Hack With Refugees

11/12/2015

Positive Impact Entrepreneurs contributing to a better world

Quickly after the beginning of the refugees crisis, we have witnessed an overwhelming mobilisation from the civil society. Regular citizens gathered together to form support groups to the refugees in order to cover their most basic needs: Shelter, food, security.

As great as this may be, this situation is not temporary. We will need to find long term solutions to problems the displaced population of refugees will face in the process of reclaiming their life, and in readapting to this new environment. They will be in need of education, integration, find a job etc.

This situation has generated a lot of emotion and has triggered a lot of conversations on social media as people were wondering what they could do to face this crisis. A lot of people felt helpless, while other rushed to help in parc maximilien. That’s where I had a conversation with Roald Sieberath about what we could do as entrepreneurs to bring innovative solutions to this crisis. Ideas were thrown away, one of them was to organise a hackathon to put the magic of collective intelligence to work.

I proposed the idea to the Positive Impact Entrepreneurs meetup co-organisers and the feedback was very positive. That’s how we hijacked the meetup and dedicated it to the refugees cause. Instead of feeling helpless while watching the sad refugee related news, we decided to do something about it.

Beyond the emergency and the positive emotional reaction generated by the massive arrival of refugees, we needed to think about mid-term and long-term issues and opportunities. we asked ourselves a couple of questions:

  • What can be done to increase the probability of success that refugees and migrants will find – temporarily or definitely – their place in the hosting societies / countries ?
  • How can we turn the refugees’ arrival into opportunities together ?
  • How can we as positive impact entrepreneurs contribute to this while leveraging the power of technology ?

Our objective is four fold:

  • to set up a crowdsourcing platform gathering ideas and existing initiatives worldwide.
  • to develop concrete entrepreneurial solutions answering migrants / refugees needs on a mid-term / long-term perspective
  • to amplify and consolidate these solutions thanks to the power of technology (internet platforms, use of big data, makers solutions, DIY,…)
  • to connect the different initiatives in Belgium and in Europe for the sake of sharing and replicating practices

How? Through 3 well identified stages:

Ideas for refugees (October – December 2015)

These are co-design sessions organised within the frame of the monthly Positive Impact Entrepreneurs events aka PIE-Time at transforma bxl. In these sessions we collectively:

  1. identify needs : what is at stake ? what are the challenges ? what are the needs ?
  2. collect known existing initiatives
  3. generate ideas
  4. crash-test ideas with field actors and refugees themselves

We met the founders of CitizenLab along the way and they decided to join our efforts. Ideas for refugees was born

Hack for refugees (January – March 2016)
  • 22-23 January : A national hackathon involving all Belgian initiatives on the topic and aimed at transforming the most promising ideas into concrete solutions
  • End of 1st quarter 2016 : Organise a pan-European hackathon bringing together initiatives launched throughout Europe (planned time : first quarter 2016)
Build with refugees (From January 2016)

To bring the most promising ideas into life with refugees

Want to contribute to the process?

The organisation team is open for anyone who wants to contribute, there is a lot to do and we need everyone’s contribution.

Here is how you can help:

  • Attend the next PIE meetup session. We will discuss the future steps of the organisation.
  • If you can’t attend, fill in this form to express your interest and how you would like to contribute.
  • Contribute to the Ideas for refugees platform: Post an idea, comment on an existing idea to provide feedback and input to improve it. Upvote (I like) or downvote (I don’t like) the idea
  • Register to the hacakthon and participate

Anis Bedda, on behalf of the Brussels PIE Meetup Group

Anis Bedda

Anis Bedda

Cofounder at transforma bxl

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