From October 20-21, ROLC worked with our partners at the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Dnet to organize our landmark “Workers’ Access to Justice (WA2J)” Hackathon in Dhaka. The WA2J Hackathon was the first hackathon in Bangladesh dedicated to fostering innovative approaches for expanding workers’ access to justice across the country.
Hackathon participants included competitors, mentors, and judges from various stakeholders across the country including employers, advocates for labor rights, law students, and experts in technology. Competitors on five teams developed actionable ideas after 36 hours of intense training and teamwork on enhancing workers’ access to justice through five different approaches involving the labor courts; formal and informal workers; the role of the private sector in enhancing justice processes; intersectional labor rights and climate justice; and leveraging technology. The winning multidisciplinary team was awarded for its proposal on “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Resolving the Labor Court Crisis.”
Competitors came from a variety of nonprofit, government, and academic institutions within Bangladesh, including BLAST, Dnet, Safety and Rights Society, Adarsha Electronics, Eutropia-IT, BHI Ceramic, DFYPOD, SERAC Bangladesh, East West University, and the University of Dhaka. They were supported by mentors, including the President of the Tannery Workers Union Abul Kalam Azad, Supreme Court lawyers Anik Haque and Pushpo Rahman, East West University senior lecturer Naibla Farheen, and Dnet’s Head of Technology Andalib bin Haq. The judges panel was led by M A Awal, the Honorable Chairman of the Labor Appellate Tribunal.
The WA2J Hackathon was covered by multiple Bangladeshi media outlets including The Daily Star, the Dhaka Tribune, The Business Standard, Prothom Alo, New Age, and the Daily Bonik Barta. The hackathon was held under the auspices of our Bangladesh Empowering Workers for Justice (EWJ) project, with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL). ROLC’s Strategic Initiatives Director Anthony Triolo led the BLAST and Dnet teams in Dhaka, with remote support from ROLC Program Manager Atif Choudhury. Learn more about our EWJ project here.