Over the weekend of June 19-21, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) held a hackathon to think of solutions to the pandemic in Latin America. Split into four general themes – aid to health systems; protection of the most vulnerable; prevention of misinformation and empowerment of the informal economy – the 1,500 participants were mentored and presented solutions such as verifying the use of funds to reactivate the economy; promoting e-commerce for small entrepreneurs and supporting the LGBTQ + population amidst the fight against the pandemic.
To open the Latin American edition of the MIT COVID-19 Challenge, Venezuelan economist Roberto Rigobon and the president of the Humanitas360 Institute, Patrícia Villela Marino, held conferences in order to motivate the attendees. They addressed a central issue: the pandemic is worsening in our region due to the immense inequalities in Latin American countries. In Brazil, as Patrícia pointed out, the black population and the least educated are four times more likely to die from Covid-19. But more than being paralyzed by the size of the problem, the big move to address it must be made by ordinary people, based on the resources they have. Adopting a hands-on attitude helps us regain a sense of hope for populations and communities that are often discredited.
In this regard, one of H360’s actions during the event was to provide support and mentoring to groups seeking solutions for the most vulnerable populations. Janaína Reis, project manager at H360, helped groups looking to develop a health platform and solutions for the visually impaired in the pandemic. Meet the winners on each of the 10 hackathon’s innovation fronts on the MIT Twitter page – they will get support to apply their projects on a practical level and generate social impact. Congratulations to all attendees!