffer and Edukans, and two of the Most Inspiring Digital Innovation organisations 2020, namely Ifarm360 and Hydroponic Farms. All of them sharing their expertise and co-creating a way to connect farmers to each other and to support available in their regions. This has led to new collaborations that are still operating at this point and is led by the Linking persons in the two different regions. The group is looking for a way to set up a digital platform run by the smallholder farmer groups connecting the farmers to each other and to available support.

This hackathon, in which we searched for locally-led answers to food-related challenges, was perceived as a great success by the participants. To get a good impression, check out the aftermovie here (and don’t forgot to continue reading):


From Food Hackathon to Policy Hackathon
Since the different stakeholders got to share their experiences, each having a different point of view, the innovative design of a ‘hackathon’ creates equality between the different parties and a great level of inclusiveness. Jacob van der Duijn Schouten, working for Woord en Daad, one of the Partos members that was present during the Food Hackathon, got inspired by this approach. He saw an opportunity for the Civic Engagement Alliance (CEA), in which Woord en Daad is taking part, to co-create policy recommendations for national and international lobby activities, together with local coordinators. The Spindle is now assisting them with a ‘Policy Hackathon’, a two-day project together with local coordinators and partner organisations in Kenya, Benin, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

During this project, the representatives of these countries started with recommendations for their own national policy while joining various sessions. A closer look is taken at different parts of these recommendations, each representative sharing their knowledge and improving these recommendations. The first part of the Policy Hackathon has taken place on the 24th of November and focused on co-creating policy recommendations related to COVID-19 specifically. Different themes were discussed, like the effect of COVID on national food security, smallholder farmers, and civic space. The second part will take place on the 1st of December. Wishing you a fruitful Hackathon!

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