We are a team of diverse backgrounds and nationalities, brought together in the VersuVirus Hackathon organized by the Swiss Confederation and ImpactHub.

The projects we worked on before merging our teams, and our stories, are here:

LocalHero.swiss

Herofinder

The problem our project solves

As a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis, there are numerous people in need of help and many willing to help; yet there is no platform that matches them in a smart, simple way while tackling the challenges of trust and technology literacy of the elderly population.

A lot of players to connect

A lot of volunteering platforms/apps in the market and under development are acting in silos. There is a lack of unity between the platforms (no centralized database), little or no matching function, and in some cases, the databases are even managed manually.

How to reach those in need, even the elderly population and without an internet connection?

The usability of the existing online platforms doesn’t focus on this part of the population (more than 19% of the EU population is +65 y.o.).

Data indicates that smartphone penetration for the age group 55+ in EU (2013 - 15) was starting from the lowest; 7.3% in Romania, 16.4% in Italy, 18.6% in France, 23.1% in Germany, to the highest being Norway; 43.1%.

The solution we bring to the table

Our solution is to create a central hub for volunteering to help:

  1. Associations/existing platforms to collaborate instead of competing for volunteers - to provide interoperability among platform an increased efficiency and avoid redundant jobs;

  2. Volunteers to find people in need;

  3. People in need to find volunteers - providing access to digitalization to elder population, core target in need in EU during and post the crisis.

We do it in 3 ways:

Local Hero Repository + API

Centralized database open to 3rd parties with APIs to get features like:

  • Algorithm for matching skills and needs in an easy and automated way

  • Access to the pool of volunteers and people in need shared by other platforms

  • Gamification and reward system to make volunteering engaging for the youngsters

  • Hotline feature enabling people to phone for help, specifically those with no digital/online capability. We have in mind two different solutions: a human hotline and/or automated voicemail service with artificial intelligence to derive meaning from registered sentences.

Local Hero Finder

Mobile application and entry point for the (digital) people in need and the volunteers yet not belonging to any association. It also serves for validation of the Local hero repository.

Local Hero Website

Providing information about who we are, what we offer, for the associations and potential partners; as well as for our volunteer communities. A community page will be provided for promoting knowledge exchange and interaction between volunteers.

What we have done during the weekend

We had already a functional API made with NodeJS connected to a secure database (MongoDB), with infrastructure hosted in Switzerland by Hidora using Jelastic; as well as we previously started developing an app for matching volunteers and people in need (during the VersusVirus hackathon).

From the technical point of view this weekend we achieved:

  • Professional design of all the pages of our website

  • Implementation in HTML/CSS/Bootstrap of the website's landing page

  • Finalization of the 1st version of the app

  • Development of chatbot (IBM cloud) and speech to request for a voicemail service

On the business/marketing side, with the aid of our mentor, we improved our value proposition and understood better what we need to have to continue the project in a European landscape scenario. Among other things, we discussed about the SDG goals and we believe that our solutions can contribute to the following points:

  • GOAL 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
    the regulatory assessment

  • GOAL 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

  • GOAL 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

The solution’s impact on the crisis:

  • We provide unity, efficiency, and interoperability. Our greatest added value is the centralization of the volunteers' deployment in European countries, to bring together what already exists in the volunteering “market” (associations, institutions, volunteering platforms).

  • The database and the API system to access it could potentially have a big impact in times of crisis, by providing a top-down mechanism to deploy volunteers where they are needed.

  • Provide access to digitalization to elderly people. Guaranteeing access to our volunteers to people not familiar with technology through a hotline or voicemail service (as described above).

  • Engage more Volunteers. Volunteers, whether they are part of a partner association or not, can become members of the LocalHero Community. This space has the purpose to keep volunteers' motivation up, by interacting, learning, and sharing their values.

  • Foster solidarity and trust in EU communities in crisis and post-crisis.

The necessities in order to continue the project

Next steps:

API / Central Hero Repository

  • Validation with partner associations

  • Integrate our voicemail service automatic transcription solution

  • Create an authentication feature and second security layer

  • Add gamification feature, reward and feedback system

App

  • Translation in several languages (e.g. French, Italian, and German)

  • Integrating a functional feedback system

  • Implementing a notification system

  • Launch of the beta version of the app to collect users’ feedback

Website

  • Finalize webpages

  • Translation in several languages (e.g. French, Italian, and German)

  • Creation of the community space

Admin

  • Establish a legal entity

  • Finalize the technical documentation and the API description

  • A regulatory assessment like GDPR Certifications, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, SOC 2, SOC 3

Communication

  • Engage local Ambassadors (NGOs, Universities, townhall)

  • Onboard new associations and partners

  • Finalize the social media pages and advertising campaign

The value of our solution(s) after the crisis

The current crisis revealed the magnitude of needs, and the willingness to help. Providing the right tool to match those and keep fueling this dynamic is an opportunity to increase the efficiency of solidarity actions from government, municipalities and organizations; keeping up the engagement of citizens in carrying out solidarity actions; and creating an impact that lasts for those who need it the most.

Our video for the EUvsVirus hackathon:

Youtube video

** Even with small actions, each of us can become a local hero, every single day! **

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