Climathon was originally conceptualised as a hackathon by Climate-KIC, and has since taken off as a global movement, engaging citizens with climate action — and providing cities with continued support on the unique challenges they face, according to their website.
This year, the event took place concurrently in 116 cities where students, entrepreneurs, programmers and policy makers congregated to work on determining innovative solutions to local climate change challenges. Bangladesh became part of the movement for the first time this year. In Dhaka, the event took place from October 26 - 27 at The Daily Star Centre's various halls. Gen Lab, a youth led social enterprise, partnered with Star Youth, The Daily Star, European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) & IPDC Finance as prime organiser of the programme. The focal points of the challenge for the participants were, “How can Dhaka manage its waste effectively and efficiently at a low cost?” and “How can Dhaka build an energy efficient system where the citizens can use renewable energy as the main source of power?”
Ratul Dev, the founder of Gen Lab welcomed all the guests and participants during the inauguration, followed by welcome speeches from guests along with their expert opinions on climate change. Arif M Faisal, Programme Specialist, UNDP Bangladesh; Utpal Bhattacharjee, a leading expert in the field of energy and climate change; Md Khurshid Alam, Assistant Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh and Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary, Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Development, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh were also speakers.
Team building and project introduction sessions, followed by a guest speech by Professor Doctor Ainun Nishat, a pioneering expert on water resource management and climate change in Bangladesh, were also organised. During his talk, the professor asked the youth to focus on solid scientific facts instead of being overpowered by emotions when it comes to taking actions. Further discussions were conducted by Nusrat Jahan, Project Management Expert, UNDP; Tajdin Hassan, Head of Marketing, The Daily Star and others.
Interactive energisers like Zumba, Krav Maga, live music and yoga, were also carried out periodically, to which the participants reacted with much relief and joy. Later in the evening, the contestants engaged in intense brainstorming sessions where they came up with numerous ideas. The sessions were coordinated by mentors Sajib Hassan from Bangladesh Bank and Sidhartho Goshwami, UNDP. While pulling an all-nighter, the active participants from the eight different teams selected their best works to proceed with and shared it with each other. Next, the teams worked on “solution design”. After dinner, team Micro Beats from Dhaka connected with a team from Hong Kong via Skype, where they both exchanged their ideas.
After a refreshing yoga session and breakfast, the teams were ready to pitch their ideas to the jury members, Shababa Ishayat Haque, SDG Coordinator, ICCCAD and Saudia Anwer, Capacity Building Specialist, UNDP. The jury board was exceptionally impressed by the feasible ideas and encouraged the participants to carry them forward and manage funds for implementation.
The winners for Waste Management and Renewable Energy were Team Green Bees and Team Boost, respectively. The media partners for the event were Star Youth, The Daily Star, Somoy TV and Daily Samakal.