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‘Filipino Students Shine In UNESCO Hackathon 2023’

‘Filipino Students Shine In UNESCO Hackathon 2023’
Images show the mobile application prototype known as MILES
 Armed with their groundbreaking mobile application prototype known as MILES, a team of five Filipino students emerged triumphant, surpassing 96 groups representing 40 countries at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Fifth Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon.

Of five Filipino students, three were from Centro Escolar University (CEU) Charlene Grace Macapagal, CEU – Malolos; Marie Francheska Hermosa, CEU – Manila and Alexene Faith Tomate, CEU – Makati. The two others were Ian Lumanog, Lyceum of the Philippines University – Cavite, and Kurt Alec Mira – University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

In a notice of distinction dispatched on Oct. 10, Team AGOS Philippines (Achieving Global Oneness Through Synergy) was heralded as one of the four victors who will embark on a journey to Paris, France on Nov. 14. Agos, is a Filipino word for waves. It also stands for achieving global oneness through synergy.

The hackathon serves as a pivotal component of the Global Media and Information Literacy Week Youth Agenda Forum, a platform fostering active global engagement among students and youth organizations. It is designed to promote media and information literacy while crafting solutions to address pressing social challenges.

Project MILES, an embodiment of media and information literacy, stands as one of the winning entries to be showcased at the Global MIL Week 2023 in Paris. The project has been meticulously designed for sustainability and impact, with gamification playing a pivotal role in incentivizing the continuous utilization of the application.

Hermosa, the project team lead, expressed the profound personal significance of their project. She said her motivation stemmed from her personal experiences with cyberbullying and backstabbing, igniting the drive to create a secure space devoid of hate speech and disinformation.

Lumanog, a Computer Science major, elaborated on the app’s offerings, encompassing independent browsing and fostering community building. He said his perspective was anchored in the experiences of global media users in the digital space. He served as the project manager, UI/UX designer, team leader, developer and video editor.

Mira, spearheading the business development aspect, acknowledged the Philippines’ global standing as the social media capital. He underlined MILES’ aim to establish itself as the go-to app for media and information literacy, offering community projects and events designed to enrich critical thinking skills for users of all age groups.

“In this era, the youth require a platform through which they can access innocuous information, and MILES is anticipated to forge connections with individuals in a manner that mirrors the essence of its English word ‘miles,’ delivering information from one point to many,” Macapagal said.

“Our team wants to share the power of having a safe space in our community application. That's why we introduced a digital platform that advocates for filling the gaps in the education system among youth and diminished marginalized sectors. Learn using entertaining bite-sized tools that teach you and MILES basics tasks, and enhance your critical thinking,” she added. “Take your skills to the next level, join communities write articles, create projects and participate in events to further knowledge and MILES.”

The winning concepts will be introduced to potential investors in Paris. Entries from around the world underwent meticulous evaluation based on criteria encompassing creativity, innovation, consistency, excellence, feasibility, and potential for sustainability and impact.

In an interview on his radio program, CEU Communication and Media head Ricky Rosales extended his warm congratulations to the delegation, highlighting the significance of this achievement in the program's internationalization efforts.

“We are very proud of the achievement of the Team AGOS Philippines,” Rosales said.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our esteemed professors for their unwavering support throughout this journey," Macapagal expressed in an interview.

This year's Global Media and Information Literacy Week is themed "Youth Powering Media and information literacy in digital spaces." Participants underwent a mentoring program leading to the creation of solution categories, encompassing games, applications/websites, radio programs/podcasts, creative community-based interventions (non-technology focused), and other innovative strategies. These interventions aim to promote media and information literacy in digital spaces, addressing potentially harmful online content, including disinformation and hate speech.

To watch the video pitch: