Group Develops App to Tackle Hate speech in Nigeria 

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Last week, on the 27th – 29th of November 2018, a team of young individuals emerged as winners of the 2018 Hate speech Hackathon competition in Nigeria after presenting a workable idea of developing an app called ‘SpeecTrack’ to solve the growing trend of hate speech in Nigeria.

The competition which was sponsored by MercyCorps in conjunction with GHR foundation organized a 3-days brainstorming hackathon competition for participants to think outside-the-box based on collaborative thinking with a range of perspectives on its causes, multipliers, and consequences.

The ‘Hate Speech Hackathon’ which was platform to lead cutting edge thinking around hate speech in Nigeria, housed different individuals such as journalists, civil society activists, social media influencers, tech experts, peace and conflict experts. The event also had in attendance, Rahama Baloni – Senior Program Officer, Conflict Management, Mercy Corps, Karen Smetana  -Program Manager, Mercy Corps Digital communities, Faye Mooney – Communications specialist.

The time-limited competition saw the emergence of a team comprising Sadiq Adebisi, Omolara Oshinowo and Lubem Mtile (team 1) winning the competition through the development of an innovative, implementable and scalable project that responds to the problem of hate speech in Nigeria. The team was awarded with a cash prize of $2000 which is to be splitted evenly between team members and they will have their idea piloted by Mercy Corps Nigeria.

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The Runner-up team comprising Vanessa Orji, Vincent Udoh and Ima lsip got a consolation cash prize of $1000 for developing a community based project approach to orientate the people through the process of working on the value system.

Summarily, the organizers posited that events like these clearly demonstrate “that technology could be harnessed to make a positive difference in the world, improving the lives of those who are vulnerable to harassment, isolation and bullying”.

The event which took place at Civic Hive Lagos had in attendance over 30 selected participants after a scrutiny of over 200 applicants as disclosed by the organizers. The shortlisted candidates who were formed into team developed various strategic programs which can be implemented and scaled. The three-day event also covered a training session by Twitter on counter-narratives and campaigning. The winning concept was awarded a cash prize which is to be piloted nationally by Mercy Corps.

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