Pedro Machado and João Azevedo, students of the 4th year of the Integrated Master in Informatics Engineering at EEUM are part of the winning team of the 2nd edition of Eurekathon, promoted by Porto Business School, LTPlabs and NOS and which took place last 14th November. The challenge involved more than 200 participants, with PhDs, researchers and professionals from companies linked to Data Science. Starting from the question: “How can we expand the donor base of the Food Bank Against Hunger?”, Hunger Byte, a team of 6 students from FEUP and EEUM, created an index that classifies parishes according to the altruism of their residents.
They used data from the Food Bank and the NOS operator, one of the promoters of the competition, to identify the profile of potential donors and the parishes in the country where there is the greatest discrepancy between these and the number of donations made to the Food Bank. Based on this profile, they developed a prescriptive model to reach the parishes where there is scope to increase donors and the amount of food donated.
They concluded that if the Food Bank directs its marketing campaigns, using SMS and e-mail, or exclusive campaigns for certain parishes, it will be able to increase by eight times the capacity to reach the potential donor. The group competed with more than 200 participants and won a prize of two thousand euros, 400 euros of which will be donated to an NGO.
Isabel Jonet, president of the Food Bank, acknowledged the importance of this challenge: “We often think that charities are limited to exercising charity, bringing affection and products. Never reminding us that if we work hard we may be contributing to the resolution of a problem,” said Jonet, who praised the fact that “newly graduated students, as a team, look at a problem that has nothing to do with their daily lives.
Food Banks contribute to the feeding of more than 4% of the Portuguese population, numbers that have grown a lot due to the pandemic. “If we can help these people more effectively, everyone wins,” said Jonet, who was also a member of the jury and who thanked the various solutions that were presented in the contest, which included not only strategies to increase donors but also to help the Food Bank select beneficiaries more quickly.
Eurekathon is a competition that uses data to encourage the solution of social issues and thus build a better world. It is promoted by LTPlabs, Porto Business School and NOS. This second edition aimed to mitigate the problem of hunger. The objective is that the solutions found are implemented.