Meet Newtec's Humanitarian Hackers

Wednesday 16 January 2019
Meet Newtec's Humanitarian Hackers


Hackers get a lot of bad press, but what if hacking could actually do good? Well this week in Brussels it is.

The Humanitarian Hackathon 2019 has been taking place over 15th and 16th January. Designed to create technology-driven solutions for the most pressing humanitarian challenges, the event involves Belgian and international humanitarian organizations, donors, large companies, startups, scientists and engineers. They are given 6 challenges to choose from and their job is to simply solve them! Well, it’s perhaps not that simple - and that’s why we have sent a mixed team of Newteccers with different talents to offer, to compete in the challenge this year.

The event is an initiative of the Belgian Ministry for Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda and Telecommunications (a major donor of humanitarian aid). It has been organized by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Hack Belgium Labs which is the creator of Belgium’s biggest multi-stakeholder hackathon.

Newtec has two teams representing the company. The Newtec Tech Track team has been focusing on developing prototypes using the latest technologies from the private sector.

The Newtec Connect Track team is exploring how they can launch viable new projects to solve the challenges by combining expertise and resources from multiple stakeholders. Such teams are formed on the spot with participants bringing their diverse skills and experience to the table.

All teams are supported by humanitarian experts from the World Food Program, and other organizations and donors. Tech and Connect Tracks teams will be encouraged to engage each other for ideation or validation purposes.

Our teams selected the following two challenges:

Smallholder farmers feeding the world – How might we empower smallholder farmers to access markets and new business opportunities so that they can break the cycle of poverty for good?


Emergency response and humanitarian support – Earth observation for population monitoring – How can we maximize the information potential of drones and high-resolution satellite data over refugee and displaced population camp settlements?

The teams spend two days working on solutions before, at the end of the second day, they deliver their final pitches.

These are complex challenges but it is hoped that the solutions will be useful in real-world situations.

Tune in tomorrow to find out how our teams got on! 

Newtec's team at the Humanitarian Hackathon