m!M at a Hackathon in Turkey

Representatives of the NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro participated in a hackathon held in the Turkish student city of Eskisehir.

This hackathon is another activity under the MAP the GAP project implemented by the Youth Council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with eight partners across Europe, and funded by the European Commission Erasmus + program.

Partners in this project are: Toy Gençlik Derneği (Turkey), Montenegrin Youth Forum (Montenegro), European Foundation for Rozwo Człowieka (Poland), Association of the National Parliament (Serbia), Youth Council of Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Zona Franka (Italy) ), Youth Council of Slovenia (Slovenia), Young European Federalists Northern Macedonia.

Looking for digital solutions to youth problems in local communities across Europe in Turkey, from July 26 to July 31, 2019, over 25 young people working as IT technicians or youth workers worked to find solutions.

It is often said that IT and youth workers cannot work together and do not understand each other, this was another great opportunity to show that this is not the case.

Working in multicultural groups as well as a mix of IT people and youth workers was an opportunity for everyone to advance their existing skills, gain new ones, and also experience what a hackathon really is.

The very definition of a hackathon does not exist, but it can most easily be explained as the type of event in which a larger group of people, by combining their skills and knowledge, jointly designs and creates solutions to a given problem.

The participants didn’t just get into all this story. The previous part of the project involved introducing the participants to each other, but also about the jobs they do and breaking the prejudices.
During the first working day, participants talked about the project, their expectations and their personal contributions.
Through activities in which the participants were tasked with being kangaroos, they had the opportunity to better remember the names of the other participants.

Afterwards, the participants demonstrated their drawing skills by drawing on each other on paper, and then improving their rhetorical skills through talking to each other.
During the preparation period for the competition, participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with Turkish culture, costumes, but also dishes and liquid drinks.

On the second business day, the participants worked on solving one problem, namely making a robot. After being divided into groups, everyone was tasked with making one part of the robot without communicating with other participants making the other parts. The task was that when all the pieces came together, the robot could stand upright.

Through this activity, participants learned about group work, the availability of materials, creativity and functionality, as well as time constraints.

There was also more talk about establishing a common understanding on the rules to be followed during the joint stay and work. As the custom dictates, the participants learned some Turkish words and the organizers prepared an interesting energizer for everyone, in which the participants learned some new words in Turkish.

In the evening, it was introduced to the center where the competition will take place and where the competitors will spend more than 24 hours.

The conditions the space itself provided were at an enviable level.

During the working hours, the participants became acquainted with the elements of presentation and how to do it in the best possible way. One of the activities that helped with this was the “elevator pitch”.
The very next day, a twenty-four-hour hackathon ensued and all teams were assigned the same task. Finding a digital solution to the problem of youth participation in local initiatives.
The participants were divided into four teams that worked with the mentorship of experienced people in the field of youth work as well as experienced and award-winning IT staff.

All teams worked hard on their solutions and stayed awake for as long as possible, organizers brought in presenters who spoke about coffee brewing and brewing. So the hackathons had at their disposal home-made Turkish coffee prepared specifically for the occasion.
The following day, after the hackathon, presentations made before the jury followed. One novelty compared to standard hackathons is that one part of the jury was made up of young people, just those for whom all the work was intended.

The winning team consisted of participants from Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

Their solution was, in the consensus of the jury, the best and most sustainable solution given that an element of artificial intelligence was included.

The hackathonians were tired and pleased after finishing.

The next day was followed by an evaluation of the event and an agreement on what to do next, as well as free time to get to know the beauty of Eskisehir.

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