Kids Hack the Crisis

23–25 October
Online (join from anywhere)

We’re calling out to all children of the world. We need your help to design, test and implement ideas that can help improve life during and after the crisis.

The Covid-19 virus is testing our countries, our societies and us as citizens. Everyone is impacted – old as well as young – and for many of us, everything normal about our daily lives has been put on hold. Schools and activities have been disrupted and there are new ways of doing things.

Kids Hack the Crisis is an online hackathon and innovation marathon for kids to collaboratively work on challenges. This hackathon event spans 48 hours and participants called “hackers” will work individually or in teams. Assisting the hackers are mentors at hand who are ready to help out with any questions that pop up, whether it’s with brainstorming or coding. The hackathon ends with a closing ceremony where projects are presented and a jury evaluates the competing submissions. Only those from “The challenge” track who opt in for judging will be evaluated.

Hackathon timeline

Monday 19 October

  • The Spark opens up for idea submissions

Wednesday 21 October

  • The Challenge opens up for idea registration and team formation

Friday 23 October

  • 5pm CET – Opening ceremony [The Experience & The Challenge start]
    • The Spark Idea submission close
  • 4pm EST The Experience Start for Timezone 2, session 1
  • 8pm CET Breakout session The Challenge – How to hackathon?
  • Hacking away!

Saturday 24 October

  • 10am Morning check-in and Q&A for The Challenge
  • 1pm -4pm CET The Experience session 2 [Skill building]
  • 1pm -4pm EST The Experience session 2 [Skill building]
  • Hacking continues for the Challenge

Sunday 25 October

  • 8am CET Submissions opens for the Challenge
  • 10am Morning check-in & walkthrough of submission
  • 1pm -4pm CET The Experience session 3 [ideation & prototyping]
  • 1pm -4pm EST The Experience session 3 [ideation & prototyping]
  • Hacking continues
  • 6pm CET Final work and submissions for the Challenge
  • The Jury team gets to work

Wednesday 28 October

  • Closing ceremony and evaluation of output

The challenges to solve (what to hack)

  1. The right to education. How can we, in the Covid-19 era make sure all children can continue to learn and get the quality education they have the right to?
  2. The right to health. How can we facilitate and support children’s well-being? Many are struggling with poor physical and mental health in this difficult situation. How can we help? How can we reimagine a society where all children not only survive, but thrive and reach their full potential? 
  3. End poverty. How can we assure children’s right to a fair standard of living and access to essential services when parents are financially and socially vulnerable?
  4. End violence. How can we protect children from physical and psychological violence in the home, school, community and over the Internet?
  5. The right to participation. How can we help increase children’s influence and participation in decisions affecting their lives?

Read more about the challenges here!

Photo: Unicef, Herwig


Hacking is the act of repurposing an object, digital or physical, and making it do something it was not originally intended to do. An empty cardboard box is not only for storage. It could also be a robot head or a social distancing hat. As a hacker, you see the possibilities and make them happen. Suddenly, you no longer have a boring box, you have something new and exciting! Anyone can be a hacker with a little creativity. So, come join us and make some awesome stuff.

The only criteria to join is that you can communicate in English and have access to a computer, tablet or phone. Welcome to the Hackathon!


You can choose from one of three tracks:

  • The Spark: This is the track for initial idea submission. It allows for input from anyone within the target age group (10–18 years old). You can submit one or several ideas to the hackathon. Submitted ideas will be elevated to both the Ideation track and Implementation track. Anyone who takes part in the Spark is invited to participate in both opening and closing ceremonies. This is ideal if you’re interested in participating, but not sure if you want to join the complete event. Additionally, you will have the option to opt in as a jury member.
  • The Experience: Here, you’ll be in a creative and collaborative environment where our inspiring hosts will guide you through a playful journey with a mission. You will participate in larger webinars and work in groups of 10–20 on ZOOM. You will also get the chance to learn new skills and turn your ideas into basic prototypes (physical and digital). No previous coding knowledge is required to participate in this track. Recommended age: 10–15 years old.
  • The Challenge: This track is for anyone who wants the true hackathon experience. Here, we expect you to actively work in teams to solve announced challenges. You will work with mockups and prototypes and have the option to submit your output to a jury for evaluation. Coding is optional. This track is less moderated, but you will have plenty of mentors available to help you out along the way. Recommended age: 15–18 years old.

Hacking is taking what is, improving upon it to the best of your ability and sharing it.’ – hacker Mitch Altman

Photo: Unicef, Schverdfinger


Do you have skills that could be useful to a Hack the Crisis kid? We love subject matter experts, but hobby hackers are also very welcome, take the leap and share your skills!

These kids will be working in the Implementation track on solving challenges faced by society in the Covid-19 era. Some may be old in the game, but many may be in their first-ever hack and just need a best buddy to guide them through the 48-hour journey. Register your skills and we will reach out with more info and next steps.

