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'Hackathon Hacking for an empowered Nepal’ to take place from May 11-13, 2024

B360
B360 March 31, 2024, 11:14 am
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KATHMANDU: On Friday, March 29, 2024, the SHEQUAL Foundation, in partnership with the US Embassy, hosted an Ideathon as a pre-event for Nepal's largest all-female Hackathon: "Hacking for Empowered Nepal." The event took place at the Padma Kanya Campus, showcasing a collaborative effort to promote innovation and empowerment among Nepalese women in the tech industry.

SHEQUAL Foundation, as the name implies, is derived from the powerful notion of "She is equal." SHEQUAL aims to promote innovation and empowerment among Nepalese women in the tech industry. Operating in all seven provinces of Nepal, SHEQUAL addresses various aspects of women's lives through six core areas, engaging people of all ages. “What sets SHEQUAL apart is its commitment to a 360-degree approach, acknowledging that societal change requires the involvement of all stakeholders. Whether it is educating girls on sexual reproductive health or advocating for gender equality in governance, SHEQUAL actively engages parents, teachers, and even male counterparts to foster a collective responsibility for change”, quoted the co-founders Melisha Ghimire and Astha Sharma.

SHEQUAL is organizing pre-events, including ideathons and innovation challenges, across various colleges and venues nationwide to encourage girls to propose solutions to societal problems, focusing on problem-solving skills. Participants engage in activities such as eye-to-eye introductions with mentors, bridge conversations, idea conversion into chart papers, and delivering one-minute elevator pitches. The main event, scheduled for May 11th to 13th, will culminate in an award ceremony where participants and mentors come together to celebrate their achievements. This year's theme, "Hacking for an Empowered Nepal," encompasses five key aspects: government, art and culture, health and lifestyle, economic empowerment, and sustainability."

Urja Newa, Event and Partnership Manager at SHEQUAL, stated, "The hackathon is not just a competition; it's a celebration of women's empowerment. SHEQUAL organizes this event exclusively for females due to societal hindrances that often discourage girls from participating in such activities, such as concerns about safety and overnight stays."

Chelan Bliss, Chief consular at US embassy also acknowledged the historical dominance of men in technology worldwide. She highlighted the need for events like the ideathon, where women can showcase their talents and contribute to the ongoing transformation of the tech landscape. "Today promises to be challenging," Bliss remarked, "But I envision it as more than just a competition, it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate women in technology." She also feels an obligation to the US embassy, which actively supports initiatives aimed at empowering young women in technology. She emphasized that while change may not happen overnight, events like the ideathon serve as important stepping stones toward a more inclusive and equitable tech industry. In closing, Bliss encouraged participants to inspire, educate, and motivate their peers, fostering a collaborative environment where women can thrive and contribute to a better world through technology.

As the opening ceremony drew to a close, attendees from various departments and faculties of Padma Kanya College were recognized for their presence. Additionally, mentors were introduced, symbolically greeted with tokens of appreciation and support.

 

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