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Here are 25 of the most innovative new projects using tech to help refugees and NGOs – TechCrunch

Here are 25 of the most innovative new projects using tech to help refugees and NGOs – TechCrunch

From humble beginnings as a easy Fb group I posted in September 2015, Techfugees has come a great distance. It was conceived as a car to enthuse technologists about the plight of refugees by waking them up to the concept that their innovation, startup mentality and design-led considering might probably convey new, scalable new options to the plight of displaced individuals. At the moment, Techfugees is a world non-profit with its personal CEO, Joséphine Goube and a staff based mostly between London and Paris. Not dangerous for a handful of posts on social media…

What’s fascinating about the venture because it’s developed is that, at the time, it was thought-about fairly radical, maybe even odd, to deliver tech individuals into the equation. However merely watching the footage of refugees clutching smartphones as they fled war-torn areas and pure disasters made the tech world understand it may be half of the answer to many of the seemingly intractable issues refugees face.

Techfugees has grown right into a group of round 18,000 innovators throughout the world, supporting by method of their very own projects or corporations, by way of social media and participating in a whole lot of devoted occasions round the world. This consists of greater than 30 hackathons and an annual International Summit, the second of which occurred over the final two days in Paris. The Summit had over 500 members, akin to social entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, humanitarians, policymakers, researchers or influence buyers, a big quantity of whom who’ve a refugee background. Audio system mentioned and debate the totally different makes use of of know-how for displaced individuals throughout the time of migration till arrival to their new host societies.

The impression of local weather change will trigger the migration of 143 million individuals by 2050

This yr’s program checked out 4 foremost subjects: Entry to Rights and Info; Knowledge Ethics; Social Inclusion; and Local weather Migration. The final concern is now of even higher urgency in 2018. In accordance to a research by the World Financial institution revealed earlier this yr, the influence of local weather change will trigger the migration of 143 million individuals by 2050, bringing with it looming humanitarian challenges.

Identical to at your typical tech startup convention, Techfugees has an analogous programme: The Techfugees International Challenges Competitors. This showcases projects responding to the wants of displaced populations and constructing technological services or products for them, based mostly on Techfugees’ eight guiding rules and addressing one of Techfugees’ 5 focus space: entry to rights and info, well being, schooling, employment and social inclusion. The purposes went by means of a world Jury of specialists who chosen the 25 finalists from tons of of purposes, from 52 nations throughout the world, which pitched their challenge in entrance of a world Jury and Summit attendees.

The 5 winners (described in their very own phrases) have been:

Integreat (Germany)

“Integreat is an information app and website tailored to the specific needs of both newcomers as the users of the app and municipal administrations as the content providers. It’s a mobile guide for newcomers. Multilingual. Offline. Free. Can we provide the people arriving in our city with all relevant information in their native language as quickly as possible? Even without internet access and without confusing red tape? The result is an app called Integreat which passes on all relevant information in multiple languages to the newcomers. It is a holistic service ecosystem for cities, districts and organizations for the integration of people with a flight or migration background.”

Australia / USA
“Shifra is not only a life-saving mHealth intervention, it is also a research project which aims to explore the social, cultural and geographic barriers to quality healthcare access many refugees experience, as cited by the refugees themselves. The Shifra web app is designed to improve access to quality sexual and reproductive health care. It provides local, evidence-based health information in multiple languages for communities with varying levels of language and health literacy. Shifra also directs users to trusted clinics where they can access respectful and safe care. We work with local health networks to improve their existing services based on the self-identified health needs found in Shifra’s anonymous user trend data.”

Antura and the Letters
(Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt)
“Antura and the Letters is an engaging mobile game that helps Syrian children learn how to read in Arabic and improve their psychosocial well-being. Considering that most refugees have old smartphones and connectivity is always a challenge for them, the game runs on old devices (from 2010/2011), it’s very small to download (less than 80Mb on Android) and it does not require internet connection. Antura and the Letters is completely free and open source… and it has been designed in order to be easily adaptable to other languages! That’s exactly what we want to do next with the goal to reach and help as many children as possible around the world.”

