#Code4peace hackathon revolutionizes the way Afghan women voice their priorities for peace

Twelve teams competed in Afghanistan’s largest and first-ever hackathon on women, peace and security, aiming to create a national platform for rural and urban women to voice their priorities for peace. The hackathon, called #code4peace, was organized by UN Women from 17-20 June 2019 in the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan.

Date: Friday, July 5, 2019

From June 17- 20, 75 women and men from 27 provinces participated in #Code4peace hackathon in Bamyan Province. Photo: UN Women/Ramin Alam
From June 17- 20, 75 women and men from 27 provinces participated in #Code4peace hackathon in Bamyan Province. Photo: UN Women/Ramin Alam

Bamyan, Afghanistan — “A hackathon is traditionally all about technology, but #Code4peace is different,” said Aleta Miller, UN Women Representative in Afghanistan, adding that this social innovation hackathon aims to “get the most Afghan women’s voices represented in peace, whether a woman lives in Kabul, or the Wakan corridor in Badakhshan, or the furthest village in Nangahar.”

The hackathon drew nearly 1,000 women and men applicants from across Afghanistan. From 27 provinces, 75 participants were selected, 90 per cent of whom were women. “There were men, too, in the hackathon. Segregation never helps. It is especially important for men to see the capability of their fellow women and get to learn about their problems,” said Zuhra Bahman, a mentor.

As calls for peace in Afghanistan intensify, women are rightfully demanding access to the closed-door meetings where the future of Afghanistan is being negotiated. In 23 rounds of Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks between 2005 and 2014, women were at the table just twice.

“In addition to women’s voices from urban Afghanistan, it is vital to ensure that the needs and priorities of women living in rural areas are also heard,” said Nabila Musleh, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs and #Code4peace judge.

From June 17- 20, twelve teams competed in the #code4peace hackathon to create a national platform to increase women’s voices in peace. Photo: UN Women/Ramin Alam
From June 17- 20, twelve teams competed in the #Code4peace hackathon to create a national platform to increase women’s voices in peace. Photo: UN Women/Ramin Alam

Over the course of just 48 hours and after working tirelessly together through the night, the teams did as much as possible to develop their solutions.

“The teams are diverse, and each team has six to seven members. Activists, experts, programmers and coders have gathered to innovate ways that applies nationally,” said Mariam Safi, a mentor.

Two teams tied to win the top prize, with their solutions focused on building a national platform to collect women’s opinions and priorities for peace. The solutions were unique in their ability to widely gather women’s voices from all 34 provinces, while also increasing the depth of engagement by supporting the participation of women who are illiterate and women who do not have access to technology.

The second and third prizes were awarded to solutions that support women artists to create visual representations depicting the changing landscape in the country, and a platform that increases the participation of mothers in Afghanistan by using stories for children.

The winning solutions will be realized and supported by UN Women and a civil society partner. The #Code4peace hackathon was made possible by the support of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

For more information:

Please contact Nangyalai Tanai
Communications Analyst
UN Women Afghanistan Country Office
UNOCA Compound, Kabul-Jalalabad Road
Kabul, Afghanistan. Phone: +93 724819934
Email: nangyalai.tanai@unwomen.org