DisasterHacks: Mercy Corps Aid Cost Calculator

DisasterHacks Kickoff!

We're excited to have you here for the DisasterHacks technology challenge in partnership with Mercy Corps. The goal of this challenge is to develop innovative solutions that can have a real impact on humanitarian and disaster response, particularly in regions like the Horn of Africa.

We encourage you to think creatively as you design your solutions. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, so use your imagination and explore new ways to tackle the problem at hand. While the challenge has a focus on creating cost calculators, we welcome any inventive approach that aligns with our goal.

To help you make the most of this experience, we offer office hours and a Slack channel where you can connect with mentors and other participants. Take advantage of these resources to refine your ideas, get feedback, and ensure your solutions address the specific needs of the challenge.

DisasterHacks Competition Rules

  • Team Formation: Form teams of up to four people, or compete as an individual. No need to be a Berkeley student—everyone is welcome.
  • Project Timeline: Project submissions are due by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024.
  • Submission Form: The form for submitting your projects will be available on Monday, April 29th, 2024. Use this form to submit a 1-3 minute video explaining and demonstrating your project, a GitHub link to your project repository, and an optional link to your live project if you have one.
  • Project Content: You don't have to create a cost calculator—creativity is encouraged! You can bring in other data sources or find new ways to use the provided API and resources.
  • Winners' Opportunities: Winners will have the chance to work with Mercy Corps' data team to integrate their solutions into a real-world application. Additionally, they will receive 1-on-1 career mentorship to help them find opportunities that combine their technical skills with social impact.

Submit completed projects below!



  • https://mc-t4d.github.io/ucb_datachallenge/data/ This page brings together a variety of data sources and information that could be valuable for your project.
  • https://mc-t4d.github.io/imageprocessing/readme.html
    This documentation provides detailed information on how to use the Flood Package API, which lets you access flood and water-related data. It includes endpoints, parameters, and methods to retrieve data. of a resource we use to access flood/water data.
  • https://github.com/mc-t4d/imageprocessing.git -
    Flood Package API
    This GitHub repository contains the code and scripts for the Flood Package API. It features example scripts and code snippets that can help you understand how to work with the API. You can clone the GitHub repository to experiment with the code and adapt existing examples for your project. 

Event Details

  • Focus Area: The Horn of Africa and the broader African region
  • Participants: Students across disciplines, with support from the technical team, volunteers, and SCET/School of Engineering staff
  • Project Goal: Develop cost calculators specific to the needs and challenges of the North African region
  • Format: Online Event, Remote Participation
  • Duration: 1 week, April 24th, 2024 - May 1st, 2024

Kickoff Event

  • Date & Time: April 24th, 2024 - 4:30 PM PST
  • Location: Virtual Via Zoom

During the kickoff event, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the challenge, form teams, and begin ideating solutions. Students will have the freedom to lead their focus, deciding whether to prioritize depth or breadth in their approach to developing cost calculators for the African region.

Throughout the week-long challenge, participants will have access to the MercyCorps API and support from the technical team and SCET/School of Engineering staff. This collaborative effort aims to create cost calculators that address the unique needs and challenges of the African region, ultimately contributing to positive impact and innovation.


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper.  In more than 40+ countries around the world, over 6,000+ team members work side by side with people living through disaster, violent conflict, and the acute impacts of climate change to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. We’re committed to creating global change through local impact — 95% of our team members are from the countries where they work.

We bring a comprehensive approach to every challenge, addressing problems from multiple angles. And we go beyond emergency aid, partnering with local governments, forward-thinking corporations, social entrepreneurs, and people living in fragile communities to develop bold solutions that make lasting change possible.

DisasterHacks Team

Alicia Morrison, Director of Data Science

Alicia Morrison is the Director of Data Science for the Technology for Development team at Mercy Corps. She has been with Mercy Corps since 2020 where she is working to design, implement, and grow systems to support the scaling of humanitarian data science organization-wide. Her background is in conflict analysis, environmental science, statistics, and machine learning and she supports T4D project implementation through cloud and data engineering.

Aaron Eubank, Geospatial Technology Manager

As Geospatial Technology Manager for Mercy Corps' T4D Data Science Team, Aaron supports teams at Mercy Corps to effectively utilize spatial data and analysis in program design, implementation, and assessment through solutions like cloud-based workflows, web-map visualizations, and earth observation analysis. He has extensive experience and training in geospatial data analytics including various applications of remote sensing and modeling. He is passionate about the utilization of open data and open source technologies as problem-solving tools for global communities.

Holly Topham, Director for Crisis Analysis
As Director for Crisis Analysis at Mercy Corps, Holly leverages data and analysis to support context-appropriate, conflict-sensitive, and forward-thinking responses to complex crises around the world. Holly is currently particularly interested in how to better integrate innovative data science tools and applications into humanitarian and development decision making.