Women Economic Empowerment Hackathon
February 24-April 08, 2017Morocco and Tunisia

In March 2017, the World Bank will convene organizations across Tunisia and Morocco for the first Women Economic Empowerment Hackathon (EmpowerHer), seeking to identify creative ways to address the constraints that prevent the women in the regions to participate in the economy and access the labor force. This event will utilize the hackathon model, successfully used in countries around the world, to take an innovative approach to addressing this challenge by building technology solutions to assist women and organizations that work to support them in participating in the economy.

As part of the efforts to improve the economic and financial autonomy of Tunisian and Moroccan women, the World Bank launches an initiative to help empower the economic capacity of women from inner regions: EmpowerHer Hackathon.

This initiative targets women of inner regions who have the potential to work but face constraints. The objective is to put young people and technology at the service of these women to innovate and develop applications and technological solutions that would help to overcome the constraints that these women face. This concept is called "Hackathon" and is based on successful experiences of similar initiatives that the World Bank Group has undertaken in other countries around the world. This initiative does not represent a loan or a donation and does not promise jobs or funding neither to young developers nor to beneficiary women.

What is a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is a unique type of forum for collaborative problem solving that builds on the talents and initiative of people from different disciplines who volunteer to respond to issues affecting their countries in real time. A Hackathon is a process that begins with the commitment of technologists (coders / application developers) and experts around a specific challenge that can be tackled through technology. As a result, after weeks of teamwork, technologists and experts meet again for a two-day event during which they are able to build concrete software solutions, based on their previous design and joint work, solutions which can be implemented to solve critical problems. A hackathon uses minimal resources and maximum intellectual abilities to create solutions in response to interesting or pressing problems.

Who can participate?

  • The competition is open to all talented students between  18 and 35 years old, who are likely to take up the challenge, namely the economic and financial empowerment of women in the regions.
  • Participants must form a team of at least two (2) people.
  • Each team must have at least one web developer who is proficient in programming languages.
  • Each team must gather complementary skills, from computer training, business studies, communication, graphic design, or others in 24 hours.
  • Registration does not guarantee participation. There will be a pre-selection.
  • The contacted candidates must confirm their participation and attend  the validation, training and coaching workshops.
  • If not, they will be eliminated from the competition.
  • The organizers shall pay for the accomodation and travel expenses of candidates for all events planned outside their zone.
  • The deadline for registration is February 12,  2017 at midnight.

Why work as a team?

A successful Hackathon is more than just a weekend marathon for software development. To ensure maximum impact, Hackathon must be part of a broader commitment process with stakeholders and potential beneficiaries to jointly design, build and implement technological prototypes that can have an impact. The Hackathon itself is a rapid prototyping event where volunteers have limited time to develop prototype solutions for the challenges they face. In order to maximize the time allocated to developing effective solutions, and in order to ensure the inclusion of relevant stakeholders, and to create a prototype as complete as possible; it is essential that significant work has been done in advance to engage beneficiaries and subject matter experts, and develop robust statements of problems. This is why, after a first workshop during which the Hackathon model and the problem are presented, the participants will work as a team. Each team must decide what aspect of the problem presented to it is most in line with its interest and knowledge, and how this concrete challenge can be tackled through technology in a meaningful way.

For example, if the problem is a lack of women's access to training opportunities, an NGO working on training and mentoring poor women could enter into a partnership with 2-3 software developers in order to develop an application that enables poor women to access concrete training opportunities in their region by informing them of the content, frequency and cost of training. Working together, the team ensures that the prototype they build during the Hackathon weekend truly meets the needs of women in poor areas. But before the Hackathon event, the team will have worked together for a few weeks to refine the idea and ensure that it has all the information needed to perfectly develop it: the role of the NGO will be to clearly explain the problem and the constraints women face on the ground and to provide all the information technologists need to transform this idea into an application; The role of technologists will be to transform the idea into a software solution that women will want to use.

To what extent should the problem be concrete?

At the beginning of this process, participants in the EmpowerHer kick off workshop will be exposed to one or more of the constraints to the economic empowerment of women, such as "lack of access to information on training or Mentoring "or" lack of understanding of legal procedures to start a business ". These constraints are presented broadly so that each team can reflect on the aspect of the problem on which it would like to focus (the "challenge statement") and how it could be concretely tackled through technology. Each team will receive a template document to help them refine their challenge statement and ensure that they reflect on the critical content they need to develop a good prototype. At the end of this kick off workshop, each team is supposed to have a well-defined challenge statement outlining the challenge, how it can be tackled through technology, who are the target users of the technology solution, and how and when They would use it.

What happens next?

Throughout this process, the World Bank convenes potential sponsors from public and private sectors who can commit to ensuring the sustainability of the prototypes. During the Hackathon event, a competition will determine which prototypes have the most potential. The teams behind the winning prototypes will receive awards such as internships, mentoring or training to help them fully develop their prototype and test it with real users. Because these are local solutions that are designed and developed by local actors, they will only be truly sustainable if they are viable and people are willing to use them. The role of the World Bank is to facilitate the creation of an appropriate environment and to gather support for prototypes that will be adopted by local sponsors.

Examples of Hackathons:


  • Zone 1: Tunis, Nabeul, Zaghouan, Bizerte. The regional Hackathon will be held in Tunis
  • Zone 2: Jendouba, Beja, Kef, Siliana. The regional Hackathon will be held in Kef
  • Zone 3: Kairouan, Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa, Tozeur, Kasserine. The regional Hackathon will be held in Kairouan
  • Zone 4: Gabes, Medenine, Tataouine, Kebili. The regional Hackathon will be held in Kebili


Note: The organizers shall pay for the accommodation and travel expenses of pre-selected candidates for all events planned outside their zone.

Kick off Workshop:

  • March 11, 2017 in Kairouan. All pre-selected participants will meet in Kairouan for the kick off  of "EmpowerHer"

Regional Hackathons:

  • March 18-19, 2017: El kef
  • March 22-23, 2017: Kairouan
  • March 27-28, 2017: Kebili
  • March 31 April, 1st, 2017: Tunis (Elghazela Technological Pole)

Three (3) teams will be selected from each regional Hackathon to participate in the final Hackathon.

Final Hackathon:

  • April 7-8, 2017: Beja



  • North : Larache, Ksar Kbir, Tetouen, Chaouen
  • Center : Khenifra, Zaida, Aoufous, Tinghir
  • South: Goulemim, Sidi ifni, Bouzakarne, Taghajijt


Note: The organizers shall pay for the accommodation and travel expenses of pre-selected candidates for all events planned outside their zone.

Kick off Workshop:

  • February 24, 2017 in Rabat. All pre-selected participants will meet in Rabat for the kick off of "EmpowerHer".


  • March 18-19, 2017 in Rabat


For Tunisia.

For Morocco.

  • Launch workshops: 
  • : February 24, 2017 in Rabat
  • : March 11, 2017 in Kairouan
  • : More dates and info under the tabs "Tunisia" and "Morocco"