Along with the announcement of the winning app, which will be implemented with Free the Children in rural Kenya, the panel event brings together leaders in both the international development space and the tech scene to discuss the opportunities for Toronto's impact on global development through technology. They’ll also share their insights on the sensitivities around working with global teams remotely, and the particular challenges of creating open-source and mobile SMS solutions for NGOs. Panelists include International Manager for Programming at Free the Children Deveney Bazinet, obstetrician-gynecologist Astrid Christoffersen-Deb, Tariq Fancy of not-for-profit Rumie, and COO of VOTO Mobile Levi Goertz.
"We're thrilled to gather such a diverse group of people to talk about how we can contribute as an industry and as a city towards tech solutions for social good, both globally and locally," says Rangle's CEO Nick Van Weerdenburg. "As a company we want to join the conversation about how modern web and mobile development can impact the world in a positive way."
Created earlier this year by Danielle Thé, one of the founders of Devs Without Borders, an event that is centered around connecting developers with opportunities to provide services and applications that can have large-scale impact. "This event will help to expand and engage the Toronto community with the possibilities for software development," says Thé. "We want to move beyond all the trends in tech. Instead of building another game, or hacking away at the next short lived 'it' product, computer programming can truly change the lives of people in developing countries. That's what we're trying to achieve meaningfully here."
Developers hoping to participate in the Hackathon are encouraged to learn more and register here. The public can purchase tickets to the panel event here, with all proceeds going to Free the Children.
Deveny is International Manager for Programming at Free the Children, and has a Masters in International Development from McGill University. She has worked internationally in Tanzania, Ecuador, Nicaragua and India. She has travelled to Kenya to see Free the Children’s sustainable development work in practice and meet with community members to better understand their own aspirations for their communities.
Astrid is a Toronto obstetrician-gynecologistwho is using the grant money to give health care workers in Kenya smartphones that can be programmed to alert them when a woman in their area is in labour and to provide medical advice.
Tariq founded Rumie, a non-profit organization on a mission to bring free digital educational content to the world’s underprivileged children, after seeing the success of his work to bring mobile phones to developing markets as a leapfrog innovation at a New York private equity firm. He began his career in technology investment banking with CSFB in Palo Alto.
Levi Goertz is COO of VOTO Mobile, which provides software and services to enable large scale 2-way mobile phone communication anywhere in the world, with a special focus on SMS surveys, behaviour change campaigns and call-in hotlines. Levi has done significant work in the health and governance/participation sectors in Africa, having also worked for Engineers Without Borders Canada, as both field staff and on the executive leadership team.
Devs Without Borders is an online platform that connects software developers worldwide with international development projects. Using technology, developers work together to build solutions for health, social welfare, farming, and education for those in impoverished areas around the world. Together they make information more accessible to people who need it most.