Hack The Quake

June 5, 2015 , by DREAMS, Leave your thoughts
In the aftermath of two major earthquakes and despite frequently hitting aftershocks, volunteering campaigns which were otherwise not as common, saw an organic growth in Kathmandu. A month past the historic disaster that placed Nepal in all international headlines, relief campaigns have started overlapping to the next obvious stage of reconstruction.

While the Nepal government accepted that it was too unprepared to face one of the biggest crisis in history, the civil society was also shaken to its roots. Fortunately, Nepali youth was already active on the ground with disaster mapping technologies as well as managing relief supplies over the Internet. In the advent of reconstruction phase, every genuine idea to rebuild Nepal is valuable and we believe that the young generation is equally capable of making a worthy contribution.
One such response to this period of crisis is an ideathalon appropriately titled HackTheQuake, initiated by the alumni of Institute of Engineering, Janaki Technology, Nepal engineers’ Association and Kathmandu University (Business Incubation Centre). It is supported by DREAMS, yantrakala and Robotics Association of Nepal.
Anuj Gurvacharya, a PhD candidate at University of Oklahoma, and Deep Sherchan, a Bangalore-based software entrepreneur, were joined from Nepal by Amit Agrawal, director of Picovico.com, and Manish Modi, director of Sparrow SMS when they first felt a competition is needed in Nepal, in their own words, ‘not only to find new ideas, but also for the general public to figure out which ideas that already exist are the good ones’.

The team felt that public was finding it hard to know which one among the propositions from various groups would make the best pick. Something which is already evident in a number of organisations and individuals pitching for different types of residence that can be earthquake-resistant, nothing less than a chaotic scene from which we are just emerging.

Sanyukta Shrestha, a London-based games developer, found HackTheQuake an effective transit for the students resuming regular studies after witnessing the recent devastation. Dipesh Khanal, Secretary of Robotics Association of Nepal, found the project innovative in itself and a great platform for the thinking minds.  

What is HackTheQuake?
HackTheQuake aims to discover innovative ideas and concepts that use locally available resources, are cheap to make and do not require a lot of hi-tech equipments. Ideas being sought for various sectors, including, but not limited to:

1. Safe drinking water e.g., rain water collection in monsoon,
2. Temporary housing e.g., the ones already being done with tin sheets,
3. Permanent housing,
4. Information access,
5. Energy access (preferably solar),
6. Providing nutritious food, and
7. Basic medical solutions.

HackTheQuake is designed around a simple contest theme where participants are expected to submit their ideas following certain guidelines. Through a voting process, three best ideas will be chosen and rewarded NRs 50,000 each. After this stage, the winning ideas will be taken to implementation phase when the winning ideas will finally start making a difference to the affected areas.

HackTheQuake will go through the following three phases:

Phase 1: Idea Competition,
Phase 2: Mentor with experts in order to refine the idea,
Phase 3: Connect to various parties including both private and public sectors. 

Why HackTheQuake?
Competition helps discover hidden ideas that people would not have thought of before. Competition does not always have to be for the personal financial benefit but also good of all people. Silicon Valley was born because of the fierce competition between the various computer ideas that the companies there had. Paul and John wrote so many good songs because they were in an artistic competition. Indonesia held a competition to discover ways for better information access and tsunami warning systems after their tsunami 10 years ago.

At the wake of a disaster that Nepal faced recently, it is great to see all the young groups working day and night towards rebuilding Nepal. In such times, support from every part of the world is always appreciated. But at the end its us that needs to rebuild our place with our own wits and skills.

This is why it is important that we seek for new and innovative ideas. It is obvious that there are many groups and organizations that are brainstorming but more can be done. This is where crowd-sourcing ideas work perfectly. Harnessing the young minds and their new perspective can hugely benefit the society and take the process of rebuilding to next level. 

How to HackTheQuake?
Its free. Its simple. And it is an opportunity to turn your ideas into reality for a better Nepal.
Enter your ideas here now: www.hackthequake.com 
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