On the occasion of the visit of Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2–4 March 2020, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Amman along with its partners Zain, Innovation Norway, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Jordan Entrepreneurship & Innovation Association (JEIA), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Crown Prince Foundation (CPF) are launching a hackathon which will take place between 20-29 February, 2020, at the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC), and Techworks in Amman. The hackathon connects a multitude of actors in solving humanitarian and development challenges within the energy sector.
In the case of Jordan, the energy sector presents one of the most pressing challenges facing the country today. While Jordan has been expanding its clean energy portfolio over the recent years, it is estimated that the majority of the electricity generated in the Kingdom still comes from imported fossil fuels. This affects the price of electricity for the Jordanian consumer, and results in high levels of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. In addition, the influx of Syrian refugees, of which more than 80% reside in Jordanian host communities, has added to the rapidly increasing demand for electricity.
The ’Jordan Energy Hackathon 2020’ will bring together youth, start-ups, organisations and refugees to find innovative solutions the following challenges:
- How can households become more energy efficient and reduce their electricity consumption?
- How can households apply innovative approaches to monitor and control electricity consumption?
- How can innovative approaches and new technology be utilized to ensure that people in the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps have equitable access to electricity?
At the ZINC facilities and the Fabrication Labs in the King Hussein Business Park, teams made up of youth, start-ups, refugees, tech enthusiasts, organizations and participants from a wide range of backgrounds will receive direct mentorship from leading experts and professionals in a variety of fields, including climate, environment, energy and business throughout the 10-day hackathon.
Winners will receive a cash grant of up to JD 6,000 from Zain at an award ceremony in conjunction with the Norwegian state visit to Jordan. They will also get the chance to collaborate with UNDP Jordan’s Accelerator Lab to further test and prototype their solutions and receive support in identifying opportunities for scaling. Investors and business delegations will be introduced to the promising ideas coming out of the hackathon in order to assist in the adoption of the most successful solutions.
For humanitarian organisations, an additional outcome of the hackathon is that the opportunity to apply for funding from the Humanitarian Innovation Programme (HIP) managed by Innovation Norway. The programme will have a call for proposals in the Spring of 2020.
Commenting on the hackathon, H.E. Ambassador of Norway to Jordan and Iraq, Mrs. Tone Allers, said: “Collaboration on innovation between different actors - including humanitarian and development actors, private enterprises and entrepreneurs, is essential if we are to maximize the potential for generating innovative ideas and learning across sectors. This hackathon is a perfect example of what we can achieve when we combine expertise from different sectors to address global challenges.”