Editors Note – Naureen Nayyar has a background in political science/public service, and numerous years of experience working with startups and entrepreneurs. She has an interest in technology for social change, and resides in San Francisco, CA.
This past weekend designers and hackers gathered at Change.org’s San Francisco headquarters to participate in a 24 hours hackathon, called HackforChange. A 100 passionate people put aside their weekend to create 17 world changing apps. The event was not about building the next Fortune 500 company, but rather about creating socially innovative apps that can help make the world a better place. Team GoodNeighbor won the event, and received the 5K USD prize money, with Anonymouse and Findmeapet, taking second and third place. Team Alerter received a honorable mention.
Do you need help with chores, a mentor, or to adopt a pet in your area? The great apps built during this event can help you with your needs. The GoodNeighbor app – by the winning team, can help you get tasks done by folks nearby, using text it allows for you to get connected with those that need help.
If you’re a lesbian, gay, bisexual or a transgender who is feeling isolated, and just needs someone to talk to anonymously about your problems, or maybe you are just being picked on at school and need a helpful ear then Anonymouse is your hero. Anonymouse allows you to text or connect via their website to mentors with whom you can “anonymousely” chat about dealing with gender and sexual discrimination. This site allows teens anonymous access to a mentor to help them through some of the rough times, while also providing people wishing to be mentors an opportunity to reach out to kids who would otherwise be too shy to come forward.
While on a lighter note, Findmeapet gets to the bottom of the overpopulation of pets, by providing you with a pet that would maybe otherwise be put to sleep.
To give the awesome teams that did not win a chance to shine, as we loved most of the apps presented, I am listing them below for you to view around what YOU need to help your world be better:
Agenda Trends – They pull news from google news and were all about open information.
AnonyMissing – A geolocation anonymous way to report missing friends without compromising your own safety.
Corrupt – Track Corruption nearby and report corruption you see in your area. Ideal for places like India, but the team is working on how to make it more hacker/trolling proof in the US.
GoChipIn – Allows you to organize events and get volunteers for them too.
GovContrib – Bookmark-like widget that can be added to your browser to allow you to get information on donations/contributions on various companies by reaching into the government and lobbying/charity databases.
IGotUGot – Backyard food garden exchange. One of my favorite apps, which hopes to match folks in the same zipcodes with exchanges for garden vegetables and other goods. Hint: Type in 90210 as your zipcode to view what they wish to create soon!
PDB – Personal Daily Brief the same way that Obama gets it, but personalized for your location and needs.
Picketline.us – Spread and inspire boycotts based on issues that are important for you.
Piece of Mind – Allows stories to be told by veterans of their struggles and those to be turned into a mosaic via funding from kickstarter.
Safehood – Ideal upgrade for the local neighborhood watch: This app helps members of a community collaborate on keeping the “hood” safe via a website or smartphone.
ShoppingAdvisor – Allows you to upload your shopping history and see what impact your shopping decisions are making on the world.
GreatDebate – Connects Activists and Organizers with Decision Makers.
WhatsaboutmyCity – Spread the word on local problems and vote on who should fix it. Example given is graffiti on a wall by your office.
It was a Sunday well spent with good ideas and good people too. Jeffrey Wescott, VP of Product & Engineering from Change.org spoke for most of us when he said, “I’m blown away with what was created in 24 hours!”.
Change.org is the fastest growing online social activism platform for social change. It was founded by two former Stanford classmates, Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas and this was their first of (hopefully many more) hackathon events with a social innovation emphasis. Among the participants was a team from Code for America, an organization that tries to help government work better in the technology sector. They are currently accepting applications for their 2012 fellows program
To learn more about Hack for Change visit http://www.hackforchange.com/