It may only take two days to begin to change the world. Computer hackers are dedicating a weekend in December to social change. Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is an event where technical talent and good intentions converge.
This year, for the first time, RHoK is coming to Vancouver and being led by Peacegeeks founder, Renee Black.
"I felt this was a worthwhile event because you can see the results of your efforts in just two days," says Black. "It also gives people in Vancouver an opportunity to reach beyond their community virtually and have a hand in helping social change organizations around Canada and the world."
PeaceGeeks is a non-profit organization that assists organizations worldwide working on peace, accountability and human rights projects by improving their access to technology. "We work in a virtual world, and so it was a natural fit to launch RHoK Vancouver as it directly relates to the mandate of PeaceGeeks."
Part of a larger global initiative, RHoK is a two-day hackathon that occurs in over 20 cities around the world with over 1,000 participants working on different projects relevant to their participants. RHoK's model is to start from identifying, defining and refining problem definitions provided by subject matter experts and local stakeholders.
From there, teams come together to develop open source solutions to address these challenges. Participating with RHoK provides a chance to be part of a global movement of tech for social good.
The impact of RHoK cannot be understated. In just two days, developers and volunteers in a Toronto RHoK event worked together to create a system to engage, promote, and improve First Nation and aboriginal access to water and sanitation in a project called WaterVoices.
Expectations on results are high for Vancouver, where eight non-profits have put forward projects that require technical expertise.
A team of volunteers is organizing the hackathon and choosing non-profit projects that work toward creating a positive impact. This year, Black chose to allow projects from both Canada and around the world so as not to limit the impact of the weekend to one region.
From ending poverty to connecting women peacebuilders, the Vancouver RHoK event pulls in local tech talent to donate valuable skills and time to worthy causes.
"RHoK provides people like me with a place to participate in global change and it gives us opportunities to make an impact on our local society using our professional skills," says volunteer Naoya Makino, a web development expert. "I am also there to connect with people with similar interests; people who would like to contribute in any way to greater causes by their professional skills; people who believe technology can make a significant impact to help solve social challenges."
Recognizing the value of this event for both volunteers and organizations, various sponsors have jumped on board to support what is essentially a weekend of meaningful change. Title and supporting sponsors EMC2 and Informatica bring beliefs in innovative IT to find creative solutions to community challenges. They are in good company.
The event will be held at GrowLab on Dec. 1-2, 2012, with an evening reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, sponsored by Granville Island Brewing. For more information, contact Renee Black at firstname.lastname@example.org at or visit the PeaceGeeks website.
Follow Megan Yarema on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@CWP_CSP