U.S. Embassy Embassy-Sponsored Hackathon Focused on Countering Misinformation

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa hosted the fourth hackathon as part of its Ethiopia Hacks! Program.  In anticipation of World Press Freedom day, Ethiopia Hacks! 4.0 challenged participants to develop technological solutions for online fact checking.

Participants began their work on Friday, April 19, with presentations from U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Nick Barnett, Associated Press Journalist Elias Meseret, and Executive Director for U.S.-based fact checking organization Politifact Aaron Sharockman, who outlined the problem and potential paths to solutions.

After working on their ideas over the weekend, each team presented their concepts to a panel of judges to compete for first, second, and third place prizes. The first place team was ‘SHETECH’ a group of five women from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. The solution SHETech developed uses a Google Chrome extension to check the trustworthiness of a news and warn users about potentially false information before they share it.

By supporting and developing an eco-system that promotes innovation, and technology, the U.S. Embassy is investing in the capacity of Ethiopians to shape their future. In total, the Ethiopia Hacks! Program will invest in the capacity of 600 tech-savvy youth, over the course of 12 hackathons. Funding is provided jointly by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ethiopia Hacks! is conducted in partnership with the Google Developers Group (GDG- Addis) and the Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE).  Each hackathon invites ten teams of five young coders to devise technological solutions to challenges in Ethiopia over three days.

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