II MALAGA HACKATHON
Creating a technology solution for refugees which helps them navigate the asylum application process and more efficiently pursue employment in the city

Registration opening: 8th November 2021
Registration closing: 8th December 2021

Opening of Hackathon event: 9th December 2021
Closing of Hackathon event: 16th December 2021

WHY

In 2019, 118.446 applications of international protection were registered in Spain. 112% more than only one year before. Each year, thousands of migrants continue reaching Spain seeking safety and opportunities that their home countries cannot provide. While some leave dreaming about getting a job or accessing education, others escape from persecution or human rights violations such as torture, discrimination, or censorship. Millions flee from armed conflicts, political crises or violence. Some no longer feel safe just because of who they are or what they do or believe – for example, for their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or political opinions. In these cases of persecution and serious human rights violation, they seek protection in another country.

Seeking asylum is a human right, so everyone should be allowed to enter another country to seek asylum. Despite the fact that Spain and the EuropeanUnion have clear protocols for applying for asylum, many migrants do not know where to find and how to find this information. Even when they do find asylum data, it is not always available in their native language. In other cases, the information migrants find prior to their arrival is so distorted by the media or the legends of other migrants, that they expect dreamed welcoming lands offering all they are looking for. This falsified vision motivates migrants to set out on a hazardous journey they are not prepared for. After all, the application of asylum in Spain is a long bureaucratic and tedious procedure that often takes up to two or three years to complete since their arrival.

During most of that period, migrants are not entitled to work in Spain. For many months, they cannot contribute to any legal remunerated activity, so not only they do not receive any income to sustain themselves, they also do not have any professional experience in their CVs when they finally receive work permission, difficulting, even more, their access to an already-oversaturated job market.

Many migrants with strong cases for asylum severely struggle through the journey, leading some to avoid the service or drop out at some point of the process as it is way harder than they expected - the procedure is longer and tougher, the forms and steps they need to fill in and go through are in an unfamiliar language, and they cannot work to make a living in the meantime. They feel useless, depressed, and hopeless.

THE CHALLENGE

Several organizations and institutions offer a variety of services to support migrants throughout this process. On one hand, they are familiar with the required documentation, timings and official bureaucracy, so they can assist migrants in the asylum procedure. Besides assistance, protection and accommodation, organizations also offer language training and other skills training courses so migrants can build or strengthen their capacities in relation to the local market to ease their access to the job market.

Navigating such a complicated process is not linear, and in many cases, the information is transmitted through unofficial channels. Word of mouth among migrant communities is still the first and most relied source. While the formal sources are official, they use unintelligible terms and buzzwords. On the contrary, migrants who have gone or are going through the process provide other migrants with experiential knowledge that is comprehensive, inspiring and practical. However, this often leads to confusion, misinformation or unmet expectations.

Migrants need access to clear information about asylum and employment process in Spain, so not only they will get a clearer picture of what is ahead of them (informing them in the decision-making of leaving their home countries), but also so they can navigate the process with less uncertainty and frustration (once they are going through it). On the other hand, counting on a trustworthy source of information will release some strain from the organizations and institutions providing services to migrants, as they dedicate enormous amounts of resources to inform and support them with this specific knowledge.

Connected to the problem is the language barrier in documents and official information. The availability of translation and interpretation services for migrants is very low. As they do not speak the language, they are not able to understand the documentation and requirements of the official procedures. This issue adds on to the uncertainty and frustration already mentioned of being in a new country alone and feeling abandoned by the system.

Therefore, how can we generate a wiki space* where all the information (both official documentation and informal testimonials) can be accessed and consulted by asylum seekers? A commonplace which collects datasets, links, experiences and updates of the relevant material for migrants who are going (or planning to go) through the process? In the II Malaga Hackathon, we invite you to co-create and develop this technical solution that provides migrants with the necessary information to confidently navigate through the asylum and job-seeking processes. The wiki will compile the answers to the needed information of migrants that tackle these procedures. Such answers may become from official and unofficial sources of information. Your challenge will be to generate the technical structure of the space, together with the inclusion, management and sustainability of the information. You will need to respond to questions such as: what is the information that needs to be included? Who will be allowed to include it? How do we make sure that the introduced information follows the same structure and responds to the migrants' information needs? Who will manage the information? How do we make sure that the data collected is accurate and updated? How do we address the language barrier of those who do not speak the local language?

HOW

In the II Malaga Hackathon, the different activities will facilitate the development of a wiki space that best serves the migrants' needs in throughout their asylum process and in preparation for access to the Spanish job market. During the event, you will create an accessible and migrant-centered wiki that will integrate official and unofficial sources of information in a well-structured space.

