On October 13-14, 2023, in the heart of Võru County, Estonia, the seventh edition of the Vunki Mano! social hackathon was held, continuing its five-year legacy of fostering community-driven solutions.
Social Hackathon: Beyond Business and Technology
A social hackathon is a creative marathon where individuals and teams converge to devise solutions for societal issues. Unlike its corporate counterpart, which typically focuses on technology and business, a social hackathon pivots towards community welfare and policy influence, merging the dynamism of collective brainstorming with the goal of social impact.
Vunki Mano has become a hallmark of innovative cross-disciplinary collaboration, problem-solving, drawing in minds from across the nation and beyond. It's a space where seasoned professionals and vibrant young minds come together. The hackathon's growth is a testament to its effectiveness, having boosted 72 ideas and been replicated in other counties and influencing policy-making through the EUARENAS project.
Check out the ideas from last year's Vunki Mano!
Inspiring Solutions: Vunki Mano's Winning Initiatives
Aire Kokk team's "Let's Make the Walls Talk!" emerged as the stellar idea at the VII Vunki Mano hackathon, aimed at transforming mental health support for youth.
In the serene backdrop of Võru County, a pressing issue was brought to light – the silent struggle of young people with mental health challenges. The solution, ingenious in its simplicity, proposes placing QR codes on school mirrors, directing students to essential mental health resources. This discreet yet powerful approach enables immediate access to support, encouraging students to take proactive steps towards mental wellness.
Complementing this, the idea "Parenting Knowledge and Skills Development" aims to create a generational shift towards more conscious and informed parenting, breaking the chain of dysfunctional family patterns. This project targets both expectant parents and those with young children, offering them a support system to navigate the challenges of parenthood with confidence and competence.
Both ideas underscores the hackathon's focus: to nurture future generations through innovative, scalable, and community-centered solutions.
Other winning ideas include:
Community Mental Health Service: A project to connect mental health service seekers with providers in Võru County, creating a database of specialists and a meeting place for discussions.
Let's boost the circular economy!: This project focused on reducing environmental damage through sustainable waste management, including public education and legislative suggestions for waste sorting.
Waldorf Education Complex in Võru: Aiming to create a comprehensive Waldorf education system from kindergarten to primary school for families in Võru County.
Mentoring in Kindergartens: This initiative focused on sustaining and restoring the joy and motivation of kindergarten teachers through a pilot mentorship programme.
Young people in NGOs: A project to empower youth in civic participation and leadership roles within their communities.
Local heritage themed education: A project to integrate local culture and language education more deeply with other cultural activities, aimed at enhancing cultural awareness among youth.
Village Business Portal (KÄP): This project aimed to create a local business portal for service providers and customers in Võru County, facilitating better connectivity and visibility of local businesses.
In a world where "wicked" problems defy simple solutions, Vunki Mano! stands as a beacon of collaborative problem-solving, marrying rural ingenuity with the hackathon spirit to craft policies and initiatives that resonate with the community's heartbeat.
Photo credit: Ula Malinska–Mark