New York, NEW YORK (February 18, 2021) – The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today announce their partnership on the Ageing Better Through ICTs hackathon, a first-of-its-kind global hackathon focused on innovation for the Silver Economy. The hackathon, conducted virtually, will draw participants from around the world and of all ages to generate ideas for information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the lives of older persons. Registration for the Ageing Better hackathon opens on February 19 and runs through March 15, 2021.
Tech innovation rarely focuses on the needs of older persons, despite the growing numbers, influence, and market share of this demographic. Today, many of the nearly two billion people over age 65 rely on ICTs in their daily lives that were designed with another user in mind. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that ICTs play in the lives of older persons and the urgent need to create technologies specifically designed for them.
“Our current experience has exposed critical gaps in healthcare, the economy, our cities and communities, our built environments, and our societies that disproportionately affect older persons, contributing to poorer health, greater isolation, and lower quality of life,” said Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging. “The Ageing Better with ICTs hackathon challenges us to take inspiration from what we have learned over the past year and apply our creative thinking to build a better future for older persons around the world.”
The hackathon will inspire innovation in four challenge areas:
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline
- Transportation and Mobility
- Financial Tools for Longevity
Participants of all ages will build ideas that solve for problems in these challenge areas that are both replicable and scalable. A panel of expert judges comprised of leaders from the UN, the WHO, and the private sector will select one winning idea in each challenge area, awarding a cash prize of $1,000 (USD). The winning teams will also have access to six months of mentorship through GCOA and its member companies to develop their concept for release.
The WSIS Forum – organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP, and UNCTAD – is the world’s largest annual gathering of the ICT for Development community.
“We are excited to partner with the WSIS Forum 2021 and to launch the Ageing Better hackathon just as the UN and WHO themselves prepare to kick off the Decade of Healthy Ageing,” said Hodin. “Together, we are engaging the brightest minds of all ages to build a brighter future for the older persons of today and tomorrow.”
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The WSIS Forum, co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line Facilitators/Co-Facilitators, has proven to be an efficient mechanism for coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation activities, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices and continues to provide assistance in developing multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships to advance development goals. This Forum will provide structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation. The Agenda and Programme of the Forum will be built on the basis of the submissions received during the Open Consultation Process. The Forum enables participation from all over the world to engage with high-level representatives of the wider WSIS Stakeholder community, including ministers and deputies, ambassadors, as well as leaders from the private sector, academia and civil society. Furthermore, the WSIS Forum 2021 will provide an opportunity to serve as a platform to track the achievements of WSIS Action Lines in collaboration with the UN Agencies involved and provide information and analyses of the implementation of WSIS Action Lines since 2005. For more information, visit www.wsis.org/forum