Dialog Ideamart Partners with UNDP Sri Lanka to Pioneer Techno-Social Innovation


Sri Lanka’s first social innovation hackathon

(UNDP Media Release) – 11th August, UN Compound, Colombo. Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] in Sri Lanka, Mr. Joern Soerensen and Dialog Axiata PLC General Manager – Product Service Innovation, Mr. Venura Mendis signed a partnership agreement today to hold Sri Lanka’s first social innovation hackathon.

Titled, “Hack-A-Dev 2015: Impact through Innovation”, the hackathon will be structured around 3 core issue pillars – Civic Engagement, Electronic Waste Management, and Enterprise and Employment, with gender, youth and accessibility for the disabled as crosscutting themes. This partnership, which comes on the eve of International Youth Day 2015 to be celebrated both locally and globally under the ‘Youth and Civic Engagement’ theme, will bring one of Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunications providers and the development arm of the United Nations and a key development partner in Sri Lanka, together in an effort to find innovative and unconventional solutions to some of the greatest development challenges.

In order to communicate the development challenges to the participants more effectively, a pre-hack awareness session will be held on the 25th of August at the Dialog Axiata Corporate Head Office Auditorium. At this event several UNDP development practitioners will engage with the participants and illustrate the various challenges present within each of the core pillars in addition to the bottlenecks within existing systems and mechanism. The participants will also be provided with trilingual fact sheets that complement the respective presentations.

Commenting on the partnership Mr. Soerensen noted, “This collaboration with a leading private sector partner like Dialog is a pioneering moment in techno-social innovation and sustainable human development in Sri Lanka.” Speaking further, he stated, “Bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds and regions, irrespective of expertise, to identify and develop solutions to our greatest development challenges is a transformative step in the right direction”.

Commenting on this partnership, Dialog Axiata General Manager – Product Service Innovation, Mr. Venura Mendis noted, “The Dialog Ideamart and UNDP partnership is a significant achievement for social innovation in Sri Lanka.

Ideamart is a world recognized Developer ecosystem which is always keen on creating tech startups, empowering entrepreneurs and providing tools and technologies to create products and services which would make an impact for good. As the technology partner, through the “Hack-A-Dev” hackathon we are enthusiastic and excited to see innovative solutions being produced to empower Sri Lankan lives.”

The signing of the official partnership took place on Tuesday, the 11th of August at the UNDP Country Office at the United Nations Compound in Colombo.