A dose of competition can unleash an outpouring of innovation.
PSI Pakistan organized a 48-hour virtual hackathon to develop ideas for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions. In a country with heightened food and water insecurity, tools to support individuals to plan for the families that they want and resources they need are critical.
On August 6, 2021, PSI Pakistan launched the SRH hackathon, shortlisting 45 teams of the 300 submissions received. The resulting winner – young leader Laraib Abid – pitched Bridge the Gap, a free, user-friendly mobile application that consists of information on contraceptive methods for both men and women, geo-fencing of free clinics and corresponding tele-health phone numbers and a “life skills” toolkit.
The inspiration came from Abid’s own life experiences.
As she shared:
“When I pitched Bridge the Gap mobile application idea back in 2019, it was solely out of a conversation I had with a married friend who was looking forward to the information regarding contraceptives. Since then, we have been tirelessly working to make an impact with our sustainable digital mobile and web solutions.
As a winner of PSI now, prize money would be utilized in its dissemination virtually helping to market during COVID.
The culture of idea pitching should be encouraged here because it can create sustainable solutions. This hackathon gave us insights about making idea better and bigger. Meaningful youth participation is only helpful when such platforms are available to grow and polish.
Youth has suffered in various ways during pandemic. Pakistan needs more digital platforms specifically after COVID situation. Young people are an asset, and it is a high time we create multiple opportunities to support youth meaningfully to its core.
I hope to see more youth creating solutions.”