AIWF President & Founder Haifa Al Kaylani was invited to serve recently as part of the final selection committee for the first edition of the #DigitalAg4Her Hackathon, organised by The World Bank Group’s Mashreq Gender Facility and Agriculture and Food Global Practice, which aimed to crowdsource and support innovative ICT-based solutions through women led-initiatives, tailored to enhance women’s productivity in the #agrifoodtech sector in Lebanon.
The Hackathon was organised in collaboration with Berytech, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture in Lebanon, and with the technical support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Through the online hackathon, teams of innovators led by women discovered real challenges facing the agri-food sector across Lebanon, learn how to transform their idea into a valid business solution through intensive online workshops, prototype their solution, and then pitch it to a panel of judges.
Held online over ten consecutive days, the hackathon was an exciting opportunity for teams to engage with technologies such as Internet of Things, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence. Professionals and experts from different backgrounds were given the opportunity to learn, experiment and build agri-food solutions that can lead them to create their own start-ups.
The jury, which convened virtually on Tuesday 08 June 2021, also included Constantin Salameh, Investment Expert; Maurice Saade, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) representative in Lebanon; Reem Nejdawi, Chief Food and Environment Policies Section at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia – ESCWA; and Wafaa El Dikah Hamzé, Senior Adviser at the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.
During the selection session, the eight shortlisted finalists from the 20 participating teams pitched their solution and presented their demos to the jury to the DigitalAg4Her Hackathon. The quality of the presentations was outstanding, and three winners were selected to receive in-kind grants for services up to the value of $4,000 (such as advisory services), as well as further technical and business support with fellow innovators.
Haifa Al Kaylani said: “Innovate in the Agri-Food Sector was an important platform to support women’s productivity in the agri-food sector in Lebanon and as President & Founder of the Arab International Women’s Forum, I was proud to participate among a distinguished panel of judges and to hear the remarkable presentations of the finalists which we all found so deeply inspiring.”
“I reiterate how proud we are at AIWF to be a longstanding partner of the World Bank in our shared mission to support and empower women and young people in the Arab world. In recent years, AIWF has also engaged closely with the FAO, the Center for Mediterranean Integration, and with Arab Ministries of Agriculture, as part of our Sustainability & STEM track, on initiatives that support innovation solutions to the food security and water scarcity challenges in the region, both of which intersect with the ongoing development issues of gender empowerment and youth unemployment.”
The three winners were announced at the end of the session as: Pure Farms, Kawafungo, and Rivaland. The winners will now go through a two-month incubation period at Berytech to further develop their idea.
AIWF extends its warmest congratulations to the exceptionally talented teams that participated and presented in the hackathon, and looks forward to supporting Berytech, the World Bank, and the FAO in its future programmes and all their remarkable work to support women in technology and entrepreneurship, in Lebanon and throughout the MENA Region.
Watch the event on YouTube here.
For more information about Berytech programmes please click here.
#MGF #womenempowerment #innovation #startup #agrifood #womeninagriculture #agritech #aiwfinaction