Call for Code Targets Natural
May 24, 2018
and partners launched the Call for Code Global Initiative, the largest
and most ambitious effort to bring startup, academic and enterprise
developers together to solve one of the most pressing societal issues of
our time: preventing, responding to and recovering from natural
During a keynote address at the VivaTech Conference in Paris, IBM
Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty called on the technology
industry to help build a better future, committing IBM technology and
$30 million USD over five years in the annual Call for Code Global
Initiative. Its goal is to unite the world's developers and tap into
data and AI, blockchain, cloud and IoT technologies to address social
"At IBM, we harness the power of technologies like AI, blockchain, IoT
and cloud to address some of the biggest opportunities and challenges in
business," said Bob Lord, IBM chief digital officer. "Now, with Call for
Code, we are calling on all developers to join us and use these same
leading edge technologies to help people, their communities and
can register today at Callforcode.org.
Through Call for Code, IBM and David Clark Cause are joining forces with
the United Nations Human Rights Office and its human rights-based
approach to humanitarian action, which focuses on securing the
participation of affected groups in preparedness, response and recovery
efforts, and bringing attention to the most excluded and marginalized
"Technology can be a powerful force to advance human rights and build
more equitable societies. Call for Code is an excellent opportunity to
explore how technology can play a role in addressing the needs of the
most vulnerable populations and those who are at risk of having their
human rights violated in the context of a humanitarian crisis," said
Laurent Sauveur, head of external relations of the United Nations Human
Call for Code also integrates the American Red Cross' focus on new ways
to bring support to disaster victims – especially important with 2017
ranked as one of the worst years on record for catastrophic events,
including fires, floods, earthquakes and storms.
"Responding to large-scale national and international disasters is a
team effort, and we are excited to leverage skills and insights from the
tech industry to address global challenges," said Brad Kieserman, vice
president of Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross.
"Partnerships and technology like this allow for smarter and faster
response efforts, which are critical to help those in need more quickly
Call for Code invites developers to create new applications to help
communities and people better prepare for natural disasters. For
example, developers may create an app that uses weather data and supply
chain information to alert pharmacies to increase supplies of medicine,
bottled water and other items based on predicted weather-related
disruption. Or it could be an app that predicts when and where the
disaster will be most severe, so emergency crews can be dispatched ahead
of time in proper numbers to treat those in need.
IBM's $30 million investment over five years will fund access to
developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. The
winning team will receive a financial prize, yet, perhaps more
rewarding, they will have access to long-term support to help move their
idea from prototype to real-world application. This includes ongoing
developer support through IBM's partnership with the Linux Foundation.
"Winning submissions need a strong ecosystem to ensure that they will
flourish and continue to be deployed across the globe long after the
competition ends. That's where The Linux Foundation is proud to step in
and help equip open-source projects with the tools they need to
accelerate adoption," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux
In addition to development support, the winning team can join one of
IBM's Corporate Service Corps (CSC) teams to apply their idea to a
community in need. IBM CSC teams are multi-disciplinary IBM experts who
spend four to six weeks in underserved communities around the world to
apply technology to local issues and opportunities.
Call for Code Global Initiative
IBM is the founding member of the Call for Code Global Initiative, which
was created by David Clark, a renowned leader in cause-related
initiatives. David Clark's work includes iconic people and humanitarian
organizations, such as President Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Prince,
the United Nations, Amnesty International, and The Anne Frank Center.
"The Call for Code Global Initiative was created to realize the full
potential of developers, as they play a critical role in driving
innovation that can shape and save lives. When these change agents are
inspired to use their unique skills to help people in need, they do,"
said David Clark, founder, David Clark Cause. "There could not be a more
significant founding partner for this important global initiative than
IBM, and I'm both privileged and honored they have answered the call."
GRAMMY-nominated singer and human rights advocate Andra Day, whose 2015
global smash hit song "Rise Up" quickly became the voice for the
voiceless, is leading a celebrity coalition supporting the Call for Code
"I admire the mission of Call for Code, and how it aims to create
technology based solutions to help people in need," said Day, whose
causes align with the invaluable work of United Nations Human Rights and
the American Red Cross, as the initial Call for Code addresses natural
disaster preparedness and relief.
To raise awareness and interest in Call for Code, IBM is coordinating
interactive educational events, hackathons and community support for
developers around the world in more than 50 cities, including Amsterdam,
Bengaluru, Berlin, Delhi, Dubai, London, New York, San Francisco, Sao
Paulo and Tel Aviv.
How to Join the Call for Code
Projects can be submitted by
individuals – or teams of up to five people – between June 18, 2018 and
August 31, 2018.
Thirty semi-finalists will be
selected in September. A prominent jury, including some of the most
iconic technologists in the world, will choose the winning solution from
The winner will be announced in
October 2018 during a live-streamed concert and award event coordinated
by David Clark Cause.