“In the era of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the data workers and annotators are the new programmers. From robots, drones, self-driving cars or e-commerce, the markets need for vision technology for artificial intelligence is extraordinary. One of the major building blocks of such AI-powered recognition systems is image annotation delivered with a human input – data training. Today’s data is driving tomorrow’s AI products. To be competitive in AI, innovation depends on having data-edge often more than a technology-edge, but 80% of data engineers’ time is spent on sourcing and preparing quality image data for AI models. TaQadam optimizes image annotation for data-driven companies with visual AI and delivers on-demand, vertical-specific, high-quality image annotation. With an API and a cloud architecture, we ensure a simple and secure way to build image data set with a high accuracy and precision, while simplifying the process of sourcing human insights from dedicated and trained teams of TaQadam. TaQadam is a unique service on the market that brings a specialized on use case teams that are building AI together with the client. With gamification and mobile accessible work on TaQadam Android App, we transform the experience of annotation to fit the younger generations. We create work of the future: accessible, flexible, allowing fluidity, community building and fun.”

Refugees Are
“Refugees Are map the public opinion around refugees in the news by:
1- Extracting daily news related to refugees from GDELT (open source news dataset)
2- Extracting location from the article
3- Applying sentiment analysis to classify it as positive, negative or neutral article
4- Extracting topics related to refugees using LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis)
5- Extracting most common words occurring with refugees
6- Visualizing it in an easy way for the public to understand
7- Let the public help identify negative news around refugees”

And eventually The Mohajer App gained a particular jury prize for its excellent work aiding Afghan refugees in Iran in extremely troublesome circumstances:

The Mohajer App
Android / IOS
Iran, US, Canada and UK
“The Mohajer App was created with the support of Afghan communities inside Iran to address their needs. The app was completed with a group of paid and voluntary refugee-rights attorneys, advocates and technologists. Mohajer has two features: – The “Get Informed” part offers info for customers regarding Iran’s immigration coverage, the rights of Afghans in Iran, and assets that are obtainable for considerations corresponding to well being, schooling, combatting from discrimination and extra; the record continues to broaden as customers share their wants. The part additionally offers an inventory of help teams that our staff has verified instantly. The “Submit Report” function allows customers to share their on a regular basis experiences as Afghans in Iran and help the bigger group in addressing challenges by sharing info on occasions and experiences. The knowledge on the app can also be accessible offline, in order to help these with out common web entry.”

Here’s a run down of the relaxation of the 25 that pitched, in their very own phrases:

Problem #1 – Entry to rights & info

TikkTalk (Norway)
“Tikk Talk is an open marketplace for interpretation services for everyone who is in need for interpretation assistance. So far the platform handles 80% of all assignments automatically, limiting the overhead costs which traditional agencies have. The platform also gives all parties full transparency which empowers them to make better decisions. Because of the tech, interpreters are in the forefront deciding on their wage and which assignments they would like to take. Before, Helse Førde (Hospital partner) switched to TikkTalk they only received 24% qualified interpreters now they receive 99% qualified interpreters.”

Refugee Information Bus
(United Kingdom, France, Greece)

“Refugee Info Bus’s mission is simple. Operating at the frontlines of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, we provide good quality multilingual legal information and free Wifi to refugees on the move in, or having just arrived, in Northern France and in Greece. Our first Refugee Info Bus began life as an old horsebox, purchased, stripped-out, cleaned-up, and converted into a mobile office and Wi-Fi hotspot for refugees and asylum seekers living in northern France. Within a year, we facilitated over 91,000 Wi-Fi logins and delivered more than 1,000 workshops to 50,000+ individuals on the UK and French asylum systems.”

(Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia

“In mid-2016, Refugee.Info pivoted to focus on social media to better serve the needs and preferences of users, which had drastically changed after borders closed in Europe in March of that year. hired local journalists to obtain and verify news and other up-to-date information about the context, as well as content professionals to optimize the information for social media, applying private sector content marketing principles to increase ROI. Now, refugees in Greece, Italy and the Balkans can message the page and receive a quick answer from a moderator who will work with the journalists and lawyers to provide accurate information, often sourced from their website or blog.”

Problem #2 – Well being

Join 2 Drs
The platform of Connect2Drs was initially constructed to attempt the personal sector as a goal market, and it nonetheless is. Nevertheless, with the injustice and lack of a very good medical insurance for mexicans – deported or refugees – individuals with disabilities and individuals who want medical consideration at house with palliatives turned their essential aim.

“Doctor-X is a multi-language medical history mobile application and website with, for each refugee, a private account that the doctor can update when he does an operation on the refugee, in the language the doctor speaks. The program will make it available in 5 languages in case the refugee goes to a new country and needs medical help.”

“Until now, medical workers in camps used Excel spreadsheets to make notes about patients. On top of that, medical workforce turnover is high, bringing additional confusion and inconsistency to Excel records. Iryo enables accurate medical history recording. Because data storage is decentralized with a copy on a local server, a second one on the patients mobile phone and a third one in the Iryo cloud, even if a patient arrives at a new refugee camp where the Iryo system is already in place, the doctor there will be able to access the patient’s record.”