  • Availability: You’re not required to be available all 48 hours, minimum 2 hours.
  • Skills: Literally anything you can think of that a Hack the Crisis kid could find useful during these 48 hours, techy or not. Inspiration, Git, Database, frontend, APIs, brainstorming, pitching…

Comfortable with kids and got some facilitation/pedagogic skills? Join in as a Facilitator on the Experience track instead! The Experience team will give you a crash course and hold your hand along the facilitator journey. Commitment: 3-8h


Support Kids Hack the Crisis and become a partner organisation!

Does your organization want to support Kids Hack the Crisis? All organisations who share our mission of creating real solutions for the good of the children of this world are welcome to join as partner organisation! Public agencies, private companies, academia, child rights organisations and non-profit organisations all over the world – we need and welcome all of you. Partnership is completely free of charge.

You can support with mentors, coaching sessions on specific topics relevant to the hackers during the hackathon, jury members, communication in your own channels, support for the winning solutions after the hackathon (this can be everything from mentorship, setting the solutions in contact with the relevant people or providing other support that help the solutions be realized into real tools that benefit the children) or maybe something else that your organization can provide. We have a special communication kit ready for you to use, complete with video and photos. You can download it here!

What’s in it for you? All Partner Organisations will be present on our website with their logo, and mentioned when we communicate globally. You will get the possibility to take an active part in creating real solutions for the children of the world and in that sense be part of the solutions so many desperately need.

Submit your interest in becoming a partner for Kids Hack the Crisis, and we will be in contact with you shortly!

Legal guardian

Is your child interested in joining Kids Hack the Crisis?

In order for your kid to register, we need your approval as legal guardian. The first sign-up is just to submit interest – in the next stage of registration you (as parent/legal guardian) will need to provide your approval.

A positive experience for the participants is the most important aspect of this event. We will always put the kids’ interests first. Your child’s online safety is very important to us.

Here are some of the measures taken to ensure a good experience for all participants:

  • Any kid who signs up can only do so with consent from a legal guardian (part of the final registration process).
  • A code of conduct has been developed specifically for the purpose of this event (will have to be read by anyone who signs up and available throughout the entire event).
  • Dedicated support channels will be accessible to all participants throughout the entire event, where anyone can report violations of code-of-conduct or other inappropriate behaviour (reply from support staff within 15 minutes, at all times).
  • There are several different tracks with different levels of facilitation/moderation. For our moderated track, ‘The Experience’ (recommended age: 10–15 years old), we are working with professional educators that will create a safe space for your kid to go on a playful journey with a mission. For our less moderated track, ‘The Challenge’ (recommended age: 15–18 years old), we are working with professional hackathon organisers, community managers and mentors who will make sure everyone has a respectful tone of voice and follows our code of conduct and community guidelines.

The mission

This online hackathon is  for children, by children and with children. Children will be actively involved in formulating the challenges, working on the solutions and will take part in deciding which solutions should win.

Kids Hack the Crisis is an online global hackathon organised by the Swedish Institute, a government agency, and UNICEF Sweden. The purpose is to engage and connect children and young people all over the world. The goal is to find real solutions to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the long- and short-term effects that the virus has had on children and their lives, directly and indirectly.

The hackathon is unique because it captures the effects of the crisis from the perspective of children. We are providing a platform where children can voice their concerns and ideas and connect with people from all over the world.

The foundation of the hackathon is the Child’s Rights Convention and the 2030 Agenda. The solutions will take us closer to realise children’s rights for every child as well as to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Build Back Better campaign

The jury will be a mix of children/young people and adults with a special focus on children’s rights and the 2030 Agenda. Mentors will be adults from all parts of society: experts and specialists from academia, private sector and public sector, and UNICEF Sweden will support the winning solutions.


The Swedish Institute

The Swedish Institute is a public agency that promotes interest and trust in Sweden around the world. We work in the fields of culture, education, science, innovation and business to strengthen international relations and development.

We build lasting relations between Sweden and other countries in order to increase interest in Sweden. To this end, we share information, develop skills, promote cultural exchange and cooperation, and provide funding and grants. We support and collaborate with businesses, universities, cultural institutions and Swedish embassies around the world.

UNICEF Sverige

UNICEF Sweden is one of 33 National Committees for UNICEF. The National Committees are established as independent local non-governmental organizations. Serving as the public face and dedicated voice of UNICEF, the National Committees work tirelessly to raise funds from the private sector, promote children’s rights and secure worldwide visibility for children threatened by poverty, disasters, armed conflict, abuse and exploitation. UNICEF is funded exclusively by voluntary contributions.


Do you want to get in touch, for a specific question or inquiry? Please send an email an we will get back to you ASAP:

Follow us on social media channels, share and help spread the word;

See press for more assets and kits that can be used for sharing on various channels, news etc.