I read an article a while ago about two teenagers who did the daily shopping for elderly people in their neighborhood so that they didn't have to leave their homes during this pandemic. While reading it, I couldn't help but think how a gesture that seems so simple can be such a huge help in the lives of so many vulnerable and isolated people. And I wondered, how could we possibly achieve a similar effect to our society. When I learned of the EUvsVirus Hackathon, I figured I could create a mobile app that would allow people to achieve the same results as those kids. And thus, I created "Voitho". The word "Voitho" means "helping" in greek, so I thought it would be a very fitting name for this app.
What does it hope to accomplish
This app's first and foremost goal is to protect vulnerable and isolated people from the pandemic by offering them an alternative method of dealing with everyday issues, without having the necessity to leave their house and possibly be exposed to the virus. By reducing the potential infections, we can shorten the number of victims of this pandemic, at least long enough for a vaccine to developed. A side accomplishment would be to generate more active users, giving them opportunities to experience new situations, giving the a chance to make a difference and hopefully become the world's next leaders.
What it does
It offers a way for people to express their need for help in their daily lives, a way for people to express their desire to volunteer for solving other people's problems and a way for both parties to get in touch with each other, even if they have no connection to each other. It enables users to post a request about a problem they need help with, assigning a category and a short description to it. Then, they are able to seek out nearby volunteers who are willing to lend a hand with it. Likewise, volunteers can choose for a list of categories and seek to fulfill those requests themselves.
How I built it
It has been made completely in Visual Studio by using Xamarin, using C# and XAML, which allowed me to build the app for Android, iOS and UWP devices without the need to write three different types of codes. I also used SQLite, a local SQL databse in order to simulate the app's online connectivity.
What about the progression of the app
In the short time I have been working on this app, I managed to implement some basic working screens, In order to make up for the lack of online functionality, I added SQLite and created some mock data for experimentation. Currently, you can sign up, log in, create a request and find nearby available volunteers. As a volunteer, you can also choose the request types you want to take on and see request made from nearby users.
What about after the crisis
After the crisis ends, this app is going to adapt to the situation accordingly. People will still have the need to volunteers and as such, if there is no need for self isolation anymore, the app will focus more on as a volunteering app of all sorts.
How it can be sustained
- Donations from the users
- Ads inside the app
- A very small monthly fee from people wanting to volunteer, but only if the other methods fail
Challenges I ran into
Mostly time, since I found out this challenge in the middle of this week and had little time to prepare. Other than that, challenges included finding ways to motivate people into downloading the app, giving motive for users to continue using the app, preventing malicious people, both volunteers and requesters, from misusing the app and protecting both the users' sensitive and personal data while being able to validate them.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Taking the initiative to join this hackathon and becoming a part of people working together to help make the world a better place.
What I learned
I learned that there are more people in this world that are willing to put effort into making this world a better place. I also found out that each feature I wanted to add brings new issues that need to be dealt with, both technical technical problems and security issues.
What's are the next necessities for Voitho
First and foremost, online functionality. Then, getting in touch with authorities, the local ones at first, in order to help with the identification of each user and ensuring the security of each individual's data. Afterwards, the ability for requesters and volunteers to communicate with one another through in - app messages.
Any other functionalities you want to mention
Other ideas also include a ranking system with a leaderboard, where users can compare their accomplishments with one another and a social network where users can create uniques teams Another idea is the implementation of a security system that will let requesters book money for the volunteers, who will be spending the money out of their pockets until the completion of the request. Last but not least, the ability to tip volunteers after a successful request.