“MedShr has been developed to enable doctors and healthcare professionals to share and discuss clinical cases for peer-to-peer learning and medical education. It is a private, professional, verified network for clinical case discussion between medical professionals. No patient information is visible, all cases are anonymous and members can use the mobile app to get consent from patients to share images. Beyond that, all images and media are securely cloud stored with no images stored on the user’s device. Importantly, MedShr members are also able determine who can see and discuss their cases.”

Problem #three – Schooling

(United States, Gaza, Lebanon)
“Edseed is about narrating stories of youth and bringing them closer to donors in the USA; participating in networking; and building a network for higher education of refugees to address policy issues, mentor students.”

Paper Airplanes
(United States / Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, KSA, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine)
“Paper Airplanes (PA) is a nonprofit that uses video conferencing technology to provide free, peer-to-peer language and professional skills instruction to young adults and teens affected by conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. PA works to support these individuals to pursue their educational and employment goals and ultimately rebuild their lives. PA teaches English and Turkish to youth and adults, journalism to citizen journalists, and beginners’ coding skills to women. By using virtual communication technology to provide live instruction, PA is able to reach internally displaced and refugee youth as well as underserved populations who may be otherwise difficult to reach, including those inside Syria (approximately 50% of our students), young women and girls, and individuals in rural areas across the MENA region. Additionally, PA supplies computer tablets for select Youth Exchange Program participant recipients and scholarships to defray the cost of the IELTS and TOEFL exams for qualified PA graduates.”

“Powercoders’ solution is to offer intensive computer programming classes to refugees over a three month period and then place them in an IT internship. As a result of the comprehensive training and subsequent placement, within a little less than a year our refugee graduates are exponentially better positioned to find and keep an IT job in Switzerland, and many do just that. The program is fully customized to address the challenges and issues that refugees may face when trying to integrate professionally and the courses enjoy an almost 100% internship placement success rate and subsequent 80% integration rate.”

RefugeeEd.Hub is an open supply on-line database that promotes promising follow in refugee schooling globally. RefugeeEd.Hub goals to increase the high quality of schooling for refugees and displaced individuals by producing information and fostering collaboration amongst international and native stakeholders working to present schooling to refugees. RefugeeEd.Hub will help schooling innovators, multilateral establishments, international improvement actors, schooling funders and authorities and policymakers to inform apply on the floor.

Problem #four – Employment
Bitae Applied sciences
(United States, Jordan)

“Bitae Technologies aims to help global, mobile talent, like refugees and migrants, carry their skills and experience with them in a secure, verified digital CV, addressing the lack of access to formal education and employment faced by refugees and other vulnerable populations. Bitae transforms non-formal learning and achievements into opportunities for refugees. We provide a platform to track, store and verify refugees’ non-formal learning and skills, creating a “digital backpack” of courses, workshops, internships and expertise that collectively, can help a refugee transfer ahead with schooling and employment. Bitae leverages cellular and blockchain know-how to be sure that governments, worldwide organizations, NGOs, instructional establishments and employers are in a position to doc non-formal studying and expertise in the most inclusive, safe and clear method. The Digital Backpack focuses on 4 key features: creating badges and verifying expertise, requesting and sending references, expertise matching and expertise evaluation. Using present instruments, the platform makes it attainable to create blockchain-backed credential badges that may be saved and shared.”

Human in the loop
Bulgaria – 2017
“Human in the Loop is a social enterprise which employs and trains refugees to provide image annotation services to computer vision companies. It is a niche market that currently requires manual human input in order to train ML models to recognize images in a way that a human would, and Human in the Loop is part of a growing community of “impact sourcing” enterprises that’s devoted to offering employment to weak teams on this sector. The chance they are seizing is that picture annotation is a really accessible sort of labor that doesn’t require earlier schooling or skilled expertise, however which may open the door to extra superior tech jobs and freelancing expertise, which are particularly helpful for migrants. On this approach, they are empowering refugees to earn a dwelling in a dignified means and achieve expertise, and they are turning them in “digital nomads” who are in a position to make use of the alternatives that distant digital work supplies to individuals who are on the transfer. Human in the Loop works as an outsourcing enterprise with B2B gross sales. Their shoppers are corporations from the pc imaginative and prescient, self-driving automobiles, drones, and satellite tv for pc imager business, which are coaching machine studying fashions.”

