Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan

 

Baku, 28 June 2019 – Azerbaijan’s first ever Inclusivity Hackathon organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) kicked off today at the Yarat Contemporary Art Space in the capital Baku. The Inclusivity Hackathon was launched by the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Ms. Leyla Aliyeva.

Bringing together over a hundred people, the Hackathon aims to draw innovative digital solutions to support people with varying abilities and promote inclusivity rights. It marks the start of a series of planned events the UNDP will be organizing this year as part of the first Inclusivity National Campaign in Azerbaijan called UNLIMITED.  

The inaugural inclusivity initiative sparked widespread interest in the country and solicited over 70 applications from teams and individuals. After a careful review process, 16 teams were selected, each team made up of 4-5 people to participate in the 48-hour non-stop event. Tech-savvy enthusiasts will work in the next two days in a fast-paced team environment with the purpose to generate ideas and open source code solutions to tackle challenges facing people with disabilities (e.g. apps, websites, e-products) and develop workable prototypes to improve their lives.

Speaking at the opening of the UNLIMITED Inclusivity Hackathon, UNDP Resident Representative in Azerbaijan Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti said the Hackathon intends to “help Azerbaijan advance technological solutions to bolster inclusivity in a society where people of differing abilities work, study and co-create together - a society that sees ABILITY beyond DISABILITY”. Mr. Fracassetti was joined by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Ms. Leyla Aliyeva to start the countdown of the first Inclusivity Hackathon in Azerbaijan.

The Hackathon’s winning idea will receive a grant award of 5,000 Azerbaijani manat and access to professional mentorship guidance for a period of three months following the award to operationalise the prototype and develop a full-scale working solution.

The UNLIMITED Inclusivity Hackathon has secured some of Azerbaijan’s top technology pundits, social entrepreneurs, inclusivity experts, people with disabilities as well as civic activists –over 30 people all in all to serve as mentors of this inaugural project. A pool of the internationally acclaimed and high profile national jury members, prominent opinion leaders in innovation, inclusivity and technology is assigned to review individual team profiles and give their final verdict on the winning idea. The key premise of the Inclusivity Hackathon, Yarat –the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the 20th-21st century has been transformed into a modern tech-space ready to inspire teams to co-create and tackle social challenges.

More detailed information about the Inclusivity Hackathon is available on the UNDP’s official UNLIMITED page.

The Inclusivity Hackathon is the first initiative supported by UNDP’s newly announced Accelerator Lab in Azerbaijan. A ground-breaking network of 60 Accelerator Labs, worldwide, was established at UNDP to reimagine development for the 21st century and change the way UNDP tackles the world’s most burning issues: from poverty reduction to quality education, inclusivity, access to affordable healthcare, fight against climate action and protecting the planet, to name a few. Azerbaijan is one of these 60 Accelerator Labs globally and also one of six UNDP Accelerator Labs in the Europe and CIS region. Funded by the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, the Accelerator Labs will introduce new services, backed by evidence, practice and tested solutions to development challenges and will be part of the new offer from UNDP to the government.

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For media inquiries, please contact Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan – arzu.jafarli@undp.org

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