30 October 2020

Lina Adil from Impact Hub Khartoum reflects on running a Climathon

Climathon is one way in which the Impact Hub network is being active in tackling climate challenges. Each year entrepreneurs, students, lateral thinkers, and policymakers in more than 140 cities across 56 countries are invited to participate locally in the global climate change hackathon “Climathon” and to develop solutions to challenges related to climate change. 

Impact Hub is partnering with Climate-KIC for the second year in a row to bring Climathons to its many locations across the globe. In 2019, 17 cities participated, this year we are expecting 19 Climathons organized by Impact Hubs. 

This partnership is transforming ideas into climate-change positive businesses. We are proud of the Impact Hubs that participated in the 2019 Climathon and as we prepare for this year’s Climathons next month, we asked 2019 organizers a series of questions to give better insights into what drives them to host this initiative. Let us introduce you to Lina Adil, Climate Action Program Manager at Impact Hub Khartoum, who has shared her insights into why they organized the Climathon and what her biggest takeaways and learnings from it are. 

Why did you decide to run the Climathon, and how do you see it relating to the Impact Hub Climate Commitment?

With the forecast of Sudan being rendered uninhabitable, it became direly urgent to engage the diverse sectors working in climate change in Sudan. This means having to all work collaboratively to find contextualized, effective, and efficient solutions to the extreme climate events facing Sudan, whilst leveraging entrepreneurship. 

The vision for Climathon Khartoum was to connect the academicians, entrepreneurs, city officials, private sector, and civil society organizations with youth. The goal was to all sit in one room and exchange knowledge and experiences, with the aim of constructing implementable on the ground solutions to the climate challenges facing Sudan. Moreso, we added an awareness-raising element to the program to bridge the language gap between the academicians and scientists and between citizens.  This was achieved through public symposiums prior to the Climathon and it tackled different topics such as “Climate Change Adaptation in Sudan” and “Climate Change and Peace”. 

What topics did you pick and why did you choose them?

The challenge for Climathon Khartoum 2019 was Extreme Weather events with a special focus on energy efficiency, water infrastructure, and efficient use of private and public spaces. The challenge was curated according to a set of consultations with our partners, and with environmental experts, academicians, and policymakers, aided by information and Statistics from the National Adaptation Plan 2016. And the areas of focus have shown to be the most pressing areas that needed immediate action.  

What was the process of deciding the winner? Who were they and why?

For Climathon Khartoum 2019, we received 212 applications, and we had to undergo a pre-screening process. This process was mainly guided by the level of commitment of each applicant, their motives, and their future plans post-Climathon. We were very careful about having a balanced selection between experienced and inexperienced applicants because we view the Climathon as a platform where people could learn from each other and exchange experiences. 

 Out of the 212 applicants, 30 participants were selected. The 5 winning teams were selected based on these criteria: 

  • RELEVANCE: Teams who have developed a clear idea.
  • PITCH: The solution was well presented and clearly outlines the why, how, and what of the idea.
  • TEAM: The team expressed motivation, enthusiasm, and an interest in being able to develop their idea further.
  • TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL: If successful, the idea could have a large scale impact. 
  • Viability and context: The idea has to be implementable in Sudan. 

What was the biggest learning to come out of the Climathon?

It is of crucial importance to have partners who share your organization’s common beliefs and values. It’s also important to have a diverse pool of partners, covering all of the relevant sectors. 

In terms of the solutions, hosting multiple oriented pre-ideation workshops resulted in significant improvement in the quality of the solutions that came out of the Climathon. Also, it’s useful to have a follow-up mechanism with the participants and to take an active part in further solidifying the winning ideas that emerge from the Climathon, such as incubation programs, masterclasses, and tailored training sessions. 

In what other ways would you be involved in next year’s Climathon and would you be interested to be more involved with the Climate-KIC initiative?

For 2020 we are aiming to organize the third Climathon in Khartoum and at a bigger scale than ever before. We are also aiming to collaborate with Climate-KIC to host the first Climate Launchpad in Sudan. (This interview was done pre-COVID19, so plans have changed since)

Climate-KIC has expressed that “Working with Impact Hub has been key to scaling the reach and impact of Climathon while still keeping the quality of events very high. It’s a pleasure to work with an impact partner like Impact Hub and we look forward to hopefully growing our partnership and impact together”. 


The Climathon values very much align with the Impact Hub ethos that ‘innovation happens through collaboration and bringing different people together’’. And to continue the success of the 2019 Hackathon the 2020 Climathon will be happening on November 13. We look forward to seeing what new and innovative solutions the members of our network come up with this year. Find more information here about how you can get involved with Climate-KIC and read all about our Commitment to Climate here