A hackathon to promote the economic empowerment of women in Morocco

The Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy and the World Bank held on 18 March 2017 in Casablanca the Hackathon 'EmpowerHer-ساندوها', an initiative to support the economic empowerment of women in rural and peri-urban areas.

This initiative aims to promote the economic empowerment of women in disadvantaged areas. Such women have a potential to work but are facing various constraints impeding their contribution to local economic development.

The goal is to put young people and technology at the service of these women to innovate and develop applications and technological solutions to help address the constraints they face.

This project, which has already proved itself in other countries, is consistent with the actions taken by Morocco aiming at an inclusive digital economy and the promotion of an innovation spirit and a culture of entrepreneurship. As digital social entrepreneurship is a key driver of social inclusion and integration of disadvantaged populations in the present knowledge-based society and digital economy.

The first phase of this pilot project brought together, in a brainstorming workshop on 24 February 2017, about 60 students who enrolled in the competition and thirty women's associations representing the North, Centre and South of Morocco. The aim was to create synergies with the help of coaches in the areas of digital technologies, management and business, and to understand, up close, the main constraints and challenges hampering the associations in the development of their activities.

At the end of this phase, a consensus was reached on the three themes of the competition, namely: assistance and skill development, marketing strategy and transport and logistics. About 10 teams were formed around these topics who will compete to prototype the best solutions to the problems formulated by the associations of women in disadvantaged situations. .

Coaching sessions have helped young developers designing solutions to address the identified issues.

On 18 March 2017 the selected developers presented before a jury, and in the presence of the women's associations, the result of their work and the solutions created to address the problems identified. Prizes were awarded to the three best project.

The winning projects will be deployed within the associations participating in the Hackathon, with a view to extending the operation to all associations throughout Kingdom. The deployment of such projects will be benefit from the support of the partners involved in this initiative.

Awards prizes:
- The first prize was won by the application proposing thematic videos, expert tips and advice to women. The application aims at promoting capacity building for women's associations. It is developed by Yasser SBAI, graduate of Fez Private University (Software Architecture); Hajar HANOUTI, PhD student at the Faculty of Sciences, Meknes; Mehdi HAJJOUJI, graduate of Fez Private University (Computer Engineering) and Tarik HAJJI, graduate of Fez Private University.
- The Second Prize was awarded to a multi-channel e-marketing application, which gives associations greater visibility on the web and better interaction with their target customers. It is developed by Salma KHALED, a student at the National School of Applied Sciences of Fez; Sara ZALHAT, a student at the National School of Commerce and Management of Fez and Younes BENARBI student at Faculty of Juridical Sciences, Economic and Social - Fez.
- The third prize was awarded to the 3D e-commerce website, which highlights the tourism potential of the Moroccan regions as well as the art and crafts created by local artisan woman. The site provides a 360 ° view of the associations activities along with fun and engaging games for visitors. This project was developed by a team of graduates of the Higher School of Technology in Fez, composed of Mohammed ELASRI; Othmane YOUSSEFI and Adnan Haloui.