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Belizean youth present ideas for post-COVID relief efforts in international hackathon

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Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2021. 9:22 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A group of Belizeans have come out on top of a regional competition to develop new ideas that support the COVID-19 recovery response.

Aesthetics Marketing Solutions pitched CaribTravels, a web page, and app that alerts tourists interested in visiting Caribbean countries on changes regarding the country’s travel policy during the pandemic and regulated events. They won US$800 (BZ$1,600) for their efforts.

The Trust for the Americas, an NGO affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS), hosted the competition “Byte the π: Caribbean Hackathon.” This virtual hackathon invited public sector and civil society participants from Belize, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago, to use Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) to develop disruptive ideas that help foster post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The event was organized in collaboration with the Developing the Caribbean (DevCa) initiative, The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) of Trinidad and Tobago, the Institute of Law and Economics (ILE) of Jamaica, the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), the Ministry of Youth, Sports & E-Governance of Belize, The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), and the OAS National Office in Belize; with the financial support of Citi Foundation and the United States of America Embassy in Belmopan.

The hackathon focused on the “Open Response + Open Recovery for COVID-19″ campaign, which seeks to highlight Open Government fundamental values, such as transparency, participation, inclusion, and accountability. All crucial for the recovery phase. The 60 participants, divided into 18 teams, were encouraged to use the given 48 hours to come up with solutions that address everyday local challenges in the following two areas of work: economic recovery through tourism, and access to health care, in particular COVID-19 testing and vaccination facilities.

Participants also came from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

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