The solution should address the different steps of the previously-described journey of migrants, from the initial understanding of the asylum-seeking procedures, timings and documentation, to the offer of capacity-building courses, support, protection, and voluntary work experience offered by different local organisms. In short, you will be creating a technology solution for refugees which helps them navigate the asylum application process and more efficiently pursue employment in Malaga (Spain).

The format of the II Malaga Hackathon:

  • The topic will be presented and detailed during the first day of the event when some migrants and organizations will provide first-hand experience of their relation with the process, and how they dealt with the information needs. The platform for building the wiki and the team of experts will also be introduced. 

  • Then, you will have a week to work with your team on developing a working prototype of your proposal. There will be 2 check-up points where you will present the status of your work and our team of experts will provide feedback. Additionally, during these days, you will be able to book timeslots for mentorship and support of specialists in the fields of migration, asylum application, wiki spaces, architecture information, etc.

  • Finally, on the 16th of December, you will present a demo of your wiki to the jury of the event, who will evaluate all solutions and decide a winner.

WHO - The organisers

Malaga City Council, Christar International and BIC Euronova are the mainorganizers of the event. The three institutions, together with the H2020easyRights project, have joined forces to support migrants in the access andexercise of their rights.

WHO - Teams

The hackathon is open to approximately 20-30 participants. We truly believe in diversity and collaboration to find meaningful and context-rooted solutions. Therefore, regardless of their background or nationality, the participants we seek respond to the broad (and specific) description of visionaries, developers, designers, marketers entrepreneurs, engineers, migrants & field experts.

Considering our previous experience running hackathons, we acknowledge that multidisciplinary teams bring the greatest contributions in terms of relevancy and level of technical development of the solutions, enlarging their options of becoming winning ideas. It is essential, in this regard, that a teams counts with a fair representation of both technical profiles (coders, developers) and topic-based experts (designers, lawyers, social workers).

Despite the event will be run in English, we encourage you to have at least one team member with high Spanish understanding and communicating skills. After all, your solution will refer to Spanish procedures and the official documents can be found in this language.

WHO - Partners

Numerous experts will inspire the teams in their hackathon journey. Colleagues who have the experiential knowledge about the challenge we are addressing will be on hand which will include a skilled task force of decision-makers, lawyers, designers and tech experts will guide the work of the participants. Theirmultidisciplinarity covers a broad spectrum of areas, ensuring that you will get the appropriate support at each moment of the process, whether you struggle with the definition of the concept, the information architecture, the data management, or the integration of existing technologies in your solution. They will be available for consultation and feedback throughout the days of the event.

WHERE

Fully online. This is an asynchronous hackathon event that will last all week from 9rd to the 16th of December in which the teams will be given a challenge and will have 7 days to face it, supported by check-points with mentors during the week. The introduction of the topic will occur on the 9th of December and will conclude on the 16th of December with the prototypes' presentation to the jury.

WHEN

You can already register for the hackathon event, either individually or as a team:

Registration opening - 8th November 2021
Registration closing - 8th December 2021

Opening of hackathon event - 9th of December 2021
Closing of hackathon event - 16th of December 2021

And then what? - WINNERS

The winner will be chosen during the last day of the event by a jury formed of technical and service experts, who will evaluate the proposed solutions on different criteria:

Impact - Does the solution influence easing the process for the immigrants?
General feasibility - Is the proposed solution feasible from an economic, technical, legal point of view? Is the proposed solution meeting the time constraints that ascertain the likelihood of completing the project successfully? Does the group have the capabilities and the overview to develop the solution towards its full implementation?

Cohesiveness - Is the proposed wiki consistently structured in terms of the inclusion, management and accessibility of the information?
Sustainability - Is the proposed solution sustainable in time?
User-centred - How user-friendly is the designed interaction for both migrants and the other actors involved? (that is, a solution that is not difficult to learn or understand, simple-to-use, convenient, accessible, and straightforward).

Technical exploitation - To what extent can the proposal be applied to other contexts or topics?

The winning team will be offered a 10000€ contract to work on the further development and integration of the proposed solution within the service provision, in collaboration with the easyRights technical team and Christar International.

Info & Consent Form for the Hackathon

We thank you for participating in this event. In compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, and the provisions of national legislation Data Protection 2018 we would like to assure you that your personal data (name and surname, affiliation if any, e-mail address and signature) will be used only for the purpose of organising this hackathon, but never shared with anyone else for e.g. commercial or other purposes.

Download Information notice and consent form for hackathon events (in English).