(United Kingdom, Germany, Jordan)
“Rafiqi is a matching tool that leverages artificial intelligence to connect refugees in real-time and in a customized way to the opportunities that are the most suitable to his/her profile and that would lead to lifelong employment. Currently, there is no single platform where resettled refugees can access and filter the wide range of opportunities available to them, including jobs, trainings, mentorships and degrees, and where any organization (company/NGO/university) can seamlessly access and filter refugee talent. Refugees lack of knowledge of opportunities and of the right opportunities is resulting in them being unemployed or being overqualified for what they are actually doing. Despite the existence of some refugee to jobs matching programs supported by governments and NGOs in countries like Germany and the Netherlands, these matchings remain largely manual and limited in terms of intelligence. These matching efforts cannot scale well given the high number of refugees and the diversity of their profiles, as well as the diversity of opportunities available to them.”

Transformify Rebuild Lives Program
(Worldwide / EU, Iraq)
“The Rebuild Lives Program by Transformify exists to provide access to jobs and secure payment to displaced people as well as access to targeted eLearning to improve their skills by using recruitment CRM leveraging HR-tech, fintech and AI to connect refugees with employers and provide access to secure payment even if the refugees have no permanent address or a bank account.”

Problem #5 – Social inclusion

(France, Germany, United Kingdom)
“PLACE runs Innovation Labs for migrants and refugees in Europe. These labs transform the people from migrants and refugees into Innovators – creators of solutions for European societies. The labs are 1 to 3-day immersive experiences that apply design thinking methodology to enable Innovators to identify problems, understand their users, develop solutions and then rapidly test and prototype these solutions with a diverse community of local stakeholders. Beyond the Labs, the Innovators have the opportunity to develop their projects through the network of the PLACE collective – actors in the private, public and civil society that see the value of diversity in migrant-led innovation and who want to be a part of it. In addition to innovative solutions, the labs also produce a new leadership model for Europe. Innovators who demonstrate motivation and willingness to take on a role as a leader in migrant-led innovation are trained to be PLACE Catalysts. The Catalysts are trained in interculturality, sourcing, public speaking, networking and lab facilitation. They are then given the opportunity to apply these learnings as facilitators in Labs throughout Europe.”

Register of Pledges
“The Register of Pledges project workstream are: Humanitarian Database of Pledges (Accommodation, Goods and Services) administered by Red Cross with back-office capabilities for pledge management and workflow and reporting capabilities; Open-source version of the technology is available on Github, a humanitarian data capture system with APIs and a translation interface; Evolve and open-source our Case Management System, to optimize Service User outcomes.”

“SchoolX envision a shared economy model with volunteer teachers which include university students, educated refugees, retired teachers and other local volunteers, who will teach refugee students. Due to the challenge of limited access to education that these displaced people face, our solution is to recruit teachers within the refugee community and local community, and connect them with refugee students who are eager to learn. The talents of these teachers are then harnessed to deliver rigorous and certified education to the students. Through this, volunteers, including refugee teachers, will also receive an allowance for their efforts as well. The solution, in a form of an online platform, will provide training packages that involve not only fundamental tenets of teaching, but also pedagogical and psycho-social training for the volunteers to prepare them to approach refugee children in the most appropriate and empowering manner, The online platform will also serve as a database which will be utilized to match teachers and students based on their needs, skills, availability, and geographical proximity in order to arrange flexible, face-to-face lessons.”

(Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany)
SPEAK is a crowdsourced language and tradition change community, based mostly on an Online2Offline mannequin. All processes are managed on-line, by way of a platform developed in-house, whereas the studying and sharing expertise occurs offline, permitting individuals to set up an in depth relationship with each other. This mannequin ensures a larger effectivity and minimization of fastened prices, permitting SPEAK to be sustainable at scale whereas charging solely a symbolic payment for its program. SPEAK empowers its members by increasing their language and cultural expertise, all the whereas turning into half of mutual help networks. By way of a language and tradition trade, SPEAK connects migrants, refugees and locals dwelling in the similar metropolis. In creating bridges between migrants and locals, members typically help one another with job gives or renting their first home in a new metropolis thanks to the energy of SPEAK communities. These networks are residence to a multicultural group, based mostly on equality and the place cultural heritage is validated. In different phrases, SPEAK’s networks nurture unity in variety.
SPEAK’s volunteer Buddy system empowers anybody with the willingness to share their language and tradition, permitting for an “everyone a changemaker” angle, which inspires a fair larger participation in native public life. he sustainability of the initiative depends on the group and willingness to promote SPEAK’s values of an built-in and inclusive society.”