The first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Weekend 2017 was held in Islamabad on 19-20 August, 2017 comprising two major events; the SDG Hackathon and the SDG Challenge Cup. The SDG Weekend 2017 took place at the National Incubation Center (NIC) in Islamabad and was organized by Ignite – National Technology Fund (formerly known as National ICT R&D Fund), Code for Pakistan (CfP) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) with global partners International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Internet Society (ISOC).

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Global Goals for Sustainable Development, are a universal call-to-action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Ignite partnered with CfP to co-organize Pakistan’s first-ever hackathon focused on SDGs. CfP has conducted numerous civic hackathons in major cities in Pakistan. 

Mr. Yusuf Hussain, CEO Ignite, said, “During this hackathon, participants developed innovative solutions and presented ideas to address social and civic problems, and achieve selected SDGs. These are problems that the global market economy has not been able to address at scale, but which are very important for the human race and the planet. Ignite will endeavor to support winning teams in their onward journey through networking and access to resources.”

Mr. Asim Ghaffar, President Code for Pakistan, said, “Our hackathons spark civic engagement, bring together software designers, developers, and community organizers to solve their communities’ needs, and show what’s possible using technology. Some ideas later get pre-accelerated by our civic innovation labs so they can be incubated elsewhere. As a takeaway, participants generally become more civic-minded and continue to engage in various projects which are civic in nature.”


The two-day SDG Hackathon focused on eight SDGs: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well Being; Quality Education; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Responsible Consumption and Production. The hackathon brought together programmers, designers, urban mappers, data analysts, community organizers, researchers, lawyers, journalists and government information to develop innovative digital and tech solutions that have a social impact.

The winner of SDG Hackathon was 25A; a platform to match underprivileged children with private schools, in accordance with Article 25A. Second prize went to SHELTIC, which uses recycled plastic waste to build shelters and the third prize went to LEXY, which is a platform to help identify dyslexia using audio-visual aids.

The second event was the SDG Challenge Cup, which was held on Sunday, 20 August, 2017. In this event, the startups which were already working on ideas in line with four selected SDGs were invited to pitch to the judges. The selected SDGs for the Challenge Cup were Good Health and Well Being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; and Decent Work and Economic Growth. The first prize of the SDG Challenge Cup went to Orbit, SkillsForce won the second prize and Exam Bites won the third prize. In addition to the prizes, the winning teams will be eligible to represent Pakistan at international-level ITU events, including ITU Telecom World 2017 and the Young ICT Leaders’ Forum at ITU Telecom World.

Sponsors and partners for the SDG Weekend 2017 included Zong Pakistan, Jazz, Nayatel, Bentley Systems, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Internet Society (ISOC) and UNDP Pakistan, as well as TiE, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Media Clicks, IDG Pakistan and Global Shapers Islamabad.