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Refugee Hackathon to Create Solutions for Civic Innovation

by Kristyn Back

There are 30 million refugees across the world struggling to survive – and of that 30 million only about 100,000 settle in the United States. While that number is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the millions who seek asylum, national and global efforts are being made, specifically around technology, that hope to solve this ongoing issue.

In an effort to help chip away at this challenge, two old friends from Amplify 4 Good and Lincoln Initiative have joined forces to host The Refugee Hackathon April 1-3rd. We caught up with Garrett Johnson, co-founder of Lincoln Initiative, and Joey Womack, founder of Amplify 4 Good to find out how they’re teaming up to use technology and innovation in response to this growing challenge.

Why did you choose to team up with Amplify 4 Good on a refugee focused hackathon?

G: This hackathon is one of the first in America with a focus on refugees. Our hope is to build creative solutions around education – an area that has seen both challenges and successes. Refugees need a lot of help and support to make sure they have basic necessities, even the lucky few who have a chance to settle here. Through technology and innovation, we hope to help provide better access to education for the millions of refugees that exist today.

J: This is a huge problem – 1 out of every 122 people on this planet are said to be a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Too many people need help, and it’s the biggest challenge our company has faced yet, but we love big challenges.

Atlanta is also a great launching pad for international social impact, and we want to show how Atlanta’s tech and social impact community came together for global good.

What do you hope to accomplish?

J: We want to move the needle by creating tools for organizations focused on the education needs of refugees from the international all the way down to the local level. Specifically, we’d like to see at least 10 prototypes developed, and passed along to the community of technologists worldwide who are committed to completing them.

G: There is a national network that is being slow to be built. Since it’s in an early stage, we want to plug doers and changers into this network who are interested in this topic and hoping to make an impact.

We also hope to raise awareness on this topic – a topic very few people have experience with. Instead of having a knee-jerk response, we want folks to think about how we can use technology to make these systems more productive and create a better quality of life for refugees whether they’re in the United States or around the world.

How will this help the refugee community in Atlanta and beyond?

J: Many of the use cases for the ideas were created with local agencies and organizations in mind. Getting these local entities to use the tools will (a) accelerate the productivity in helping local refugees, and (b) provide crucial feedback so their peers around the country can utilize them.

The Refugee Hackathon is still in need of programmers, product managers, and volunteers. Interested in providing support? Email Adia Dightman for details on how you can help!

Details & Registration
The Garage
848 Spring St NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

Friday, April 1
7:00 pm | Check-In & Networking Reception (including complimentary drinks)
7:30 pm | Opening Remarks by Garrett Johnson of Lincoln Initiative, John Fallone of Lincoln Initiative, and Brian Reich of The Hive – Special Project of USA for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
7:45 pm | Keynote, J.D. McCrary, International Rescue Committee
8:00 pm | Panel on Understanding Problems Organizations Helping Refugees Face
8:20pm | Team Selections
11:00 pm | Day 1 Ends

Saturday, April 2
All Day | Hackathon Continues

Sunday, April 3
8:00am-1:00pm | Hackathon Finishes
1:00-3:00pm | Lunch + Presentation Prep
3:00-5:00pm | Presentations, Awards & Closing Remarks
5:00-6:00pm | Reception

About Lincoln Initiative 
Lincoln Initiative, formerly known as Lincoln Labs, was born from the optimistic view that when technology and public policy meet, under the right conditions and with the right tools, both worlds win. Through hackathons, meetups and online engagement, we provide opportunities for the entrepreneurial community to come together and both collaborate on and learn about market-based, tech-powered solutions to our nation’s biggest problems.

About Amplify 4 Good
Amplify 4 Good has roots as an online community of high-performance entrepreneurs of color dating back to 2009. Today, Amplify 4 Good is an award-winning social good organization and consultancy. We focus on building groups of rapid problem-solvers around the world for under-served communities as well as using innovation to help companies create social impact.

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