Call for Code adds COVID-19 to 2020 challenge

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The theme of the recently announced 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge has been expanded to include the growing threat of Coronavirus pandemic.

Set up as a five-year, $30 million global initiative, Call for Code was launched two years ago by the David Clark Cause in partnership with IBM, as well as United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation. Its stated aim is to encourage developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies, and to create new ones, to develop practical open source applications that will drive positive and long-lasting change across the world.

The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge was initially focused on fighting climate change, which the organisers categorised as “the single most pressing issue facing the world today”.

That was just three weeks ago.

Announcing the expanded theme at the weekend, the Call for Code organisers stated: “In a brief period, much has changed. COVID-19 has spread across the world with unprecedented effect and now has the potential to become the greatest crisis of modern times. From its inception, Call for Code was created to take on society’s most pressing issues, which is why we are expanding this year’s Challenge to address both climate change and COVID-19.”

They have made tools available to assist developers to build open source technology solutions that address three main COVID-19 areas:

1. Crisis communication
During an emergency because, communications systems are among the first to become overwhelmed, yet they play a critical role in helping communities understand everything they need to know as quickly as possible.

2. Remote education 
Ways are needed to improve remote learning because, with self-isolation, children are being stuck indoors for long periods and need to be kept engaged, entertained and on top of their education.

3. Community cooperation
Self-isolation and the challenges this brings require an understanding not only of what is happening in one’s community, but also how individuals can help others. Technology can be used to promote, inspire and facilitate cooperative communities.

“Together, we have the power to use the latest technology in ways that make an immediate and lasting humanitarian impact in local communities and across the globe. Thank you for answering the call in this unprecedented time in our history,” IBM said in a statement.

Submissions opened on 22 March and close on 31 July 2020.  Winners will receive $200 000 in cash. 

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