Caritakathon 2013

Caritakathon 2013

This thank you letter sums up the essence of Caritakathon and our take as organizers of the event. We hope that’s what all the participants took away from it as well.

For our first time organizing a 2-day hackathon, which is almost as major as putting together a 2-day web design conference (if not more so, since people stayed overnight) we did a pretty good job! When the teams presented the websites for the organizations it felt a bit surreal seeing the culmination of everything: those websites are real and are being turned over to the organizations. Our proof of concept worked.

Not all of the sites were deployed online at the time of presentation, but here’s about half of the list. Don’t they look great? Even better is that several of these teams have continued to work with the organizations beyond the event.

Lasallian Institute For the Environment website by Atoms

Lasallian Institute For the Environment by Atoms

Tondo Blessed Hope Bible Baptist Church website by Fox Free Company

Winner: Tondo Blessed Hope Bible Baptist Church by Fox Free Company

Fit for School website by Osom Awesome

Fit for School by Osom Awesome

Fundamental Learning Academy for Girls website by Four Eyes

Fundamental Learning Academy for Girls by Four Eyes

Idealize Asia website by Dynamos

Idealize Asia by Dynamos

World Vision Dreamshare website by LetsThinkWeb

World Vision Dreamshare by LetsThinkWeb

Tahanang Walang Hagdanan website by Netcentric

Tahanang Walang Hagdanan by Netcentric


I’ll just leave my notes here as post script:

  • It’s a bit of bad UX and branding to have a tricky event name, but we chose to stick with it cause it had enough quirk to be fun and memorable. Practically everyone pronounced it wrong on the first try: Carikathon, missing a syllable (some didn’t even bother and just said “charity hackathon”), but all you have to remember is that it’s “caritas” combined with “hackathon”.
  • Several people complained that there were some big-name, well-funded organizations as our beneficiaries. I think we can all agree the bottom line is that everyone worked towards a good cause. Even if some orgs had the financial capability, they were still created for a cause. You cannot fault that. I also like this opinion someone had pointed out: it can actually be a good thing to have small fry mingling with the big fish as that creates opportunities to build new connections that open new doors and further their cause. To give a behind the scenes answer though, it was pretty complicated to get a hold of both orgs and teams. This was not your usual hackathon where people could just show up and make whatever website or app they fancied. We had to coordinate with two different sets of parties to work together that weekend. Limited time and networks were against us in shortlisting the participating organizations, but now that more people know about Caritakathon, we hope to get better support and less “controversial” choices for a future run.
  • Strike two on our attempt to make a web designer’s sketch pad. Why is this so damn difficult?
  • I’m extremely grateful for Smart (both the DevNet and Public Affairs arms) and Microsoft in helping us with all the big ticket items that needed to be in place for us to pull off a hackathon—internet, venue, food, connections—but I’m also grateful in particular to Campaign Monitor, Balsamiq, and StickerMule whom I cold-emailed, and to which they responded promptly and graciously. We can actually get sponsors from companies anywhere in the world. It’s amazing.

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