My name is Mahmoud Suliman, and I was a participant for Climathon 2019 in Khartoum, Sudan.
“Two in harmony surpasses one in perfection.” I’ve always liked this proverb.
It emphasizes that when a group of people get together and work on something, there are no limits to what they can achieve. I feel like during my participation in Khartoum's Climathon, I witnessed some real-life examples of the aforementioned quote and much more.
I’m going to be honest; when I first heard about Climathon, I was slightly intimidated.
The challenges we were supposed to find solutions to were daunting. The 24 hours seemed a lot to take, and the name “Climathon” recalled a physical activity that’s all about endurance.
After looking into it though I was convinced it was an opportunity for me to make a tangible contribution in addressing some of the issues related to climate change in my country.
“Two in harmony surpasses one in perfection.”
In our first pre-ideation workshop we were introduced to Climathon’s aim and the climate challenges facing Sudan. The session didn’t only serve as an introduction to Climathon, but it also made us as participants more invested in working towards addressing climate challenges. There were meaningful discussions and interactive presentations that explored climate change within the Sudanese context, shed light on relevant history and provided some key statistics.
The second pre-ideation workshop was where we attained tools necessary to put together ideas, evaluate them and present them effectively. We were introduced to business modelling, innovative problem-solving techniques, and idea pitching.
I woke up excited on Climathon Day itself. I packed my laptop, some spare clothes and headed to Impact Hub Khartoum.
The first few hours after arrival was all about team formation, where participants got to know each other and started to propose their ideas in a more fleshed-out way.
“I truly believe that the concept of Climathon in itself provides hope and relief. No matter how difficult the situation is, it can be resolved through cooperation.”
In my team we each had our own idea, so we decided to put our ideas to a vote. We went with the solution I’d proposed, a pipeline-based stormwater drainage system to mitigate flood devastation. With this, Team 5 was formed! The rest of the day was all productive work: we developed our ideas, validated them, consulted with mentors, prepared for presentations and did extensive research.
Knowing that people in more than 100 cities all around the world were participating in this event on this very day provided all the motivation we needed to last the rigorous 24 hours.
It’s possible to be sceptical about the impact a single effort can make, but if this many people can forget their differences, get together and decide to actually do something to address certain issues, who in the world can stop them or limit what they can achieve?
I truly believe that the concept of Climathon in itself provides hope and relief. No matter how difficult the situation is, it can be resolved through cooperation.
The organisation, mentorship and presentations on the day were all outstanding. A UNDP-sponsored incubation program for all participating teams also meant that this Climathon was hopefully just the start of meaningful climate action from Sudan’s youth for their country’s future.
I’m positive that their cooperative effort will surpass perfection!