Dozens of young people gathered around their computers and mobile devices in Cali, Manizales and Barranquilla during the weekend of May 4-5 with one goal in mind: to develop applications to improve the way their cities work.
It was the “Co-Crea Colombia” Hackathon, organized by the World Bank. The event was attended by more than 200 developers in three cities, looking for solutions to their cities’ security, risk management, mobility and health problems.
In Barranquilla, for example, some participants focused on the problem of "arroyos", the dangerous streams of water that form in the streets when it rains. These "arroyos" endanger the property and lives of the cities’ inhabitants. One of the applications proposed was a mobile device warning system.
“I think this type of activity is spectacular because it promotes innovation, creativity, cooperation and citizen participation to help solve the city’s problems,” said María Isabel Mejía, Colombia’s Deputy Minister of Information Technologies and Systems, during the event in Barranquilla.
There were three winning groups in each city. The three cities will compete with one another and a winning team will be selected during an event to be held in Bogota at the end of June. The winner of this final competition will travel to London, UK, to visit the innovation hub and receive an orientation on how they can start their own business.
“The winning applications are actually very creative solutions to the day-to-day problems faced by the residents of each of the cities we visited,” explains Henry Forero, Senior ICT Specialist at the World Bank.