This last weekend saw the first hackathon ever to occur in the country of Moldova, and they definitely made it their own. For a country that is just starting to build its civic hacker community, the results were nothing short of remarkable: 85 participants set to work almost immediately within impressive, self-organized team structures to produce 18 functional apps.
In traditional terms, this hackathon could be described as more of a code sprint for the final three days of a prize challenge, but even that description understates the innovation and complexity of the event format. In addition, it doesn’t do justice to all of the accomplishments that were achieved by the organizers as well as the participants.
Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe, between Romania and Ukraine. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and is striving to begin the process of joining the EU. It is also the recipient of a $20 million line of credit from the World Bank to fund its e-government efforts, as led by the e-Government Center (an official part of the Moldovan government). Moldova has an active developer community, but they are only beginning to connect with civil society and government. The country also just joined the Open Government Partnership , and has approved a National Action Plan that commits the government to self-improvement in multiple areas, one of which is the release of government data on the Moldovan Data Portal.
This hackathon, called the Open Innovation Challenge “Apps for Moldova,” was the culmination of Innovation Week, which was designed to engage the private sector and civil society in the launch of this National Action Plan. Putting on this event was truly a multi-lateral effort, including the e-Government Center and the World Bank along with local non-profits, developer organizations, and private sector companies.
For more, access here http://open4m.org/2012/05/24/moldova-re-invents-the-hackathon/