Tech for Good: A Meet-up with a Difference

From Shakespearean approaches to coding to applying machine learning to analysing Twitter conversations, there are no shortage of applications for technology to the real world. And when it comes to using technology to drive charitable causes, new meet-up group Tech for Good are hard at work at making this a reality.

Founded by Mairin Murray and Ellen Ward, the group aims to bring techies and activists together to see how they can put their experience to work for social change. A movement around the globe, Mairin says of the Dublin group: “I was aware of Tech for Good for the past year and of the great meetup group in London. So, I was very keen for us to start something similar here in Ireland.”

“I met up with Ellen. She comes from a development perspective and has a really strong technical background and we thought, ‘Let’s make it happen!’”

Building a Community

An innovative approach to tackling real-world problems, the duo is keen to build a positive community space to share and swap ideas.

Mairin adds: “I’ve always been passionate about telling stories and making a difference. My interest is in creating digital products and campaigns that use technology across the web, mobile and TV to educate and promote change.”

“For instance, when I was working for the BBC, I worked on a campaign called Blast that was all about promoting creativity and culture amongst disadvantaged young people across the UK.”

“With Tech for Good Dublin, it’s all about creating a community and that over-used word ‘eco system’” she explains. “I’m really interested in keeping an ear to the ground of the Dublin tech scene, and want to showcase people who are using technology in unexpected ways and using it for social good. The group is all about creating conversations to solve problems or address a challenge. Who knows where it will lead?”

A Collaborative Space

One of a host of meetups on across the country every week, this group creates an informal space for sharing ideas and experiences.

Mairin says: “It’s about people meeting each other, brainstorming and potentially working on a projects together. There’s so much potential for collaborations to happen between local groups and techies and we can facilitate these meetings. For instance, our first meetup featured Lye Ogunsanya, who is the Chapter Lead of Techfugees Ireland. He talked about how the tech community is responding to the refugee crisis and how they are developing a number of prototypes – which is brilliant.”

“We want to create a friendly and informal vibe so people are comfortable to speak up and interact,” she continues. “There were amazing people in the room at the first event who shared what they are doing and how they’re using technology for social change.”

Next up, the group are set to turn the spotlight on the use of VR for social causes. A widely talked about technology, it promises to be an interesting evening. Sabina Bonnici and Camille Donegan, who are creative producers and VR evangelists at Silver Branch, will be presenting.

Anyone keen to book a place can do so on the Tech for Good meetup page.