The event took place from August 28th to 30th via the virtual platform “Zoom”. Of the remaining team members, one was from the US and the rest from India.
The team received a cash award of $ 500 and support from MIT in developing its innovative plan to address mental health problems in rural India, including Assam, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The program was organized to find solutions to problems related to Covid, especially those related to India. The event was supported by the Atal Innovation Mission under the Indian government of Niti Ayog.
“On the first day, participants who have a unique idea or a suggestion for solving a specific problem can publish their idea within 90 seconds via the zoom platform. Other participants who have a similar idea or are interested in working with the moderator can form a team, ”said 32-year-old Gurung.
“My hometown is in the rural area of Sonitpur District, and I have found that rural mental health problems go untreated. Visiting a doctor because of psychological problems is taboo in villages. People in rural areas are either ignorant or reluctant to communicate with professionals for help related to mental health. I worked with my team on a plan to narrow the gap between mental health professionals and rural India for a better mental health future, ”he said of the solution they gave.
The team had to work on the proposal for 48 hours, trying to find a 360 degree solution to the problem introduced in the 90 second pitch. On the last day, each team had three minutes to present their solution in front of judges from around the world selected by the organizers of the MIT COVID19 challenge.
Gurung, who is from Sonaipam Village in Sonitpur, is currently doing his PhD. from the Department of Business Administration at Tezpur University. He is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Bengaluru in CHRIST. He led the team called Mind and Health Innovations (M.A.H.I.) to victory in Track H: Providing Mental Health Support Resources During the Hackathon. Gurung is known to be the first person from the state to win MIT COVID19 challenges. Previously, he was also a member of the winning team “UNIFY” from Track C: “Growing up and bringing up in the new normal” during the “MIT COVID19 challenge: Defeat the Pandemic II”.
MIT, USA has organized a series of international virtual hackathons also known as the MIT COVID19 Challenges. These hackathons encourage people to get involved and find solutions to various problems related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 problems are listed as titles such as Health, Education and Business. Participants can apply for any route of their interest. However, the final selection of the route for each participant will be made by the organizers of the MIT Covid-19 Hackathon. After being selected as a participant under a track, they must form teams based on their interest. The participants come from all over the world and differ in their expertise and profession.