UNESCO Hackathon at FOSSASIA Summit 2019

As part of the celebration of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the UNESCO and FOSSASIA once again joined hands in organizing a hackathon titled “Hack the Future”, aiming to preserve indigenous languages through free and open source software. The event took place from Mar 15 to Mar 17, during the FOSSASIA Summit 2019 at Lifelong Learning Institute, Singapore. The competition recorded a number of 193 registered participants from across Asia and neighboring regions. 15 projected ideas were submitted and 13 of them were pitched for 5 winning prizes.

The winning projects

For the expected outcome of the hack, the applications or games shall help to provide greater access to multilingual information and knowledge and enable knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices, specifically with regard to indigenous languages. All work shall be FOSS/Open Source and use or connect to FOSSASIA projects (APIs) and technologies to improve people’s lives and tackle indigenous languages and culture protection challenges.

The teams that met requirements and produced convincing solutions were:

  • Open Science Prize: Gadon
  • AI Dev Prize: Crowd-sourced Corpus Generation
  • Cloud Prize: Guageland
  • Indigenous Prize: Thazin
  • Audience Prize: Crowd-sourced Corpus Generation

Crowd Sourced Corpus Generation: the 5-member Indian hack team has built a crowd-sourced corpus generator that provides reliable crowd translations using AI matrix. The app contains of 2 major parts: (1) users’ translations input and (2) a platform where researchers and/or indigenous language experts can verify and give feedback on crowd translations.

Crowd-sourced Corpus Generation project team

Thazin is a mobile game project whose inspirations derived from flappy bird and Google Chrome’s “not connected” dinosaur game. In this game, a player needs to use particular indigenous languages to speak into the built-in microphone in order to get the bird to overcome obstacles of each level. The dataset is also generated from indigenous people themselves when they record their voices for players’ references.

Thazin project team

Gadong is another mobile game application designed to tackle the inadequacy of online resources for indigenous languages by providing a crowd-source dictionary for Khmu language. Gadon project not only aims to promote Khmu language to the public but also helps the Khmu people to learn English as a global language.

Gadong project team

GuageLand game application allows players to level up by learning and solving problems related to indigenous languages. The project is fully open source featuring technologies such as: SUSI.AI, react.js, node.js, Amazon-DynamoDB, html5, css3, javascript, NoSQL Database, PWA, and open data.

GuageLand project team

Participants, mentors and judges

The UNESCO Hackathon at FOSSASIA Summit 2019 received the participation of 193 candidates from 21 countries all over the world. Indians accounted for the largest number of participants (82), followed by Indians (62). And more than 20% of the participants were females.


Seventeen open source advocates from Singapore, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Germany, and indigenous experts from the Mekong region were invited to become mentors of the two-day hackathon. Mentors dedicatedly worked alongside with participants, giving them constructive feedback on the groups’ projects as well as showing them how to turn their ideas into feasible mobile app solutions. Some indigenous experts also joined the hacking projects as participants resulted in great diverse backgrounds of team members for each team.


The Hackathon jury consisted of UNESCO delegates, indegious languages experts and representatives from FOSSASIA, Microsoft, IBM, SUSI.AI and OpnTech. Some members from the jury board were mentors themselves. Thus, they not only provided support, made final evaluations on submitted projects but also encouraged participants to carry on their research after the  completion so that they can implement the applications into real life situations to empower the indeginous languages and culture through FOSS.


The event was another great achievement for both partners based on the quality of projects’ outcomes and the awareness of the concepts raised before, during and after the competition. With the support from UNESCO nominated indigenous experts, the young developers successfully developed innovative open source applications that support the dissemination of good practices with regard to indigenous languages and increase access to multilingual information and knowledge by leveraging open data and knowledge-sharing.


Hackathon sessions at FOSSASIA Summit 2019: https://youtu.be/J53lT5IhkjY

FOSSASIA Summit 2019 Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/zrJnma6s1a1xPCu89

FOSSASIA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fossasia

FOSSASIA Videos: https://www.youtube.com/fossasiaorg

FOSSASIA Calendar: https://calendar.fossasia.org

Continue ReadingUNESCO Hackathon at FOSSASIA Summit 2019

UNESCO Hackathon Vietnam 2018 Wrap Up

204 participants gathered at the UNESCO Hackathon over the weekend of October 13 – 14 in Ho Chi Minh City to develop digital applications that tackle climate change and sustainable development challenges in Vietnam and the Mekong region. The event was a great success thanks to support from the Government of Malaysia, UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative and Officience.

