UN launches software to bridge people, government engagement gap

To bridge the gap between Nigerians and decision makers, especially in government, the United Nations (UN) has formally launched a hacking challenge tagged: Hackathon in Bonn, Germany.It comes with a promise to award N1 million to any Nigerian winning team and a three months community membership at the Civic Innovation Lab (CIL) to develop a tool for the rollout of the survey across the country and around the world.

Participants could apply through online application from February 2018. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Action Campaign, in collaboration with Civic Innovation Lab, is interested in Nigeria’s best software skills that would contribute to citizens’ engagement with the SDGs and bring the voices of Nigerians to the government and the UN.

“The SDGs are a new way of thinking and doing things. They provide guidelines for how we can, and need, to do things more creatively, more effectively and more inclusively.

Special Adviser on Media to the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on SDGs, Desmond Utomwen, said Nigerian developers and the innovation community have invested in helping their communities to thrive and offered to provide the opportunity to transfer the innovative thinking into concrete action.

This, he said, was to solve the most important challenges confronting the country at the moment. Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, Mitchell Toomey, said: “It is very exciting to bring this programme to Nigeria for the first time and we are convinced the results will have a tremendous impact locally and globally.’’

The Hackathon, to be held from February 5-7, 2018 in Abuja would bring together top innovative minds to design an application to enable a more efficient roll out of the My World survey across the country.

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MY World is the UN survey that educates and mobilises citizens on the 17 SDGs and allows them to share their perception of progress made in their countries and regions on the goals of most immediate concern to them in the past 12 months.

Through the data collection, the UN aims to create space for every citizen in the world to participate in discussions and send strong messages to world leaders on what needed to be done to solve the most pressing challenges of modern times.

Speaking, Presidential Adviser on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said: “Nigeria is fully committed to faithfully implementing the SDGs and ensuring that no Nigerian is left behind. In spite of the current economic realities, Nigeria has continued to commit funds to the SDGs to devise effective means of ensuring that the SDGs are promoted and owned by peoples of the world.”