Earth Hacks: Tell us a bit about yourself (i.e., where you’re from, your background, what you’re in school for, how did you both meet, etc.)!
Bereket Nigussie: My name is Bereket Nigussie and I am a first-year from Swarthmore College. I am an international student from Ethiopia and I hope to major in Computer Science and Psychology/Peace and Conflict Studies. I enjoy dancing, planning conversation-based events, and managing the BCC (Swarthmore’s Black Cultural Center).
EH: How did you get involved with Earth Hacks?
BN: I got involved with Earth Hacks after getting a promotional email from the organizers of another Hackathon at Haverford College, with which I had a fantastic experience.
EH: What was your experience like at the Haverford Ideathon? Can you tell us about the project that you were involved with?
BN: I worked on a project called Clustered. Clustered was a prototype of a mobile app designed to introduce the concept of cluster farming to subsistence farmers.
EH: What is cluster farming and why is it important to practice this type of farming on a global level?
BN: Cluster farming is the voluntary association of small farm holders who combine their interests and material resources to create a system that is administered by all, and is worked for the benefit and development of the entire participating unit. My team and I believe introducing cluster farming on a global level could ease the dire food insecurity issue many developing countries are facing. The COVID-19 crisis escalated the problem by reducing income and disrupting supply chains. The issue of food Insecurity is exacerbated by factors such as conflict, pests, climate change, socio-economic factors, and natural disasters. Other problems include the reliance of subsistence farmers on rain-fed agriculture and human labor. Cluster farming practices increase productivity and income, minimize wasted resources and provide enough food for consumption and the market.
EH: What was something interesting that you ended up learning during the event?
BN: The Earth Hacks Ideathon helped me explore an underdeveloped idea. I got to read more, ask questions, get advice from experts and present a feasible solution to a pressing problem.
EH: What would you say to someone who has never participated in a hackathon before?
BN: At first, I found it uncomfortable to focus more on developing the concept rather than building the project. But going out of my comfort zone challenged me to consider numerous factors while solving a problem.
EH: What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know about?
BN: While some people say I am a mediocre dancer, I wait to blow up their minds when I feel ready to make my “never-before-seen move.”