The current situations require many persons to self-isolate. Moreover, vulnerable individuals and persons with disability are also facing many challenges. Even in normal times.
Rapid and efficient assistance in crisis situations is crucial, especially for the most vulnerable. Volunteers, neighbourhood watch teams and local aid groups play an essential role because they can intervene and help in a short time. However, aid coordination can be a challenge. Especially when faced with new and unknown events. Resource management and efficiently connecting persons needing help with volunteers is key for success. This is where the Handlr solution comes into play.
What it does
Handlr puts you in contact with volunteers in your immediate area that are available and willing to help now.
You can request various support services easily and conveniently via App. Services may include buying food or medication, walking the dog or requesting a phone buddy if you feel alone. Nearby volunteers, distances are computed based on GPS coordinates, get notifications on their mobile devices. Volunteers will only receive notifications during the time they have specified. The first volunteer to accept the request is connected to the person seeking help via secure and private cloud messaging to define details (for example, sharing the shopping list or agreeing payment options). The chat interface also shows important information such as whether a person is self-isolating and provides guidelines to volunteers with little experience on how to handle the selected service (e.g. use of gloves and standard payment arrangements when getting groceries in the local store). If both parties decide to share their phone numbers, everything can of course also be done by telephone. After the service is provided, it will be marked as completed in the chat list.
How we built it
From scratch! ;)
Challenges we ran into
The most obvious challenge was the time. This was a side project, but with the highest possible priority, because we want to make a difference in our neighbourhood and potentially on a much larger scale.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are super proud that we were able to pull this off in a few days.
What we learned
That the helpfulness of people in crisis situations is taking on astonishing proportions.
What's next for Handlr
The next steps include pilot testing in our area, get feedback from and more heavily involve the community in this project to extend services and features, and to improve the usability for persons with impairments and the elderly following user-centred design principles.