Coding for a Better World

Coding for a Better World


Finding a way to direct the attention of young people towards solving problems around them isn’t an easy task. However, one group of teens attending a recent UNODC semantic hackathon had no problem identifying ways to address some of today’s biggest issues. In my country one of the crimes that appears the most or affects the community the most would probably be corruption. It’s not something that I’m proud to say but it’s something that I have to say. because it’s what’s happening. Human trafficking is a really big deal. And some people think it’s regular if they’ve just been in it through their whole life. There’s a person named Kendall that we found that as soon as she was born she got sold to a human trafficker and she got molested before she could even walk. Through her whole life she didn’t even know that it was a bad thing. One of hackathon teams that I was working with was researching about human trafficking around the world, and when he saw the numbers of the statistics, he took like five seconds and like, ‘Oh my gosh, I cannot believe that there are this many people and this many kids that are enslaved in today’s world.’ And you know they get this information and they have that knowledge which would help them be better human beings as they grow old. These issues are a priority for us at UNODC, and we have been mandated to support member states to educate young people about crime, justice, and the rule of law. One which UNODC is doing that is through a series of hackathons or coding challenges held throughout the world, where youth use their coding skills to create products that can address these issues. The winners from around the world have been flown in and will be hosted at Symantec for three full days for finalist hackathon events. The objective of this hackathon is basically to get young people to think about how they can promote positive change using technology. We are targeting this for younger generations We think that it’s best if we could capture their attention and raise awareness about the topics for them. One of the ways to do it Is by doing it in a way that they partake often which is usually games. These kids are brilliant. They’re amazing. They come in with a new zeal and excitement that you’ve never seen before. They’re very passionate about technology and just being able to create and so having this hackathon you really get to see their different takes on it their ideas and really meshing all of their ideas into one. It’s our first time here. Also in this place – it’s great and all. Being in Silicon Valley is in itself very very exciting for all of the teams. I think it’s an opportunity for them to realize that they can actually inspire other young people to think about these issues It’s like a learning platform that also helps us with creating and developing our own ideas with coding, but also we can give back. The process of the hackathons was a discovery for some of these young kids to realize how much they can do. While some of the participants had coded before others had no previous coding knowledge, but their passion to learn melded with their desire to have an effect on the world produced amazing results. Actually, we got to the first hackathon without knowing about programming but then we won because of our idea and then we started learning two months ago and now we’re here. I’ve learnt many things like how to make the app work way better and more efficient. In the end choosing the winning team was a close call. Both participants and the expert judges picked South Africa’s Wakanda Vibes to take home the prize for an app that allowed people to be more aware of and take action to report instances of human trafficking to authorities. This event is an event that will last through the experience of their life. I’m actually hoping that by doing this it could cause a chain reaction. We are helping other people and we are helping our society. They have a bright future. They are smart. They are brilliant and they are aware.

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