SI Camp finds Solutions to Social Problems
Hustle, bustle and innovation at SI Camp hosted at Crumlin Road Gaol in November 2014.

SI Camp finds Solutions to Social Problems

05 December 2014

Students from Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, North West College and Digital Media Choices came together recently to participate in the first major SI Camp event to take place in Northern Ireland.

Working alongside the Building Change Trust, SI Camp spent six months speaking to community leaders and organisations to develop a list of the most pressing social problems.

They also approached several educational establishments to attract students from a variety of disciplines in order to find creative digital solutions to the challenges.

The one-day event took place at the Crumlin Road Gaol and the students were presented with nine social challenges. By the end of the day, each team needed to have developed a prototype solution to one of the challenges.

The winners on the day were the Now Project with their Just a Minute (JAM) Card initiative, TAMHI who asked how technology could be used to support sports clubs to focus on delivering sport – rather than back room functions and the Sandy Row Community Forum who looked at creating a community database.

An honourable mention, for the most creative thinking went to The Grand Picture House for their work on how to use technology to capture and share stories across generations and communities.

This SI Camp model was first created and run in the UK. Now the camps are spreading quickly around the world, even as far as Nigeria, South Korea, Australia, the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan, with the founding team in London helping to set up a unique version in each location.

Speaking after the event Patricia Flanaghan, Project Manager, SI Camp, said: “The main principle behind all SI Camp events is ‘Tech for Social Good’. This was the first time that we have held an event of this kind in Northern Ireland and it was great to get started with so much involvement and support from the education sector.

"We brought together students from different backgrounds who contributed their ideas and opinions to find solutions for the collective social good.

"Giving them the opportunity to solve a live social challenge on the day was a great experience for everyone involved and many of our challenge owners left with new concepts which could be developed further".

Paul Braithwaite, Development and Implementation Officer, Building Change Trust, said: “SI Camp got off to a great start in Northern Ireland with this event at the Crumlin Road Gaol. The Trust is keen to support digital innovation within the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

"We recognise that technology holds a great ability to change the way that we react to and find solutions to social problems and SI Camp brings this knowledge into practice".

Up next in this exciting initiative is for the Trust and SI Camp to work with the groups to see how they can use their prize money to develop their ideas further.

Also, the Trust will be launching a Techies in Residence programme early in 2015, and will be looking at how some of the groups from the SI Camp project can be involved in that exciting initiative.

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