The Hajj Hackathon organized by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, being organized in Jeddah (from 1 - 3 August) has witnessed significant presence of Saudi women who have joined the event following long hours of study and training.
They demonstrated their ability to innovate, analyze, design and find solutions in the digital world. They also discussed artificial intelligence and the future of Internet.
While the Hajj Hackathon program brought together programmers and developers from 51 countries – in the largest gathering of innovators in the region – the enthusiasm of young Saudi women, assigned to a number of teams as per competition rules, was obvious.
They began working with dedication and perseverance as they set the ultimate goal for this competition before their eyes, exploiting technology to make pilgrimage easier.
One such participant Ghadir al-Otabi told Al Arabiya: “Today I am proud to participate in this event with a huge number of developers from all over the world with Saudi Arabia as the host country.”
“It is true that the competition is difficult but the goal we all seek is a supreme one in designing and developing a technical application that serves the pilgrims of the House of God,” she said.
Al-Otaibi said that her team consists of five individuals and the tasks were divided among them each based on their area of study, specialization and experience.
On her team’s chances of winning, she said: “We have ambition and our idea is innovative and will greatly improve and facilitate medical care for pilgrims.”
Ghadir pointed out that if they do not win, it will not make her sad. Instead, she will say to the winning team: “Congratulations, you won the biggest technical challenge awaiting the actual implementation of your Hajj program.”
In the same context, Fawzia al-Mutairi, a computer scientist, said she has a beautiful feeling seeing the official Kingdom’s support for anything, which can facilitate the lives of pilgrims to perform their duties saying, “Our country wants to develop and progress in technology and this is our chance to participate in making history.”
Fawzia explained that her team comprises five girls, working individually on design and programming.
She predicted that her team will win since they have “amazing ideas”, as she put it saying: “Our ideas will help solve the big problems, but if we do not win, it would be enough that we have acquired the skills and attended the greatest technical event, and we have benefited from it.”
The winners received a message encouraging them to continue pursuing their dreams and strive to excel under the banner of Vision 2030.
The teams competing in the Hackathon consist of 3-5 participants, from the same nationality or from different countries. Each team has experience in a number of areas such as programming, development and design and is working in the presence of 90 mentors from 20 countries.