#peacehack BCN live blog

On September 26 & 27, we’re running a hackathon on peace and migration in Barcelona. You can read background on the event here and read our live blog below.


16:50 —And the winners are…

Second prize… SOSMS

The jury felt that it was a very useful application, with well developed process and great links to private sector. The team says:

It’s the first time we hack for peace and we’ll be back next year!

First prize… Safegees

The jury felt this was a concrete solution to the challenge presented, with many potential users and uses. The team says:

We had such a great time! When you hack for something you believe in, creativity really goes up.

Third prize… Parcero

The jury felt this was a very interesting exploration of big data, but did not arrive at a concrete solution.

Special mention… microtasking for Proxi

The team building a microtasking platform to support categorization for the Proxi software did not arrive at a working prototype. The team was made up of two highschool girls, this was their first hack. They jury encourages them to continue developing a solution and learning to code. We all commend them for their enthusiasm!

15:00 — Pitching prototypes

After 24 hours of coding, three teams are getting ready to pitch their solutions to challenges. Here we go…

  1. SOSMS. Devialabs team presenting a solution to the challenge of building a reliable message system for refugees that is adaptable to circumstances. SOSMS is a message gateway associated to your personal phone number. It allows users to re-route their communications to other people’s devices in case you loose your own or are unable to connect to a network. The application is on sosms.devialab.com One possible use-case: if you can only charge one mobile at a time, you could re-route all communications from all your friends to the one mobile that is charged. The platform has a donate button so the public can finance the cost of re-routing SMS.
  2. Safegees. Mobile and web application that allows refugees to privately and in a secure manner geolocate people in their contact network. Users add a contact, they accept you, and then you can keep track of where they are. The app also gives you “points of interest” tailored to refugees; these points of interest are provided by (vetted) NGOs working on the ground, who can upload the information through a web form. There is a strong emphasis on ensuring all data is secure. The app needs internet connection for some functions but once basic information is loaded on your phone, it can also work offline. Organizations could also have access to anonymized data on the movement of users registered in the app, as a way of seeing how the flow of refugees is changing live.
  3. Parcero. The team have been working on how to fight crime in Bogotá with big data. They had access to hourly data on crime incidents (from the police) and transport (from Transmillenum). Key findings: (a) crime is concentrated in areas that are far from the transport lines; (b) in the evenings, when / where more people are using transport lines there is more crime. An idea for the future would be to make this live data available to tourists (for personal planning) and to policy makers (for urban planning).

11:00 — Good morning Barcelona!

Well, we had a bit of a slow morning. It’s election day here in Barcelona (for the regional elections) and many participants went off to do their civic voting duty. Now they’re back, drinking coffee and finishing up presentations and prototypes. We’re excited to hear what they’ve got!

9:16pm — This is what it looks like 12 hours in


Ideas becoming designs slowly becoming prototypes.

Screens filling with code. Ups and downs with energy.

Drinks of choice and breaks to socialise on the balconies.

We’re super grateful for the ImpactHub’s hospitality at their amazing venue in central Barcelona.


6:02pm — Did we mention the food?

We’ve had delicious, abundant food at our hack…

Maybe a little too abundant, so the organizing team is now sharing what’s left with a local NGO that distributes food to homeless people.

3:47pm — … and videos!

Each of our teams just crammed into a small balcony overlooking Barcelona’s Plaza Real to shoot these clips describing their projects. Bonus points to the team (to remain unnamed) that had a group hug afterwards.

These videos are now part of the online global #peacehack challenge, so check out the playlists from the other cities as well. The one with the most YouTube likes wins a prize.

2:44pm — We’ve got some teams!

For the next 24 hours, four teams will be building the following solutions:

  1. An app that allows refugees to redirect all their communications to a person they trust (in case they lose their phone or laptop);
  2. A visualization of call data records and traffic data in Bogota that can be interpreted as a prediction of crime;
  3. A geolocation app that allows refugees to find each other if they are separated and to find points of interest along a route they are traveling (e.g. places offering shelter or food);
  4. A microtasking platform to support an existing project in Spain that works to identify hatespeech in comments made on online media.

12:51pm — From challenge adaption to team formation

Hackers & challenge owners getting to know each other

Fast forward through great presentations by challenge owners and (possibly more than) a few rounds of coffee, and our designers and developers are now intently discussing teaming and solutions in small clusters around the Hub.

We’re already impressed by the out-of-the-box thinking evident in the Q&A about the challenges, which surfaced some creative adaptations.

“Look I don’t think we can do a tracing system for weapons, but what about an app for crowdsourced reporting about the origin of weapons people come across? This would be particularly useful for war reporters.” — Hacker

9am — Getting ready…

Registration ready, breakfast ready, music on.

Now we’re just waiting for hackers and challenge owners to arrive.

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