Design 2 Transform HackathonOver 80 volunteers met at the Nairobi innovation hub (iHUB) in March 2016 to participate in the second edition of an event dubbed “Design 2 Transform Hackathon.” The event involves a one-day challenge that brings together diverse individuals to create professional websites for community based organizations (CBOs) across Kenya.

CBOs are nonprofit, private or public outfits that represent a significant segment of the community. Each CBO is engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental or public safety needs.

The organizing principle of the event is that involving a diverse mix of individuals will generate richer outputs. Thus a background in software development and web design is not a pre-requisite.

“Anyone with whatever skill can come and be part of the change we all want to see,” says Nelson Kwaje, team leader of Design 2 Transform. “The person with the web design skills in the team will teach the rest of the members how to do it, practically, the accountant will help create the content, the photographer will advise on the photos…everybody can do something!”

At the event’s inaugural edition in January 2016, 45 volunteers worked together to successfully create six websites for six orphanages that previously did not have a presence in cyberspace.

According to organizers of the hackathon, the capability of a CBO to connect with donors and partners is severely limited when they lack an online presence. The organizers’ hope is that the websites created during the hackathon will address this issue. In addition, the websites serve to create platforms where the CBOs can broadcast their stories and projects to a greater audience.

The second edition of the event, much like the first, involved volunteers working in teams. Each team was assigned a CBO and was asked to deliver a website, social media pages, a logo, a business card, a letterhead and a banner.

For example, Kenya Deaf Agenda, which deals with disability stigma, and Karinde Child Love, which provides a home to Kenyan street children, are two of the 10 CBO’s that will soon have active websites designed during the second edition of Design 2 Transform Hackathon.

One of the key supporters of the second Design 2 Transform Hackathon was the Kenyan company LIVELUVO. Through its app, LIVELUVO has created a “Digital Village” that connects individuals and organizations with the services and information they seek. Though this network, businesses can reach new customers and individuals can gain access to potential employers.

Ryan Doyle, Head of Community Development at LIVELUVO says that the company was happy to support the hackathon due to the beautiful meeting of talent, community and enthusiasm that the event promotes. According to Doyle, a professional website amplifies an organization’s voice. He hailed the collaborative efforts of Design 2 Transform to empower the community.

Organizers of the Design 2 Transform Hackathon echo the sentiment that volunteers not only contribute to a good cause, but can also gain opportunities from the hackathon. Some such opportunities include training by professionals, interaction with web designers and business opportunities and partnerships.

June Samo

Sources: Design 2 Transform 1, Design 2 Transform 2, LUVO, My Luvo 1, My Luvo 2, NNLM, Shiku Ngigi
Photo: Flickr