Students win best pitch at sexual violence hackathon

James' winning team Pic: James Milton

Best Pitch award winning team at End Sexual Violence in Conflict Hackathon Pic: James Milton

Two Goldsmiths’ computing students have been awarded Best Team Pitch for their group project at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict hackathon.

The hackathon was part of a global summit hosted by Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Foreign Secretary William Hague that aimed to find practical ways to prevent sexual violence being used as a weapon of war.  A hackathon is an event where computer programmers and others interested in developing software meet up to develop ideas and create apps, usually based on a specified topic.  The End Sexual Violence in Conflict hackathon took place at the ExCel centre, Docklands between June 10 and 13 with a top prize of £1500 funding to be put towards further developing the winning app.

James Milton, 38, who is studying for an MSc in Computing and Sophie Pearce, 21 who is a third year BSc Computer Science student at the New Cross based University, worked with a group of eight others in the competition.  They created a demo for a digital storytelling app called Kahani that shows the impact of sexual violence on a community from a range of view points.

The app is named after the Hindi word for story and would show positive examples of how survivors, their families and community leaders have dealt with the trauma of sexual violence.

The team behind Kahani won the Best Team Pitch for their pitch to a panel of judges that included heads of major charities, a delegate from the FCO and agency workers with on the ground experience.

The top prize Judge’s Choice Award was won by an app that used GPS to direct survivors to the nearest aid centre.

Milton said he was pleased to win best pitch, and found the whole experience worthwhile.  He said: “The cause was amazing, the people were inspiring and the challenge of building an effective team in 72 hours was really enjoyable. It has enhanced my belief in the power of computing and social technology to help solve major issues.”

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