Oman Observer

Muscat: Oman’s first environment-themed hackathon, the Green Innovation Eco-Thon, has concluded. A collaboration between Nama Group and the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), the competition aimed to empower Omani youth to use their wits and tech-savviness for the good of the environment. During the three-day event, 105 students teamed-up to create innovative digital solutions for environmental challenges like waste management, renewable energy, and alternatives, as well as energy and water efficiency. The participants competed for prizes including cash and potential sponsorship opportunities.

Ghada al Yousef, executive manager, Group Communication & Sustainability at Nama Group, said, “Nama Group is committed to lowering the environmental impact of the energy industry. Initiatives like the Green Eco-Thon play a significant role in raising awareness and encourage a culture of sustainability among Oman’s young people. We’re thrilled to have so many enthusiastic participants and excellent ideas.”

The candidates were selected out of 481 registrants from universities and colleges all over Oman. Developing their ideas into viable applications or software, the final projects were then evaluated on criteria including originality, feasibility, scalability, economic value, the viability of the environmental solution and a good marketing plan.

“The Eco-Thon serves to inspire young people to use their smart ideas and tech know-how to be agents of change within the community. They are proving that technology and innovation are ideal instruments to resolve many of day-to-day environmental challenges,” said Dareen Mehdi ESO board member. “It was a huge success and proved that Oman’s next generation of innovators is definitely changing the game when it comes to environmental consciousness.”

During the first day of the Eco-Thon students were treated to a series of inspirational talks about the selected themes. They were also given the opportunity to meet other students, as well as their mentors, who guided them through the development of their ideas. On the final day, students submitted and presented their projects to a distinguished panel of evaluators, and exhibited their ideas and pitched their solutions to stakeholders, investors and interested partners.

The panel of judges were Ibrahim al Harthi, Director of Technical Regulation at the Authority for Electricity Regulation, Adel Al Hubaishi, senior advisor of the Zubair Small Enterprises Center at Zubair Corporation, Dr Mehdi Jaffar, an independent consultant on sustainable development, Hussain al Ajmi, corporate risk and group Business Continuity Manager at Nama Group, and Dr Farah al Barwani, research and development manager at the Environmental Center of Excellence (Beah).