Accept the Call for Code 2019

Global Challenge

Build the best technology solution to improve natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery

Competition ended on July 29, 2019

Accept the Challenge!

The Call for Code Global Initiative calls on you to create practical, effective, and high-quality applications based on one or more IBM Cloud services (for example, web, mobile, data, analytics, AI, IoT, or weather) to build a solution that can have an immediate and lasting impact on humanitarian issues.

Building on the success of the 2018 competition, the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge again asks teams of developers, data scientists, designers, business analysts, subject matter experts and more to build solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and accelerate relief when they hit.

This year's Challenge also introduces an emphasis on individual health and community well-being. This includes solutions that can reduce the risk of disease, improve access to data and the availability of resources, and address the mental health needs of those impacted before, during, and after disasters.

The Challenge Community is powered by IBM, the Call for Code Founding Partner. By joining the Community you will sign up for an IBM Cloud account that grants access to cloud, data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technologies that you can use to build your solution. You also gain access to the IBM Coder community where you can learn about creating your submission, finding help, and building a team. You formally enter the competition when you submit your solution between March 25 and July 29, 2019.


One team will win the second annual Call for Code Global Prize, supported by the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross.

The winner and runners up will also earn several other awards that foster adoption of their application as an open source project through the The Linux Foundation to scale its impact and accelerate its deployment in areas of greatest need.

In addition, the grand prize winner will have an opportunity to meet mentors and investors to discuss potential funding for the idea and they will receive deployment support through the Code and Response™ initiative from IBM.

Grand Prize

$200,000 USD cash prize


Invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation


Opportunity for mentorship and investment in the solution


Solution implementation support through Code and Response™



First and Second Runner Up

$25,000 USD cash prize for each team


Invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation


Third and Fourth Runner Up

$10,000 USD cash prize for each team


Invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation


Challenge scope

Create a practical, effective, and high-quality application based on one or more IBM Cloud services (for example, web, mobile, data, analytics, AI, IoT, or weather) that improves individual health and community wellbeing through better natural disaster preparedness, accelerated response, and/or a greater capacity to recover.

Call for Code Charitable Partners have identified priorities and goals for reducing the impact on human life resulting from natural disasters. The following strategies, frameworks, and expert videos highlight the areas where improvements should be made and can be accelerated by technology.

This scope includes reducing vulnerability by preparing populations for disaster risk over the long run, forecasting impending threats to improve precautionary measures in the short term, responding to medical needs during the disaster, and improving the overall resiliency of communities to rebuild health services in the wake of major disruptions.

The team that wins the 2019 Call for Code Global Award will have built a creative application that can be deployed effectively and easily around the world. Some potential solutions include, but are not limited to:

  • Alerting pharmacies to increase their stocks of antibiotics, insulin, bottled water, and vaccines based on predicted weather-related disruptions.
  • Employing analytics to predict the impact of disasters and educate communities on how to prepare for impending threats.
  • Using visual recognition to assess the impact of a disaster and accelerate response, reducing time to build back better.
  • Improving the efficiency, accountability, and resiliency of supply chains through blockchain technology.
  • Identifying and aiding people with reduced or restricted mobility who require special assistance (disabled, hospitalized, elderly, confined).



Bill Clinton

Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States

Mami Mizutori

Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction

Kate Gilmore

Kate Gilmore

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mariya Gabriel

Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society


Stewart Butterfield

CEO and co-founder of Slack

Claudia Nemat

Claudia Nemat

Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management, Technology and Innovation


Jim Zemlin

Executive Director, The Linux Foundation


Dr. Elizabeth Hausler

Founder and CEO of Build Change


Trevor Riggen

Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services, American Red Cross

Tom Peck

Tom Peck

Executive VP and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Ingram Micro Inc.


Michelle Nunn

President and CEO of CARE USA

Steve Ewell

Steve Ewell

Executive Director, Consumer Technology Association Foundation


  • The 2019 Challenge is issued - February 12, 2019
    Participants can join the 2019 Call for Code Challenge Community hosted by IBM. Use your account to get familiar with IBM technology – see below for more information - and engage developer advocates in the IBM Coder community to answer any questions you may have.
  • Submissions accepted - March 25
    The challenge platform officially opens for submissions. In order to submit, you must accept the 2019 Participation Agreement. You may edit and resubmit your solution up until the July 29 deadline.
  • Iterate and improve your code at local events - February through July
    Satellite events around the world echo and amplify the Call for Code Global Challenge. These events may have self-contained competitions, possibly focused on one of the 6 technology areas below, and developers who participate in those events are encouraged to submit applications for the Call for Code Global Challenge.
  • Final submission deadline - July 29
    All entries must be submitted by July 29, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT.
  • Initial rounds of judging - August
    Semi-finalists will be judged by leaders from IBM, DCC, the United Nations Human Rights Office, the American Red Cross, and other subject matter experts.
  • The final round of judging ends - September
    Finalists will be selected by the jury of eminent judges. This round will rank the 5 overall winning teams of the competition.
  • Winners are announced - October
    The 2019 Call for Code Global Prize winner will be presented at an Award Announcement.


As the Call for Code Founding Partner, IBM is making its cloud, data science, artificial intelligence, and transactional technology available to participants. Individuals or teams are encouraged to start from a library of IBM Code Patterns - open source roadmaps for solving complex programming challenges - that demonstrate how to use Weather Company, Watson AI, and Blockchain services on the IBM Cloud to build cognitive, social, and analytics applications.

You can use IBM Code Patterns for inspiration to kickstart your solutions or build your idea upon other services provided by the IBM Cloud (many based on open source technologies).

There are IBM Code Patterns for each of six suggested technical solution areas to explore when building your submission for the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge. Your submission does not have to fit into one of these areas, but they can inspire what you build and map your solution to the areas where technology can make the greatest impact

For the 2019 Challenge, there are additional resources available that cover the health and well-being theme. You can also find starter kits grounded in four humanitarian areas idenfitied with experts from the United Nations. There are resources grouped by disaster area or industry area as well.

Bringing together infrastructure and platform services, IBM Cloud is home to 130+ unique services with millions of running applications. Including offerings like IBM Watson, VMWare servers, and Weather Company data and platforms built on Kubernetes, Apache OpenWhisk, Cloud Foundry, and more.

To be eligible for the Call for Code Global Award, developers must use IBM Cloud or IBM Systems technology in their solutions.


  • Submissions must use one or more IBM Cloud services or IBM Systems. Use of sponsor or affiliate APIs and open source libraries is also encouraged.
  • Teams of up to five (5) participants, each at least 18 years old, are allowed.
  • A participant may not be part of multiple teams.
  • All team members must have accepted the 2019 Participation Agreement at the time they submit to be eligible.
  • Applications must be new and built for the 2019 competition, but they may use code that was open sourced and publicly available to all other participants as of February 12, 2019.
  • Winning teams will be subject to a code review after submissions close.


Submissions will be judged equally across 4 key criteria.

  • Completeness and transferability
    How fully has the idea been implemented? Can it achieve an impact in the field? Can it be transferred elsewhere?
  • Effectiveness and efficiency
    Does the solution address a high priority area? Does it achieve its goal effectively and efficiently? Can it scale?
  • Design and usability
    How good is the design, user experience, and ease of use of the solution? How quickly can it be put to use?
  • Creativity and innovation
    How unique was the approach to solving a long-standing or previously intractable problem?