24 project teams were formed during the Hackathon. With the dedication of team members and mentorship from facilitators, all teams managed to complete their hacks. It was challenging for the judges to make their final decision as all proposed solutions appeared to be innovative and applicable. The three winning teams were Klima Kage, Climap & Bird’s Eye View. Additionally, the judges also selected three runner-ups ThreeWolves, DBTFC & GreenELF, whose projects directly address the issues related to climate change in the country.

Winning Projects: Klima Kage, Bird’s Eye View and Climap

Klima Kage is a website application which consists of two parts: main page and community page. The main page contains data from open source database and tutorials extracted from the UNESCO handbook for journalists on climate change and sustainable development in Asia Pacific, which directly assist journalists in selecting data to monitor.

On the community side, there is a forum for discussion and a news section where relevant articles will be published. The team decided to give priority to female journalists (ration 6:4) in reviewing and releasing news articles on this page, as a way to raise public awareness on gender dimension. SUSI.AI was also integrated into the web app to record users’ behaviour and offer suggestions for their next visits.

Klima Kage (Sieben) Team

Bird’s Eye View is a mobile game built in unity with an objective to educate people about the impacts of climate change on all kind of creatures under the sea. In each level of the game, players are brought into a different coastal city in Vietnam, where they learn about the real problems which are happening to the regional aquatic animals.

The game was designed to target on younger age groups, who generally have less awareness on environmental issues, yet are expected to create big differences in the community once they grow up. In the future, the development team hopes to expand the application, to include more terrains and other kinds of animals in order to provide players with a more overall image of the situation in Vietnam and the region.

Bird’s Eye View app presented by ‘Why triple teas?’ Team

Climap is the last project selected as a winner of the hackathon. Proposed and developed by a team of young developers from Ho Chi Minh City, Climap acts as an EXIF based Image Sharing System that enables users to to collect and instantly share data/images of places before, during and after disasters happen (due to the impacts of climate change). 

By using Climap, users can view all relevant data from the uploaded photos including: its location, weather index, and the occurred events/incidents, etc. They can write tags for each picture to label what was happening at that moment so the data can be further analyzed by local authorities or responsible institutions.

Climap by BIT Team

Talks and Workshops

Alongside with the hacking competition, tech talks and workshops were hosted to support the participants and provide them crucial knowledge of the topics.

Panel Discussion: A Green Planet for All

At the beginning of the hackathon, Hong Phuc Dang (FOSSASIA Founder) led a panel discussing featuring Misako Ito (UNESCO Advisor for Information and Communication), Pham Lan Phuong (Author Khai Don) and Tran Le Thu Giang (Youtuber GiangOi) to uncover the concepts of climate change and sustainable development under the own perspectives. The conversation offered the audience specific answers on how they can practice sustainable development in every aspects of their daily lives.

Panel Discussion: A Green Planet for All

Workshops: Working with Git/Github and Doing Electronics Experiments with PSLab

PadMal M, FOSSASIA/PSLab Lead Developer delivered two workshops, when he showed participants how contributors can effectively work together on an open source project using Github and what electronics experiments can be performed using PSLab (Pocket Science Lab – a hardware device by FOSSASIA). Together with FOSSASIA robotics expert, Marco Gutiérrez, the two successfully developed and integrated a robot into the PSLab device, which amazed participants and audience alike.

Learn how to perform scientific experiments using PSLab

Robotics integration on PSLab device by Marco Gutiérrez and Padmal M

Experience the world’ first portable CO2 Laser Cutter by LionsForge

Kee Wee Teng, Founder at LionsForge is a maker at heart, he always felt that the laser cutter, being such a useful tool, should be more accessible. He believed this type of machine should be safer so that everyone can use it for their own needs. After two years working on several designs and samples, Kee Wee and his team finally introduced to the world the CraftLaser laser cutter, a portable yet powerful machine that can be safely use at home, in the schools or even in public places.

Kee Wee Teng, Founder/CEO at LionsForge explained the CraftLaser’s operation procedures,

then shared how he successfully got the project fully funded from Indiegogo in just a week.

Video Footage of UNESCO Hackathon Vietnam 2018


Hackathon Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/tJRN2b3mayNy6FcE6

FOSSASIA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fossasia

FOSSASIA Videos: https://www.youtube.com/fossasiaorg

FOSSASIA Calendar: https://calendar.fossasia.org

Posts on the Web

UNESCO Bangkok: UNESCO Hackathon sets its sights on climate change solutions in Asia-Pacific

LionsForge Singapore: UNESCO Hackathon in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Vietnamese-German University News: VGU students won first prize at UNESCO Hackathon Vietnam  

Share your write-ups about UNESCO Hackathon by making a tweet using hashtag #UNESCOHackathon #YouthMobile @fossasia @YouthMobile_ 

Continue ReadingUNESCO Hackathon Vietnam 2018 Wrap Up