Hacking for Social Good - bv02 at Random Hacks of Kindness (June 2015)


The weekend of June 6&7 2015 marks Ottawa’s 4th Random Hacks of Kindness. Its 2 day event that connects not-for-profits and community groups with developers, strategists, and designers who can help them solve technology problems. Its a hackathon for social good.

This type of event really highlights the role private companies can and need to play in their local communities. There is a wealth of talent in this company as there are in the hundreds across the city. The one thing we can do, and encourage our colleagues to do is share our knowledge and time.

We had a dedicated crew of organizers to get this up and off the ground, and a big thanks to: Maria Smirnoff, Dyni Mao, Wesley Ellis, Anton McConville, Jesse Burcsik (from Kivuto), and, Brandon.

This year we had 40 developers and 6 organizations. Amongst the devs you should see our very own Justin MacNeil.

These are this year’s organizations:

  1. ExMNA is a volunteer-run, non-profit based out of Washington, DC with Ottawa representatives. It’s a safe-space community for people who have left the faith of Islam. Most members share a background of taboo around the idea of apostasy and find this to be a place where they can explore secular viewpoints with people who share a similar context. Members of this community are active online and have regular local meetups in different cities across Canada and US. The screening process is rigorous and privacy is of utmost importance. Technology advancement would aid the organization considerably in the screening process.
  2. The Ottawa Carleton Ultimate Association (OCUA) strives to promote the sport of Ultimate in the Ottawa region. They run leagues and tournaments, and operate the world’s first multi-field facility designed specifically for Ultimate. They currently have over 4000 members, and the summer league is among the largest in the world! Running weekend tournaments has a mix of on-line and on-site technology needs including displaying where games are, collecting scores, displaying tournament status and making the whole experience easy and fun.
  3. The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada (CNAC) is a network of organizations and individuals who are working to connect children to nature through education, advocacy, programming, policy, research, and the built environment. Their vision is that all children and families in Canada are connected with nature and the outdoors in order to enhance their health and wellbeing. Amongst many topics, CNAC endeavours to bring forward understanding and conversation around assessing risk and risky play – for children, parents and educators.
  4. Compass is a unique alternative to high school that empowers teenagers, with guidance from their families and adult mentors, to direct their own education. “Learning is natural, school is optional” is the slogan of the model that inspired its beginnings. The approach draws upon the intrinsic motivation of our teen “members” whereby teens create a customized education based on their interests, abilities, and goals.
  5. Ottawa Riverkeeper brings together volunteers, communities, businesses and all levels of government to find solutions to the problems that threaten the health of our river. For Ottawa Riverkeeper, as is the case for any community, engagement and action begins and ends with knowing the constituency. It’s no secret that Ottawa loves its river. The challenge this group faces is the ability to effectively organize for action when change is needed.
  6. The Vote Savvy team has paired with researchers at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy Administration and the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute with the aim of making it easy for youth to get informed about the political issues that matter to them. Their online survey tool will run during the 2015 federal election and be disseminated through social media and on campuses across Canada. The tool will provide valuable insights to researchers and communication strategists aiming to encourage youth political engagement. Moreover, the tool will allow participants to navigate the sea of political information available online through personalized clips and links upon completion of the survey.

Of course, a huge thanks to our sponsors:

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There’s a little more on RHoK in this recap from last year, and if you’re interested in learning more or getting involved, please reach out and say hi.

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