​​It’s help - A sign improving hyper-local human co-existence and help. An analog communication system base on a open access sign for help. Gives neighborhood help a visibility and a language through posters.

PDF-Printing templates

Mailbox-Poster _ Window-Poster

Motivation

itshelp.info sees itself as part of a movement that inspires and encourages a moving together of society. An initially analogue communication system mediates between the need and the offer of help in the direct social environment. This enables us as citizens to live up to our responsibility for our fellow human beings, especially in times of crisis, and to consciously assume our role in society. The German philosopher Hannah Arendt already appealed to us to understand ourselves as a society that "acts" and not just "behaves". Itshelp.info wants to create incentives to act.

The base of the idea

Based on a symbolism of "offer of help" and "request for help" an (analog) communication system is created. How do we manage to bring together the helpers, who are mostly digitally organized, and the people seeking help, who often have no Internet access? We want to give people the opportunity to signal in analogue form that they need help by hanging up signs. At the same time, helpers are to show that they are willing to help by putting up posters. This strengthens the sense of community and removes the shame of those asking for help.

Process organisation

In order to reach a wide range of the population, three different ways of making the document available to citizens were identified.

1 Via social media platforms the flyer is made available for download via It's help: The respective user can print out the document and, if necessary, distribute further copies in the neighbourhood. _ 2 Including local daily newspapers and weekly papers, the flyers can be attached to the media used. _ 3 The flyers can be displayed in pharmacies, medical centres and various shopping facilities (by arrangement). The user can then indicate whether he or she is a helper or a person seeking help, state which activity it is and provide the relevant contact information. The document can be attached as a flyer to the letterbox or as a poster to the window and thus offers the possibility to approach people who need help or can provide help.

Strategyplanning

Challenges and solution steps

  • How can we distribute the posters: The biggest problem was the interface between digitally organised helper groups and those seeking help, who often have no access to the Internet. We decided on an entirely analogue "paper and pen" approach. In this way, we create a notification system for the direct neighbourhood without involving apps, online databases or hotlines. For the distribution of the flyers, the three approaches mentioned above are planned.
  • Linking to the existing helper networks: At the beginning it was considered to provide the flyers with a QR code and to link it to a helper database. In this way, flyers could be scanned by people seeking help and the locations could be communicated to the helpers. This approach has been rejected as a short term goal due to its complexity, but it remains an option in the long run.
  • Financing: At the moment the project is cost effective in its execution. Through the different ways of distribution, we ensure that those seeking help receive the flyer already printed, without any printing costs. The costs for printing are distributed to print media or volunteers who print the flyers for their neighbourhood (cost for a volunteer: e.g. 50 sheets of paper and some toner).
  • Protection against misuse, especially in the big cities. We want to help those in need and not expose them to further dangers: We have discussed the possibility of misuse at length and have come to the conclusion that we must not be intimidated by it. Of course, it is important to point out to those seeking help that not every unknown person is trustworthy. All those involved should exercise the same caution when dealing with strangers outside the family as they usually do in everyday life. For this reason, we have explicitly added a note in our information letter that people "should exercise a healthy degree of caution towards strangers and listen to their gut feeling". Furthermore, we encourage them to continue to protect themselves in case of uncertainty by having their contact details given to them by their counterpart or by asking them to show their identity card. Ultimately, however, charitable and solidarity projects only work with a certain amount of basic trust. With our project we offer the analogous possibility to ask for help and offer assistance. Of course, it is not possible for us to exclude any form of misuse of this system. All we can do is to call on people to behave responsibly and to build on the fact that everyone should exercise a healthy degree of caution when dealing with strangers.

Achievements

  • Uniform design with help/helper symbolism
  • easy to implement concept with low costs to bring together helpers and those seeking help
  • expanding digital networking to reach a wider range of the population

Future vision of itshelp.info

For the beginning, we have deliberately chosen a format that allows the flyers to be printed out privately at home and distributed to the neighbourhood. This is the most cost-effective solution at the moment. For the future we plan to produce itshelp.info stickers with the appropriate financial means, which people can attach to their mailboxes. This would be much more weather resistant compared to flyers. For financing, we are considering cooperations with major daily newspapers and benefactors. As a further means of financing, we see cross-financing as a long-term goal, with a merchandise shop as an option (see example pictures). This gives young people the opportunity to identify with the movement and offers us an even bigger platform. Our goal is to make neighbourhood help cool again and to strengthen solidarity in society, even beyond the Corona crisis!

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