Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: A Hackathon for GirlsBusiness Features

Accenture Philippines supports hackathon for girls

Hoping to encourage the youth, especially girls, to get into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Accenture Philippines threw its support to a weeklong hackathon “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: A Hackathon for Girls” in partnership with Purposeful Mochi.

Before the pandemic, Accenture has been holding workshops and events that support inclusion and diversity such as hackathons. Purposeful Mochi is the brainchild of student Mona Obedoza, who is also an ambassador for Women in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Girls Can Code.

“Part of our culture (at Accenture) is to create an environment where everyone can thrive, focusing on gender equality,” said Jenny Hans, Inclusion and Diversity Executive Sponsor, Accenture Philippines. “We believe that diversity brings innovation and when people come from different backgrounds, we re able to deliver more innovative solutions for our clients.”

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Tasked to come up with ideas and innovations on how to solve problems in the areas of agriculture, education, and climate change, the participants used programming languages such as Scratch (for those who are just beginning to code), Appinventiv (for mobile development), and Machine Learning for Kids (for introduction to artificial intelligence or AI).

Real-world problems

“We focused on the areas of agriculture, education, and climate change because we believe these are the most important problems that are relevant to our country,” Obedoza said. 

Obedoza started coding after kindergarten and has attended hackathons from different parts of the world.

“When I joined hackathons I noticed that there was minimal attendance in girls, especially hackathons in the Philippines,” she said. “Through this activity, I want to show them how fun and exciting the world of technology is.”

The culminating activity, held at the Accenture Innovation Hub, saw young girls, ages 10 to 17, and from different schools in the Philippines (including one from Cebu who joined the hackathon virtually), pitching their prototypes that aim to solve real-world problems.

Accenture also provided the young girls with subject matter experts who helped them come up with ideas to work on. 

Team B from De La Salle Zobel Santiago emerged as the champion of the seven teams that participated for their app that promotes proper waste segregation and disposal.

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