World Health Organization, Tech Giants Launch COVID-19 Global Hackathon

The World Health Organization (WHO) and tech giants including Microsoft, Slack, Twitter, and WeChat are teaming up to help support a global hackathon meant to help improve outcomes for all parties affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The hackathon will start accepting submissions on March 26th at 9AM PST.

The scope of the #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon seems to be intentionally broad, with the Devpost page listing 6 potential fields of impact:

  • Health: Address and scale a range of health initiatives, including preventative/hygiene behaviors (especially for at-risk countries and populations), supporting frontline health workers, Scaling telemedicine, contact tracing/containment strategies, treatment and diagnosis development.
  • Vulnerable Populations: The set of problems facing the elderly and the immuno-compromised, such as access to meals and groceries, and supporting those who are losing jobs and income.
  • Businesses: The set of problems that businesses are facing to stay afloat, collaborate effectively, and move parts of their business online.
  • Community: Promoting connection to friends, family, and neighbors to combat social isolation and the digitizing of public services for local governments.
  • Education: Alternative learning environments and tools for students, teachers, and entire school systems.
  • Entertainment: Alternatives to traditional forms of entertainment that can keep the talent and audiences safe and healthy.

The announcement notes that developers shouldn't feel limited to these categories and encourages creativity. The hackathon is looking for resulting applications to be “production-ready”, providing the example of Developers are required to submit a video walkthrough of their solution along with the project.

Registration for the hackathon is open now and like previously mentioned, submissions will begin to be accepted on March 26th at 9 AM PST. The deadline for submissions is March 30th at 9 AM PST. Judges will then reach out to select candidates to provide feedback before selecting “Highlighted Projects” on April 3rd. Make sure to check out the full announcement for additional details. 

Be sure to read the next Coronavirus article: Developer Hackathons to Combat COVID-19