The Future is Equal – Modern Technologies for Social Change

19 December 2019

“I think it is necessary to apply innovative methods, and to find a digital solution for improving the situation of girls and women in a country with very unfavourable rates of early marriages and gender-biased sex selection”. Says Atina Bregvadze, an activist. Atina is one of those 50 youth who decided to participate in the hackathon The Future Is Equal. 

A three-day hackathon The Future is Equal gathered activists, ICT specialists and graphic designers around the important issues such as: gender equality, harmful practices (child/early marriage, gender-biased sex selection) and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. For two days, the participants had an opportunity to work on innovative digital solutions under the mentorship of experienced professionals, and to make their contribution in the elimination of harmful practices caused by gender inequality.

Photo credit: UNFPA Georgia/Gela Bedianashvili

Limited time and unlimited opportunities turned out to be a perfect precondition for generating ideas and creating innovative products. Diversity of ages, professions and ethnicities made the working process more interesting, which created high expectations for the event organizers and judges from the very beginning. 

“Hackathon “The Future Is Equal” stands out of all the other hackathons. Participant’s age ranged from schoolchildren to elderly people; In terms of professional diversity, we had developers, designers, gender specialists, journalists, philosophers, engineers, etc. Other than Tbilisi, there were 5 more regions represented. In total, 143 people were registered, out of which 50 were selected to participate in the hackathon. After working during the whole day, some of the participants continued working on their projects event at night.” Lali Tsertsvadze, a project leader, ForSet.

Photo credit: UNFPA Georgia/Gela Bedianashvili

The event was organized by ForSet, with the initiative of UNFPA Georgia Country Office, supported by the Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency. The hackathon is a part of a large-scale advocacy work, which UNFPA Georgia Country Office is carrying out for achieving gender equality, eliminating harmful practices and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of adolescents and youth. 

“Gender inequality and existence of harmful practices still represent a significant challenge for our society. UNFPA Georgia Country Office keeps on finding innovative ways to reach out to as many people as possible, and to make them think about the current situation, especially the youth. We think that the application of modern technologies is one of the best ways to deliver information and right messages to various groups in the community,”  Lela Bakradze, Head of UNFPA Georgia Country Office.

Photo credit: UNFPA Georgia/Gela Bedianashvili

In the final part of the event, 11 groups made appearance in front of judges. Each of them had selected their ways of delivering their message to the audience. The presented prototypes included a multimedia story, a communication campaign, a data visualization, a game, an application, etc. The winning participants created an interactive application on the topic of gender-biased sex selections.

Nino Baiashvili, UI designer, member of the winning group.
Photo credit: UNFPA Georgia/Gela Bedianashvili

“Modern technologies enable us to deliver our message to everyone, irrespective of gender, region, age and other conditions. In the world of today, the effective digital product has a potential to go viral, which is one of the most effective ways of raising awareness and making a change. Most importantly, this way we will engage a new generation in this process, which will also help the previous generation to change their wrong opinions and prejudices.” Nino Baiashvili, UI designer, member of the winning group.

The hackathon is one of the examples of a successful cooperation between the UNFPA Georgia Country Office and the private sector. A telecommunication company Silknet and an E-Book House Saba provided gifts for the winning teams at the event. 

"The future is equal. Making of equal environment and equal future is important for the society as well as for the private sector. Everyone can contribution to raise awareness on this issue. Supporting the establishment of equal environment, in terms of gender equality and not only, is one of the very important issues for JSC Silknet. the company supports equal employment and other activities contributing to  fair environment as well . This is why JSC Silknet as a supporter participated in the hackathon Future is Equal." Lika Metreveli, Head of Corporate Communications at Silknet.

Photo credit: UNFPA Georgia/Gela Bedianashvili

 The hackathon was held within the frameworks of the UNFPA Global Programme to Prevent to Prevent Son Preference and Undervaluing of Girls, implemented with the support of the European Union, and it was dedicated to the global campaign 16-Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.