The problem our project solves
During the pandemic ill and elderly people are the most endangered ones. They are risking getting exposed to the virus every time they leave their homes. In such circumstances it is very important for those who stay at home, cannot pay for the delivery or leave the house to get help quickly and safely. On the other hand, volunteer organizations and people who can join them are willing to help fight COVID-2019 in a way they can, but what they are lacking is a convenient means to do it and knowledge of such. Our project solves both of these problems, providing assistance.
Lend-a-Hand is a cloud system that provides a contact between people in need and volunteers who are ready to help in a few simple steps using bots in popular messengers (Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram, etc.). During the pandemic, it is very important to get help quickly and safely, for those who stay at home alone, cannot pay for the delivery and cannot leave the house. Lend-a-hand bot will connect people in the same area of the same city. The bot allows organizations’ members to submit a request for help without downloading apps or visiting other sites, but simply by clicking a few buttons in their messenger. Volunteers will be able to choose a convenient time for themselves to receive requests for help, as well as to choose a convenient way to communicate with those in need. We use .NET Core as the main platform to implement our project vision. According to the majority of developers and experts, this platform is the best choice to manage high load. It means that we will be able to reliably support thousands and millions of requests all at once. Our goal is to create a quick and easy contact between those in need and organizations’ volunteers.
After registering in Lend-a-Hand volunteer organizations can share the bot with their volunteers and approve the registration of their members. Volunteers register themselves by simply choosing an organization they will be assisting and getting confirmation from it. This guarantees security for all of our users. After that, the volunteer is able to choose the most convenient time for accepting requests. The person who needs some help can choose the best way for communication and send geolocation to the bot as well. It allows isolated people to submit a request and volunteers to accept it, assigns the closest available volunteer, and, as soon as the request is accepted and confirmed, establishes a connection between parties to solve the details of the request. Of course, before sending any data to the bot, users will be informed of the destination of this data and the time of its storage. And then they will be able to give their consent. Once the request is fulfilled and its fulfillment confirmed, the volunteer is ready to be assigned to the next task and the person in need — to submit the next request.
We expect volunteer organizations to engage in our project and cooperate with us on a broader scale, creating sustainable networks, and adjusting our solution to local needs and challenges.
How Lend-a-Hand impact on the crisis
It’s so important to have an opportunity to get a medicines or food quickly. Our solution is to create a platform for fast and effective communication between people who need help and those who actually can help. It is especially useful during the crisis the world is facing now. On the one hand, there are voluntary organizations, and on the other hand - people who need some help. Due to the fact that voluntary organizations are connected to our system, it’s totally safe for them to ask for help via Lend-a-Hand bot. Lend-a-Hand will help people to manage isolation. It is also quite simple to get some medicines or food you need. To click a few times is much easier than to download an app and wait for the delivery.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
During the Hackathon we’ve managed to create the basis for bot’s functioning.
- business and system analysis issue was solved, business processes that describes bot’s and system’s behavior and algorithms were implemented
- high level architecture was created
- main modules of the system were defined
- they were decomposed on submodules
- each module’s architecture, structure and dependencies were planned and designed 1) website; 2) telegram messages process module; 3) resources module; 4) database module.
Also we've created a business plan of the project with implementation and promotion strategy. Business-plan
Current tasks for the development of our project
In order to create MVP some refinement of policy and the process of voluntary organizations’ verification is required. Also, we need data processing agreement. Thus, we will make sure that the process of receiving help is completely safe. Therefore, we will be able to provide any European country with our bot. From a technical standpoint, we need a refinement of bot’s algorithms and improvement of the process of members’ verification and the process of single volunteers’ registration. Moreover, we need to further develop search algorithm. Then we need to launch an advertising campaign on social media and seek support of the local authorities. It will help us to spread information about the bots.
Our main insight concerns our vision. We decided to focus on the organizations only during the quarantine because confirmation of identity with the help of official organization is the simplest solution for the technical development of the bot. Confirmation of identity of a volunteer with the help of ID or, as it is done in our country, with the help of bankcard will take months to be developed. We thought about it and came to the conclusion that we will stick to our primary goal - quick connection of people who are ready to help with those who want to receive it. But it will take more time. Until this decision is implemented, we will offer our bot to organizations which deal with deliveries. And we will confirm them with the help of government validation.
What's next for Lend-a-Hand
The solution we present is adjustable and scalable for the needs of respective communities and particular challenges. The pandemic itself only highlights the common problem of people - lack of assistance. There are organizations which operate not only in terms of COVID-19, but also lend a hand for the people who need it in general. In the future we are planning to expand and go public. It means that we also want to cover those people who don’t use smartphones or other devices. What we are doing is creating a huge platform for volunteering organizations all over the world. Our solution is simple as it doesn’t require to download any apps or visit any websites. It’s merely an interaction with a bot, and this particular feature makes us unique.
Thanks to hackathon we have set our immediate objectives.
By early June - our MVP model will be finished.
By early September - our bot with identification for single volunteers will be finished.