Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon

What can youth do to counter disinfodemic, using media and information literacy as a tool? HackingDisinfodemic – a Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon led by UNESCO and the Republic of Korea will seek to answer this question, in partnership with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), and IBM. The call for applications is now launched globally.

Apply as an individual candidate or as a team

Deadline: 12 October 2020, at 08:00 a.m. Paris time

About HackingDisinfodemic

COVID-19 has confronted the world with a new wave of disinformation. Media and information literate youth have a pivotal role to play to resolve this challenge. HackingDisinfodemic is a global competition on MIL targeting youth, organized in the framework of Global MIL Week 2020, which will be commemorated from 24 to 31 October, under the theme of “Resisting Disinfodemic: Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and by Everyone”.

UNESCO and partners are calling on youth worldwide to participate in this four-week virtual hackathon to design innovative solutions to disinfodemic and related online challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that access to reliable high-quality information is vital, and something that we need to defend today more than ever. This is what UNESCO does, especially through media and information literacy… Young people are essential to this process.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s Director-General (on the occasion of the International Youth Day 2020)

The Hackathon will follow the theme of MIL against disinfodemic. It complements the mainstreaming of young men and women in the Global MIL Week In-Focus Sessions by enabling more significant youth leadership. Youth from local schools, universities, youth centres and youth organizations, as well as youth leaders from around the globe, are invited to participate. The winning teams and the outcome of the Hackathon will be presented during a dedicated online Press Conference on 27 October 2020.

This initiative builds on the first Global MIL Hackathon organized during Global MIL Week 2018, and the CodeTheCurve Hackathon organized by UNESCO earlier this year.


  • 5-12 October 2020: Call for applications
  • 13 October 2020: Announcement of shortlisted participants
  • 14-15 October 2020: Two-day mentoring on MIL and the hackathon
  • 16 and 19 October 2020: Two-day hacking
  • 19 October 2020: Submission of pitches
  • 20-23 October 2020: Judging process
  • 23 October 2020: Announcement of winners
  • 27 October 2020: Press Conference “Youth Tackling the Disinfodemic: Outcome of the Global MIL Youth Hackathon”


Any person or group of persons who are of ages between 18 and 35 years and adheres to the values of UNESCO*. No previous coding background is required. Experience and expertise in game, mobile application, website and radio development would be an asset.

* Peace, respect for diversity, and freedom of expression etc.

Task and challenges

Design innovative and creative solutions to one of the three challenges below:

  1. Media and information literacy to counter the COVID-19 disinfodemic
  2. Media and information literacy to fight discrimination
  3. Media and information literacy to combat online privacy and data protection infringements

Solution categories

  1. Game
  2. Application/Website
  3. Radio programme/Podcast
  4. Creative community-based intervention (non-technology focused)

Submission format

Prototype of the solution and a 3-minute video pitch (a creative format is strongly recommended), which must present:

  • Problem statement, objectives and alignment with one of the three challenges
  • Explanation of the prototype
  • Feasibility
  • Audience
  • Deployment strategies
  • Business model and evidence of market validation
  • Sustainability

Mentoring modules

  1. Media and information literacy
  2. Prototyping, pitching, and storytelling
  3. Game development
  4. App development
  5. Website development
  6. Radio programming
  7. Innovating with or without new technology


The jury members will include representatives from UNESCO, Republic of Korea, World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), IBM, Twitter, the UNESCO MIL Alliance, and the UNESCO-UNAOC MIL and Intercultural Dialogue University Network.

Evaluation criteria

  • Consistency
  • Excellence
  • Feasibility and Sustainability
  • Potential Impact

Winning teams will gain

  • Opportunity to pre-launch the projects globally during an online press conference
  • Interviews with potential donors and partners
  • Invitation to UNESCO’s Global MIL Week 2021 Feature Events
  • Two-day mentoring offered by a team of world-class MIL and game experts
  • A participation certificate from UNESCO and the Republic of Korea
  • Recognition through a UNESCO press release and various channels

About Global MIL Week 2020

Under the theme “Resisting Disinfodemic: Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and, by Everyone”, Global MIL Week 2020 will respond to the exponentially increasing demand for MIL worldwide. It highlights the necessity of recognizing our shared interest in improving everyone’s competencies to interact with media, technology, and information, in order that they can be engaged in societies as critical-thinking citizens. It also underlines the pivotal role of MIL in fostering quality journalism, creative and purposeful use of digital technologies, critical access to information and freedom of expression, which all have implications on how we can individually and collectively overcome disinformation and misinformation.

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