Why it matters: The World Health Organization (WHO) is partnering with several of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, to launch the COVID-19 Global Hackathon. The event will task developers with creating software solutions that can address some of the challenges related to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, the WHO announced that Facebook, Microsoft, Slack, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, WeChat, Giphy, and Slow Ventures were just some of the companies taking part in the #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon. The firms “will be sharing resources to support participants throughout the submission period,” which begins tomorrow.
In a post promoting the hackathon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: "Hackathons have always been an important part of how we come up with new ideas and projects at Facebook -- features like Blood Donations and Crisis Response were first built during hackathons and are now used by millions of people worldwide. I'm hopeful that some useful prototypes and ideas will come out of this one as well."
The WHO and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub have suggested several themes for the projects, including ways of supporting frontline workers, vulnerable populations, and businesses, as well as helping connect those in social isolation, and creating alternative learning tools and entertainment.
Some examples of ready-made solutions that will make an immediate impact include Covid Act Now, a model that helps political leaders understand how the virus affects their region, and Neighbour Express, which lets vulnerable people request food deliveries from volunteers.
Those interested in taking part can register now. Along with the submission form, you’ll have to upload a two-minute-long (max) video walk-through of your solution to YouTube or Vimeo. The submission deadline is Monday, March 30, and the top projects will be announced on April 3.