Students exploring the potential of blockchain technology to address challenges in their community

Students win UNICEF funding for project to make university dormitories waiting lists publicly available

UNICEF Ukraine
group photo of all participants outside
UNICEF Ukraine

01 October 2019

Kyiv/Lviv, UKRAINE, 16 September 2019 – A team of students who plan to make waiting lists for student dormitories publicly available for the first time have won first prize at BIG (Blockchain Impact for Good) Hackathon, organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lviv, Ukraine.

Their proposed idea, which uses open blockchain-based database technology to reveal the number of vacant places and list of applicants at universities across the country, will now be refined and implemented thanks with the help of USD 3,000 from UNICEF.

The idea came to the team from their own experiences of struggling to gain places in dormitories and eventually settling in hostels.

“Often, students cannot move into a university dormitory because the number of available rooms is hidden,” says Viktoria Melnychuk, who devised the team’s idea. “It creates space for corruption schemes, where rooms are for sale and not even necessarily for students. We want student placement in dormitories to be open and transparent.”

The team were taking part in a ‘hackathon’ event, organized by UNICEF and Lviv City Council , where youngsters brainstormed ideas for social good. Second prize was awarded to a team from Odesa, who aimed to streamline emergency care provision to patients, from ambulance to hospital admission.

Their so called ‘Save Oleh’ project is also derived from personal experience. Oleh, one of the team members, sustained a serious head injury after being involved in a motorcycle accident.

“The ambulance quickly brought Oleh to a hospital, where he was first forced to wait for a doctor, then go to MRI room by himself – with a head injury – and buy the necessary medicines,” recalls fellow team member Serhii Shkrabak. “As a result, our friend had to wait forty minutes for care. If his injury were more serious, he might already have missed care.”

The team’s project aims to optimize the way in which doctors are found for emergency patients on arrival. “We don’t want people to die in line,” Serhii adds.

Third prize was awarded to a team from Lviv, whose project uses Blockchain technology to track charitable donations. “We want any organization to be able to do projects and raise funds for them,” says team member Oleh Kuprovskyi. “Blockchain will help make these donations transparent so that people can trust the organizations and track where their money have been spent. We offer transparency to organizations.”

A special prize from Lviv City Council was awarded to Lviv residents who sought to ensure unbiased grading of exam papers through the cross-checking of grades.

“All the proposed ideas are worth implementing,” says Artur Aivazov, Head of UNICEF Ukraine’s Department of Social Policy. “Because we did not just ask the participants to find solutions to problems of young people – we offered them the opportunity to address their own problem. Every participant has his or her own background, negative experience, and we gave them the opportunity to create a tool that will help others avoid the same problem. Hackathon is a right format for UNICEF Ukraine. Our results are illustrative of the effectiveness of this format.”

In total, nine teams took part in the hackathon event. Participants from Dnipro, Odesa, Kharkiv, Lviv, Kyiv and Sloviansk offered technological solutions to social problems. A total of 116 applications from all over Ukraine, as well as from the UK, Belgium and Azerbaijan, were submitted to the hackathon. The youngest participant to have applied was just eight years old.

Implementation of the project in Ukraine was made possible with the support of partners: City Institute, MoloDvizh Centre Lviv, SoftServe, Lviv IT Cluster and Bloqly blockchain platform.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/ukraine. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

 

For more information, please contact: Nina Sorokopud, UNICEF Ukraine, nsorokopud@unicef.org, +380 50 388 2951.