MIT to host Latin America vs. COVID-19 hackathon to develop solutions for its most pressing challenges: health systems, vulnerable populations, the economy and the spread of misinformation


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Event will be held in three languages; the deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 16

Cambridge, Mass., June 9, 2020—The coronavirus landed in Latin America in February, when Brazil confirmed a case in São Paulo. Since then, governments across Latin America have taken different actions to protect their populations and contain COVID-19’s spread. What kind of support do Latin America’s health systems need? What actions can be taken to protect the most vulnerable? What tools can help prevent the spread of misinformation related to the crisis? What will it take to empower the informal economy in times of social distancing?

Hosted by MIT, Latin America vs. COVID-19 is a 48-hour virtual event that will focus on developing solutions to these most pressing questions—ones that have a meaningful impact in Latin America in the next three to six months. The hackathon is part of the MIT COVID-19 Challenge series with Latin America vs. COVID-19 taking place June 19-21, 2020.

This event will be the first of the series focused on Latin America, and will be held in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese. Open to the public, the hackathon aims at capturing all those interested in helping the region fight COVID-19. All are welcome to apply before noon on Tuesday, June 16.

On June 19, participants will gather to present their own ideas in problem pitch sessions. Participants will then form teams to hone in on key problems and devise their solutions. Over the next 48 hours, teams will iterate on these ideas with the assistance of mentors and collaborating organizations.

On June 21, participants will reconvene to present their final pitches to judging panels, and winning teams will be selected per track. After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of collaborating companies and institutions.

Collaborators joining the challenge include: UNESCO, Amazon Web Services, Bayer Pharmaceutical, IBM, Lemann Foundation, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad del Pacífico Perú, Insper from Brazil, Universidade Federal De São Paulo, Intersystems, RIMAC Seguros, Credicorp, Airtable, J-Pal and many more.

“Putting MIT’s motto ‘Mens et Manus’—Mind and Hand—in practice, we’ve created a structure that allows thousands of participants from a multitude of backgrounds and nations to form teams, ideate on solutions and put them into action,” says Alfonso Martinez, an event organizer and 2020 graduate of the MBA program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “We collaborate with local organizations to design the most relevant and timely prompts, and create a post-hackathon infrastructure that supports innovators in driving meaningful impact in Latin America for the months to come.”

This virtual event follows on the heels of the Beat the Pandemic Hackathon II held May 29-31, 2020. Earlier hackathons in the MIT COVID-19 Challenge included the MIT COVID-19 IDEAthon, Beat the Pandemic I, Africa Takes On COVID-19, and the MIT COVID-19 Datathon.

For more on Latin America vs. COVID-19 and for a list of partners, please visit:

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