Hackers For Good Take on World Challenges

Earlier this month, thousands of “hackers for good” gathered in more than 19 different global locations—from Berlin to Nairobi, and Sydney to Sao Paulo—to participate in Random Hacks of Kindness #3. These teams are now off and running, working with NGO and government advisers to finish their applications for humanity.

In partnership with Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank, Google founded RHoK in 2009 to build and support a community creating open source technology for crisis response. At RHoK #3, the mandate was expanded to include climate change, and most recently it was
announced that the good hackers would also tackle future development challenges.

Of the more than 75 solutions submitted for judging at this year’s
global events, many are already on their way to making a difference around the world. The UN, in partnership with the Colombian government, is considering adopting the shelter management system developed at RHoK Bogota to aid the 3 million victims of winter flooding in South America. Of the nine hacks submitted for judging at RHoK Sao Paulo, two are already in use and two others may be further developed and incorporated into the restructuring of the National Weather Service. The winning application at RHoK Philadelphia, developed in response to a problem proposed by the World Bank Water group, is set for further development at the WaterHackathon, RHoK's first community-sponsored event, later this year.

At the RHoK Silicon Valley event at Google’s Mountain View campus, three winners were selected:

  • SMS Person Finder enables anyone with a phone to interact with Person Finder, a software application that Google built to help people connect with their loved ones following a disaster. The Google Crisis Response team is working with this group to integrate their application into future Google Person Finder deployments
  • Hey Cycle makes it easier for people to reuse and recycle items by setting up email alerts when free items that they’re looking for are entered on freecycle.org
  • FoodMovr connects people with excess food to others who need it through a simple live application
"We’re proud to be one of the founding partners and ongoing sponsors of Random Hacks of Kindness and look forward to seeing these application make a difference," announced Mimi Kravetz of Google.org Marketing in a cross-post June 20th 2011 in Google.org Blog. Stay tuned for future RHoK events, and follow the progress of the community at RHoK.org.


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