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Samsung and UNESCO Host a Digital Solution Hackathon to Help Ethnic Minority Women Safeguard Traditional Crafts

          Samsung Electronics, in collaboration with UNESCO Asia Pacific Reginal Bureau for Education, are organizing a 'hackathon' entitled: "Hack Culture: Digital Solutions to Empower Women & Safeguard Traditional Crafts". The activity is part of a larger project at UNESCO to help empower and support ethnic minority/indigenous crafts-women with digital skills and entrepreneurship and to promote safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The hackathon is designed to gather various stakeholders and teams to come up with digital solutions to crafts-women's challenges, while also providing educational and training opportunities to use technology to document and transfer intangible cultural heritage between generations, and to create marketing and commercial opportunities for local crafts. Event participants include experts from UNESCO, Samsung volunteers, crafts entrepreneurs, and professors from Chiang Mai University's Science and Technology Park (CMU STeP).
          Ms Jihyun Yoon, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics (Korea) said, "One of Samsung's Global Corporate Citizenship Visions is to "enabling people" to achieve their full potential by equipping them with skills, innovative technology and inspiring a spirit of creativity. -. We've focused in the area of education for younger generation and women since 2010. This "Hack Culture: Digital Solutions to Empower Women & Safeguard Traditional Crafts" event is part of our Samsung One Week initiative, a program that allows Samsung employee volunteers with technological expertise to help provide tech solutions to challenges in various parts of the world. This year, more than 200 Korean employees conducted volunteer work for one week in six countries including Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Hungary. The activities implemented in each country vary in accordance with the country's specific needs and context." In addition, it is very meaningful that Samsung and employees raise awareness of under-discovered issues and cooperate to solve them as a part of our community.
          "In Thailand," Ms Yoon continued, "Samsung's collaborative hackathon with UNESCO is focusing on educating and training ethnic group women on digital and technological developments that will help them to solve local craft-related issues. Samsung believes that the training will unlock the community's digital and technological potential, generate income opportunities, and transfer local artisan knowledge from older to younger generations.
          Ms Duong Bich Hanh, Chief of the Culture Unit at the UNESCO Office in Bangkok said, "Hmong women have been making crafts thanks to knowledge being passed down from generation to generation. However, the situation is now changing. Findings from our on-the-ground research in Chiang Mai, which has many similarities with what happens in other parts of the world, show that the craft-making skills are at risk due to a wide range of factors, from competition from cheap, machine-made, mass-produced products to the lack of interest of younger generations to continue the tradition. We therefore are joining hands with Samsung to explore ICT-based solutions that can address these problems, to promote these crafts for the improvement of livelihoods while ensuring that skills are being safeguarded."
          Ms Jonghwi Park, Programme Specialist of ICT in Education at UNESCO, added, "UNESCO believes that education is a fundamental human right and focuses on achieving equitable and inclusive lifelong learning for all until 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goals, regardless of their gender, income, geographical location, nationalities, disabilities and any other differences. UNESCO is delighted to witness through this Hackathon the real potential of digital technologies to narrow gaps to make learning throughout life more inclusive. UNESCO and Samsung will work together to ensure the prototype solutions that come out of the Hackathon will be sustainable and scalable."
          Mr Wichai Pornpratang, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Citizenship, Thai Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. added, "Apart from improving people's quality of lives, technology is a vital part for safeguarding local cultures and traditions. Samsung is delighted to utilize its expertise in technology and innovation for the benefit of local communities. The Hack Culture project is a starting point in which Hmong women who participated in this activity can pass on digital skills derived from the Hackathon to the other 1,408 Doi Pui residents, which comprise Hmong, Pakakayor (Karen) and indigenous people. So that they are able to use technology as a tool to generate income for their families and community."
          The "Hack Culture: Digital Solutions to Empower Women & Safeguard Traditional Crafts" activity, held concurrently with the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, celebrated on August 9 every year, aims to empower and support ethnic group/indigenous crafts-women over four days from 6-9 August, 2019 at the Science and Technology Park, Chiang Mai University. Throughout the week, Hmong crafts-women and volunteer Samsung employees have participated in digital skills pitching competitions and have developed digital media tools such as smartphone applications and easy-to-use websites for documenting and transmitting cultural heritage, as well as for building proactive marketing and commercial channels.
          Throughout the 4 days of hacking activity, the atmosphere is fun and filled with the power of the new generation who wants to create something that is beneficial to society. The volunteers have helped the Hmong women develop digital prototypes in solving problems. Each group presents the prototypes in various forms, including websites and Facebook that collect information and the history of handcrafts, video and basic embroidery course for those interested and tourists Including branding and presentation of attractive and modern product packaging.
          Ikseon Kang, Samsung OneWeek volunteer said "I am very happy to be here. This is my second time joining Samsung OneWeek program. The first time was in South Africa. The main reason I decided to join this volunteer program was that I wanted to make value contribution to the society. Personally, I am also very interested in this kind of anthropological activities, so I feel so lucky to have a chance to learn about Hmong's culture, which is to me, fascinating. From this Hackathon, not only Hmong women have learnt from us how to make use of digital media platforms to preserve and promote their craft and culture, we also have learnt a lot from them. I am very honored to be a part of this Samsung OneWeek program."