Breaking Barriers: V-Lab HostsVanuatu’s First Ever Hackathon toPromote Gender Equality Technology

Written By: Emma Hivo – Communications Specialist at V-Lab

The V-Lab hackathon event that was recently held in Vanuatu was a momentous occasion that celebrated
the power of innovation and technology in promoting gender equality. The event coincided with the United Nations’ World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21st, and perfectly aligned with the theme of our hackathon.

The overall theme for this year’s hackathon is: Innovation and technology for gender equality.

The objective of the hackathon was to bring together teams from different organizations, institutions, and
companies to form teams and develop innovative solutions to address key challenges related to gender equality in Vanuatu. The chosen issues that were tackled in this hackathon included; improving access to education and job opportunities for women, addressing women’s insecurity in transport and public spaces, providing health care and reproductive health services, addressing domestic violence and ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership.

The event had two parts – the first part was the hackathon itself, where teams came together to research and design their solutions. Each team had access to resources such as computers, topic experts to help them understand their chosen issue / theme and they were also provided with mentors from different backgrounds, including engineering, tech, IT, business, project management, and finance. The mentors provided invaluable support and guidance to the teams throughout the event.

The second part of the event was the pitching event, where each team presented their solutions in front of a jury and competed for the title of “Hackathon Champion.” The judging criteria for the event centred around the level of innovation of the solution, use of new technologies, impact of the solution to achieve gender equality, quality of the presentation, and achievability of the solution in terms of financial viability, sustainability, and adaptability to the local context.

The jury for the event comprised of women who are recognized for their contributions and efforts towards improving gender equality in Vanuatu. These included Julia King, Honorable member of Parliament and co-owner of The Kava House Vanuatu; Shanna Ligo, Programming Director for
World Vision Vanuatu in the ending violence portfolio; Mary Hays, Country Director for the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Jane Joshua, Editor of the Daily Post.

The event was a resounding success, thanks to the support of its many partners, including Titan FX Vanuatu, Engineers without Borders Australia, Yumiwork. vanuatu, and the IDEA Association. The topic experts, coaches, and mentors also deserve recognition for their invaluable support in making the event a success.

The benefits of the hackathon event are expected to be far-reaching. The entire country, and especially the women of Vanuatu, are expected to benefit from the innovative solutions that were developed during the event. Gender equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5), and this event aimed to contribute towards achieving this goal by promoting and strengthening gender equality in Vanuatu through innovation and technology.

The hackathon event also emphasized the importance of creativity and innovation in the development of
Vanuatu. Innovation and creativity are the cornerstone of development, as emphasized in the country’s
Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) under SDG 9, where it encourages countries to foster innovation. By encouraging people to think creatively and outside the box, the event aimed to have positive consequences for the overall development of the country.

The success of the hackathon event held this week is a testament to the power of innovation and technology in addressing real-life challenges, such as gender inequality. It provided a platform
for diverse teams to come together and develop sustainable and effective solutions to pressing issues. We hope this event will raise awareness among authorities and inspire the creation of more spaces like this where innovation and creativity can be fostered to drive sustainable development.

One of the key takeaways from the event is the crucial role of technology in promoting gender equality. By harnessing the power of technology, we can develop innovative solutions that address gender inequality in areas such as education, health, and employment. These solutions can help to level the playing field for women and provide them with equal opportunities to succeed.

Moreover, the hackathon highlighted the need for collaboration and partnership between different organizations and institutions. The participation of teams from various backgrounds and sectors enabled the sharing of ideas and knowledge that resulted in the development of more comprehensive and effective solutions.

The success of this event can also be attributed to the dedication and hard work of its participants, coaches, mentors, judges, and partners. Their commitment to the cause of promoting gender equality in Vanuatu is truly inspiring and should serve as an example for others to follow.

We look forward to the implementation of these solutions and the positive impact they will have on the lives of women in Vanuatu.