As Female IN (FIN), any large Facebook community Group faces the same problem we solve with We Connect.

Female IN (FIN) is a Facebook Secret Group of 1,700,000+ women, one of the largest communities on Facebook. Created in Nigeria and run by our team member Lola-Omalola. Today FIN have members around the world. FIN focused on building compassion , providing support and nurturing the power of self-expression in a culture where women are meant to be seen and not heard. FIN is a women-only support group built around a core advocacy “to end the culture of silence”.

Because of the group size it is very challenging to activate this large members base connecting people within the community with each other to help address some of the issues members of her community are facing. There are members (Help seekers) who need help with issues like domestic violence and sexual assault but FIN struggles with quickly linking members to resources available to address those problems.

These issues inspired our hack and led us to ask these questions

  • How might we give FIN members a way for to quickly and easily register as potential service providers available to help out community members
  • How might we help Lola manage a large number of people who are seeking help and access to services relevant to their situation
  • How might we allow FIN community moderators offer vetted and trusted service providers to their members

These questions inspired us to build a tool for communities to make a difference in the lives of members and moderators.

Our tool - We Connect - matches help-seekers with credible vetted help-givers through a transparent automated process.

We Connect is a Facebook Messenger based Chatbot, which will help Lola and moderators to triage and match help givers with help seekers.

What it does

WeConnect is a Chatbot created to link members of FIN community to a list of local volunteers exclusively sourced from peer-verified group members or organizations offering their professional services to members of a group.

In groups with millions of member , this does not only drive engagement and community identity, it also reinforces within members that they are not alone, that they are being heard and valued and helps bridge the divide from online to offline.

It aims at building a better community together!

When faced with an emergency and a member reaches out to their favorite community, he or she knows they will be linked to the best resource available.

How we built it

We leveraged Facebook Messenger platform to develop We Connect, the Chatbot was built using

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Facebook Graph API
  • ChatFuel
  • Custom JavaScript API
  • Backend ReactJS
  • AI technology (NLP/NLU)

Challenges we ran into

Some of the major challenges we faced were

  • Deciding on how the bot will flow and work i.e. UX/Conversation Design of the bot
  • Figuring out a way for multiple team members to work on the bot at the same time
  • Testing and changing the bot quickly

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to come up with a working prototype of the product that allowed help-seekers to find services relevant to them and potential peer-vetted help-givers to sign up to help.

What we learned

  • How to build a bot quickly
  • How to connect, form a team and build a product
  • People committed to making a difference are a force to be reckoned with

What's next for We Connect

We are hoping to beta test this with select members of the Fin group, refined the bot and triage system so it can be useful for the FIN group.

We may aim at integrating other big communities working towards the same cause in future.

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