What inspired us?
NGOs do incredibly important work globally but because of poor communication and lack of resources have often interfered inadvertently with each causing a loss of resources or potentially a loss of life. This situation really impacted us, knowing that there are solutions that exist in the United States to prevent these blue-on-blue situations.
What is TrustFlag?
A Simple, Light-weight Platform that allows NGOs to safely indicate interest in a particular Person or Place of Interest. Users of TrustFlag are invite-only, ensuring that the platform has only trusted users.
A conservationist interested in planning an operation in an area or in investigating a particular person can enter that information into TrustFlag.
If that information already exists in the system, the user is notified that someone else has already "flagged" (or indicated interest) in that person or place. TrustFlag does not give any additional information about the request, but instead only gives the secure contact information of the original flagger, with an email relay to protect their information. Encouraging them to connect offline and coordinate their efforts.
If that information doesn't exist in the system, they can add their flag and stake their interest in that person or place.
What we learned?
When exploring this problem we realized there was a ton of information which we just assumed to be true or false. We built assumptions around how people communicate, what technology people use in remote areas, and the collaboration among NGOs. Through research and interviews we realized that most of what we thought was wrong. We completely underestimated the reality of how diverse the organizations are, how many NGOs there are, how serious corruption actually, how thick the competition for funding is among these organizations fighting the same fight, and also how deadly the work is for people who are fighting world wide organized crime related to poaching and animal trafficking. We've all walked away with a different understanding of how serious these issues are, and perspective of the lack of resources and tools which we take for granted.
How we built this?